Content, OT Security

Sophos: Let’s Turn On Encryption (for Everyone)

Marty Ward

What if file-level encryption was a default setting -- basically, turned on and ready to protect your customers' data? It's somewhat akin to the way that car brakes, door locks and airbags automatically protect you from the day you purchase an automobile.

That's the concept behind Sophos Safeguard Encryption 8 -- an "always on" file encryption platform. It protects data that's shared across devices that run Microsoft Windows; Apple macOS and iOS; and Google Android.

Overall, adoption of disk- and file-level encryption has been growing for years. "But I feel like we're crossing the chasm by turning it on by default," says Marty Ward, VP of product marketing at Sophos. "It's a huge step" that enables the channel to further solidify their midmarket presence.

Secure but Flexible

When I first heard about the "always on" capabilities, I was intrigued but had a concern. Specifically, I wondered if or how businesses could share encrypted files with partners and customers outside of the company. On a related note, I was concerned that Safeguard Encryption 8 would require all users within a company (or outside) to run the software in order to collaborate on encrypted files.

Sophos has a simple answer to those scenarios. Let's assume you're running Sophos Safeguard Encryption 8 and you encrypt a file. To share the file with another user who isn't running the encryption software, Ward says you could simply:

  1. password protect the encrypted file;
  2. email the file to the other user; and
  3. then verbally call the user and tell them the password.

Building on that simplicity, Sophos Safeguard Encryption 8 addresses four customer needs, the company asserts:

  • Always-on encryption follows files wherever they go;
  • users can collaborate on encrypted documents from Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms and devices;
  • businesses can accelerate compliance with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), HIPAA and other required data privacy standards; and
  • direct communications with Sophos endpoint protection -- which leaders to stronger overall security.

The encryption software furthers the Sophos Synchronized Security strategy, which connects the dots between network and endpoint security. "Endpoint and network security had been separate realms," says Ward. "We've connected them. If the network finds a security issue it should tell the endpoint and vice versa."

Sophos will start rolling out the new encryption platform to channel partners effective immediately. In addition to resellers and VARs, the company also has opened its arms to MSPs on a range of fronts.

Changing Competitive Landscape

The encryption upgrade arrives during multiple shifts in the IT security market. Most notably, Symantec is buying Web security specialist Blue Coat -- and Blue Coat executives will run the combined company once the deal is finalized. Also, Intel is mulling the potential sale of its McAfee security business -- which has attracted interest from at least two private equity firms.

Meanwhile, a lengthy list of IT security companies have successfully shifted their partner programs and products toward recurring revenue services for MSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.