Sophos has added an AI-enabled cloud security platform and managed detection and response (MDR) services to its MSP program, following its 2019 acquisitions of Avid Secure and Rook Security.
The security vendor's VP global MSP, Scott Barlow, told CPI that some of its MSPs have been asking for ways to better differentiate themselves in conversations with end users.
"With MDR specifically, it will enable an MSP to deploy next generation endpoint and endpoint detection and response. And then, they can layer the MDR service on top of that, to provide more expertise around threat hunting and threat detection" he said.
Barlow added that this integrated service will involve Sophos providing more tailored support for MSPs.
"This is going to enable an MSP to work with Sophos to detect and remediate any threat that exists within their customer base.
"An MSP can either have us notify them that there's a problem with instructions to go and remediate, or they can give us the ability to collaborate with that MSP to remediate together, or, lastly, an MSP can pre-authorise Sophos to remediate on their behalf."
In fact, one of Barlow's top tips for MSPs in 2020 is: "Leverage your vendor."
"There are so many resources we produce. MDR and threat hunting often requires a very specialised security skill set that is often very, very expensive.
"And with the ongoing skills gap, which everyone knows about, I think this is a great opportunity for an MSP to engage Sophos and improve their security within their customer base.
"But also repurpose those internal employees on more revenue-generating tasks rather than looking for threats in isolation across their customer base."
The MDR capabilities come from Sophos' June acquisition of US-based Rook Security.
Its second new addition of its AI-enabled Sophos Cloud Optix security platform comes from its January buy of US start-up Avid Secure.
Avid's technology provides analytics, automates governance, risk, and compliance across AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
"On the Cloud Optix side, what's very interesting is that a lot of MSP are leveraging it to discover cloud assets within their customer base," Barlow said.
"And by discovering them they can help secure and reduce their exposure to risk."
Barlow claimed that Cloud Optix will also help MSPs upsell to providing more services to help migrate customers to public cloud environments.
"MSPs can help these customers plan and design that migration, leveraging our technology and adding additional layers of security.
"They can take that one step further and take advantage of more cloud services. Because oftentimes these cloud services are not always easy to protect with traditional security tools. So, they can leverage Cloud Optix to do that."
Both new technology additions to the MSP portfolio are available through monthly billing, as with the rest of services available on the vendor's MSP program.
Last month, the CEO of €527m-revenue security VAD Infinigate told CPI that progress in his MSP cloud business has been slowed down by some of his vendors being wary about monthly billing.
"It took a while to have a mutual understanding on what the opportunity and risk is in the business model," Klaus Schlichtherle said.
"It was, let's say, quite time consuming to discuss this with vendors."
Is Barlow surprised that some of his rivals have some reticence over monthly billings?
"No, not really, "he said.
"What Sophos wanted to do is to align the way that an MSP consumes and purchase products and services from Sophos with the way that they sell to their end user customers.
"And the feedback has been fantastic."
The Sophos MSP program was launched three years ago. Sophos claims it now has 8, 000 MSPs worldwide.
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