Sophos has entered into a strategic channel partnership with distributor Tech Data across five key ASEAN markets, spanning Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The partnership will expand the security specialist’s reach across a key region for the vendor, targeting an expanded customer base with its suite of network, endpoint, data, identity and firewall protection solutions.
“Tech Data believes that the strength of next-generation security solutions lies in a proactive approach to security threats, and we arm our partners with the technology and knowledge they need to protect their customers,” said Naresh Desai, vice president of specialist business unit across Asia Pacific at Tech Data.
"Our partnership with Sophos, a global cyber security leader, enables us to further strengthen our security offerings and successfully address the cyber security needs of our 5,000+ partners in ASEAN."
The security specialist has historically worked with more ‘boutique’ distributors, which has served the vendor well, growing at approximately 20 per cent every year according to Sumit Bansal, senior director of ASEAN and Korea at Sophos, when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia.
“Sophos has reached a growth stage where we need a strong regional player that can bring good financial backing, scalability and access to services that can be provided to our partners to reach the next level of our growth,” said Bansal.
“As we grow, our partners need all the help they can get in terms of understanding the security market, and the additional services a distributor like Tech Data can provide. We found that Tech Data was the best complement to our business.”
Discussion over this partnership began a year ago in 2017, with the final agreement signed in early September 2018.
“As Tech Data moves more into network security etc we will work closely with them and this will provide a much better platform for our partners and allow them to gain access to new markets,” said Bansal.
“As we are very much a channel organisation, this partnership gives us a much better coverage across the region. We are growing fast so we need a bigger player who can have that kind of financial backing to invest and to grow fast with us."
Specifically, the first country launch took place in Singapore on October 18, with Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand expected to follow in that order.
"We are the market leader in the data centre space but we see great market opportunity in the cyber security space,” added Bennet Wong, vice president and general manager, ASEAN, Tech Data, when speaking to Channel Asia.
"We see ourselves as a good fit for Sophos from an channel ecosystem perspective, serving ISVs, VARs, service providers, and system integrators. We also have a solution services capability with pre-sales, etc."
"We look at the overall solution from the data centre to the infrastructure and network security perspective and put that together."
"We also have the capability to deliver those services on behalf of VARs and more importantly is our ability to provide marketing, helping our partners to seek new market opportunities."
The business plan in place takes into account the requirements on the ground, ensuring both teams are prepared before the official rollout in their respective markets, according to Wong and Bansal.
“We both work closely together at the country level to make sure the launch runs smoothly, and the partners we want to work with are in place,” said Bansal.
“We want to make sure we launch properly from a launch perspective,” added Wong. “We value the partnership so we want to make sure we reach out and advise our partners on the timing.”
Bansal added that news of this partnership and further details will be revealed during the vendor’s regional roadshows in each respective market over the coming months.
On what attracted Sophos to Tech Data who historically is not seen as a distributor of security solutions, Bansal explained, “If we look at some other distribution organisations of a similar calibre to Tech Data we may find several vendors in the firewall market or several in the endpoint security market, which is our two biggest markets.”
However, as Bansal pointed out, “we did not want to be another security vendor for those other distributors, mainly because we wanted to focus.”
“We wanted a partnership that is mutually beneficial to each other rather than just fulfilment. When we looked at Tech Data they were very keen to move into the network security space and establish themselves and build their business around security."
"We were looking for a player that could bring us access to new partners and bring us more services to provide to our partners.”
“We saw a lot of partners who are starting to do their own transformation,” said Wong, explaining that partners are starting to look at non-traditional non-security partners who are looking at how they can onboard a security suite of solutions and bring that to market in an effort to complement existing offerings that they may have.
As Sophos’ products are available exclusively through its channel partners, the partnership with Tech Data will enable the specialist to better meet demand requirements from its ecosystem of resellers and their customers across the ASEAN region.
“Cyber security threats are becoming more sophisticated, and Asia is a hotbed for cyber-attacks,” added Bansal.
“We have seen Singapore – the most technologically advanced country in the region – experience its largest data breach incident just two months ago, and there is no sign that such targeted attacks are slowing down.
“It is positive to see that businesses of all sizes are taking the threat seriously and continue to invest in their defences. Our partnership with Tech Data will make it easier for reseller partners and their customers across the region to deploy Sophos protection."