Many in the channel believe that vendor cloud moves signal aspirations to sell direct, but Sophos executives say that's not the case this time.
Sophos Cloud General Manager Bill Lucchini (left) and Worldwide Sales Senior Vice President Michael Valentine (right) say the channel has nothing to fear.
Sophos yesterday released the details of its strategy to deliver cloud-managed security solutions through Sophos Cloud, and today the IT security vendor set out to explain the channel ramifications to Talkin' Cloud readers.
Sophos kicked off its cloud portfolio with the first version of Sophos Cloud, which provides protection at the endpoint, a small step to leveraging an opportunity for a broader cloud-based offering, Sophos Cloud General Manager Bill Lucchini said in an interview.
By stiching together the company's broad portfolio, Sophos believes that it can get a "fundamentally simpler and more secure solution for customers," Lucchini said.
He noted that Sophos worked with customers and partners on the Sophos Cloud management console to "make the console quieter."
"We've made some advances in terms of how that admin wants to manage their environment," Lucchini said, adding that the company decided, with the help of partners, to automate common alerts.
While the company did not develop any mobile apps for Sophos Cloud, the management console does work on mobile devices, he said.
"At this point for cloud managed endpoint, I feel like it it might be something people do, but it's not the real common case," Lucchini said.
He added that Sophos Cloud products in the future will more than likely result in partners leveraging a mobile device, where having an app would be more appropriate.
Lucchini did note, however, that admins can choose to receive notifications from the management console via email.
Sophos Worldwide Sales Senior Vice President Michael Valentine told Talkin' Cloud that many people fear a vendor going to the cloud because it means the vendor may have aspirations to sell direct, but that's not the case for Sophos.
"One of the things that Bill's team and myself collaborated on, from the very beginning, was how do we design this in our channel approach and everything that we're trying to do," he said.
Valentine said partners can purchase the new product in the cloud through the partner portal, place customers on the solution and manage those customers on the cloud. They can choose whether to be billed monthly or yearly on the backend.
"I think that the uptake is going to be fantastic," he said. "I do believe that it's going to be the small to medium-sized VAR in the beginning that really grabs onto this and runs with it. It's something that will get them into the cloud atmosphere and selling immediately."
Valentine mentioned that the only concern from partners were the differences between the on-premise solution, which Sophos will continue to extend, and the cloud-based solution, which he doesn't believe is a significant concern.
"I don't see it as a drawback," he said. "It's more of a talking point, and it actually helps us engage with partners looking to understand it better."
The fact that many partners are still unsure of the how to leverage the cloud is an opportunity for Sophos, Valentine said.
"The more questions that they ask, the more we educate," he stressed.
With regards to 2014, Valentine teased the company's interest in working with managed services providers (MSPs) and cloud offerings.
"I think it will be impossible for a small to medium MSPs in North America to at least not take a look at and understand what we're doing," he said.