Cloud offers promise as security-management umbrella: Sophos CEO

The escalating need for integrated network and endpoint protection means CSOs need to make sure they don't overcommit to any specific vendor's security vision, the CEO of security firm Sophos has warned.

"A lot of people say the place to deliver protection is in the network, while others will make a strong case for the enterprise," Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman told CSO Australia. "You will continue to see different vendors perform differently based on what their real priorities are."

"The truth is that neither is sufficient on its own. What you really have is a requirement that you not only protect those different endpoint devices – across a variety of different operating systems and form factors – but that you protect the data regardless of whether it's on an endpoint, or whether it's flowing through the network."

For its part, Sophos has been aggressively moving its solutions into the cloud so as to facilitate delivery of a single, cloud-based management platform capable of integrating the company's various offerings in different areas.

Hagerman sees the cloud console as a way of resolving the ongoing challenges that have traditionally faced IT security staff in managing the ever more-diverse elements of vendors' security portfolios.

"In about 12 months, we will be the only vendor that has its entire portfolio managed in the cloud," he said.

"If you look at the innovations that have happened in other sectors – for example, CRM, LinkedIn, and collaboration – they've just done a great job in terms of how cloud can transform the usability and effective use of that software. The security market has just not kept up."

The approach will be particularly relevant to medium-sized businesses that, Hagerman said, each "acts like a small and mid-market enterprise" and relies heavily on the support of channel partners offering special integration and security capabilities.

Reiterating his support for a channel-only model rather than the direct-sales model of many of his competitors, Hagerman said the cloud platform would provide a consistent technological interface while the company's well-established network of integration partners would provide complementary skills to help customer organisations wrap that cloud-based security layer around their environment.

"One of the challenges is how to keep up with the increasing number of threats across the proliferation of devices," he explained, "and to do it in a way that an enterprise IT organisation that doesn't have an army of staff, can consume and apply."

"We think there is a big opportunity to use cloud, in conjunction with the partner community, to both deliver better products that are easier to manage and use, but also that can have very streamlined purchasing and deployment to these channel partners. Cloud solutions offer more integration between endpoint and network, and it will be these solutions that address new points of attack into the future."

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