Following an overhaul of Sophos’ channel leadership in the past year, the firmed-up Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) team is doubling down on its go-to-market for channel partners.
Speaking to ARN, Sophos director of APJ channel sales Chad Cleevely said he has embarked on fortifying the vendor’s relationship with partners in the region and charting new paths of growth, particularly in the managed services space, since taking the reins in March 2022.
“We had a great year last year across many metrics: number of transacting partners; number of active partners; and new go-to-market opportunities for the partners around our adaptive cyber security ecosystem,” he said.
“We remain very focused on our channel – how we deliver superior outcomes for our partners, how we create that improved longer term relationship for our partners with their customers through managed services [and] managed threat and response and how we help partners enhance their value back to their customers.”
Sophos’ commitment to the region and its channel was seen in other new appointments; Charles de Jesus stepped in as director of Australia and New Zealand channel sales in January 2022 and Sandra Lee joined in July 2022 as managing director of Southeast Asia and Korea.
“Sophos remains a channel-first company and we're very committed to our partners. We're investing in our channel – you can see that not only with the number of people we bring into our company and our organisation in Asia, but the calibre and experience of the people,” Cleevely said.
While building out the channel is top-of-mind for Sophos, Cleevely shared that with the industry shifting towards managed services, supporting the managed service providers (MSP) community would “add substantially more value” back to Sophos partners and help customers better enhance their security operations.
Notably, the APJ market continues to be a hotbed of opportunity and growth for Sophos’ service business. Cleevely observed that the vendor’s regional businesses – from Japan and greater China to ASEAN and India – are “performing really well”.
According to IDC's Worldwide Security Spending Guide, spending on security solutions and services in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) is forecasted to exceed US$31 billion in 2022, an increase of 15.5 per cent from 2021.
Moreover, investments in hardware, software and services related to cyber security are expected to reach US$57.6 billion in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 per cent for the period of 2021-26.
Factors influencing investments include a rise in cyber attacks, increasing demand for a hybrid working model and ensuring data privacy and regulatory compliances, thereby creating a need for effective threat management as enterprises move towards digital sovereignty.
The research also revealed that the demand for a suite of security services – such as managed services, consulting, integration and support services – has been spurred by technology shifts towards multi-cloud, automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics which require a highly secure environment to operate in.
At the core of it, services are expected to be the largest category among security markets, accounting for almost half of security spending throughout the forecast period growing at a five-year CAGR of 16 per cent. The security services market is dominated by managed services – constituting around 40 per cent of the security services spending throughout the forecast – followed by consulting services and integration services.
“Our MSP business continues to grow. We see our MSP partners making that shift away from traditional IT and moving towards managed services, moving towards AI-based technologies to help customers better enhance their security operations,” Cleevely said.
Within this context, he reiterated that Sophos’ “partner-first” and “partner-best” values continue to be a mainstay and its commitment to partners is reflected not only in the solutions and services offered to support their go-to-market but also through the Sophos partner program which provides enablement and training.
Amid the pervasive challenge of limited IT resources and in particular, “capable resources” on the security end, Cleevely evaluated that customers operating small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are more likely to lack the capability or resources to defend against modern cyber threats due to the scale of threats and risks. Hence, these organisations are likely to outsource their security needs to their MSP partners.
With the threat landscape evolving rapidly, partners are also required to provide “more predictive [and] more proactive” advice to their customers and Sophos is poised to support this endeavour with its global managed threat response pool of resources.
“The partners have a role to play here in particular because as they are offering services to those customers, they are becoming the trusted advisors and customers today are looking for vendors that are experienced and have been doing this a long time,” Cleevely added.
“We continue to see thousands of new managed threat and response customers sign up with Sophos on a quarterly basis worldwide because they know they don't have the capabilities, global view and perspective of threat intelligence and they need someone to respond to them. So, they look to Sophos for that service, but it gets delivered through our partners."