Sophos the latest to revamp Australian channel as vendors target local security growth

This month's launch of a new Australian partner program has made Sophos the latest of several endpoint security vendors working to expand their presence and increase sell-through in the burgeoning Australian market for security solutions.

That company's new Alpha partner program, launched in the past week, has been designed to involve integration partners more deeply in the company's technological developments, focusing on hands-on experience rather than technical certifications alone.

“We have a fairly well developed partner program as it is,” channel systems engineer Mark Arapovic told CSO Australia, “but one of the areas where we identified that we could do better was in the technical enablement of our technical partners' security resources."

"Alpha is directed at the top technical resources out there in the channel, and we want to push them to the next level and give them the tools they really need to succeed.”

Alpha members are not only given a Sophos hardware firewall to work with, but will gain access to advances such as early versions of the company's new technologies. These include the Project Galileo product roadmap – designed to wrap endpoint protection tools into the Sophos Cloud for management and integration with next-generation firewalls – and its forthcoming Project Copernicus, a revamped firewall operating system that will integrate Sophos' universal threat management (UTM) and Cyberoam Technologies next-generation firewall technology with a unified policy model, graphical user interface, centralised management, and a 'Security Heartbeat' that allows immediate identification of compromised systems.

Alpha will be a “limited membership technical community”, technology solutions director Justin Peters added. “We want to establish that technical community within the channel. Part of the reason for putting hardware in their hands is so they've got a platform where they can play around with the latest and greatest before others get access to it.”

The Sophos investment mirrors moves by other security vendors to strengthen their presence in Australia, and to integrate local capabilities with global threat-intelligence networks.

Webroot, for one, in July partnered with Australian distributor DNA Connect to expand the reach of its SecureAnywhere tools, offering a range of incentives to new Australian partners.

Relatively new Australian market Tanium, which fast-tracked the opening of its local office just months ago, this month announced a global partnership that will see the integration of Tanium with Palo Alto Networks' cloud-based WildFire threat prevention service.

“Both organisations are innovative global leaders,” Palo Alto regional vice president for ANZ Armando Dacal said in a statement, noting that Tanium's local presence will benefit the partnership and support both companies' respective Australian teams. “The alliance is a game changer, helping businesses stay one step ahead of cyber criminals no matter how sophisticated they are.”

Email archiving giant Mimecast has also been bolstering its local capabilities, recently debuting a significant investment in Australian data-centre capabilities. The company has almost doubled its local head count since March and opened the two NSW facilities and a Sydney sales office to meet local customer demand.

That company expects more than 50 local customers to have moved to the new facilities by year's end, highlighting the demand for locally-hosted services to ensure business continuity, email security, and archiving capabilities targeted at Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and Google Apps email systems.

“Our ongoing investment in Australia is ultimately making email and corporate data safer for Australian organisations,” country manager Nicholas Lennon said in a statement, citing company user research that found 77 percent of IT managers believe it is important for their business and customer data to be hosted within Australia – and that 83 percent would prefer to work with suppliers that have local data centres in each market where they operate.

Other security vendors are turning to partners to bolster their response and solidify their platform offerings within markets such as endpoint security.

Blue Coat Systems, for one, recently unveiled its Alliance Ecosystem, which brings together six vendors of endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools into a strategic alliance built around tighter integration between their respective solutions.

Such alliances will help new techniques for endpoint security tools gain the market traction they need, bolstering security monitoring capabilities and allowing alliance partners to smoothly integrate their tools with the threat-intelligence capabilities of Blue Coat's cloud-hosted Global Intelligence Network.

“Other than the proxy, the endpoint is the only place where IT security has full visibility into what is happening within their environment,” vice president of business development Peter Doggart said in a statement.

Read more: Security Watch: Webroot integrates BrightCloud IP Reputation Service with next-gen firewall from Palo Alto

“By working with leading endpoint detection and response leaders, Blue Coat is providing customers with a truly comprehensive end-to-end solution – from complete network to endpoint visibility and detection, to swift and effective incident response and remediation.”

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Tags it vendorsSophos hardwareMark Arapovicsecurity growthCyberoam Technologiesendpoint securitysecureanywhereBlue Coat Systemssecurity solutionsaustralian channelsophosPalo Alto

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