Sophos Combines Endpoint Security, MDM

Sophos is pushing into the MDM space with its Sophos Enduser Protection, a solution that protects devices by securing every user on the network. The solution represents a big step for Sophos in its overarching MDM strategy, but will it be enough of a differentiator to keep competitors at bay?

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In 2012, organizations' IT environments became complex from rapid integration of numerous and disparate mobile devices. It'll only get worse in 2013, making simplicity key.

Sophos Ltd. wants to get its edge in mobile device management (MDM). The Mass.-based security firm rolled out Sophos EndUser Protection, a combined endpoint and mobile protection solution that aims to simplify BYOD management. For the channel, this means a competitive boost -- especially when making an entrance into lower market segments.

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Like many MDM solutions, Sophos EndUser Protection addresses hurdles encountered from BYOD trends and the increasing number of mobile devices integrated onto users' networks. The product differentiates with technology that secures the user, as opposed to individual devices themselves, to protect data stored on mobile devices.

The solution combines Sophos' endpoint security and MDM offerings, touting protection for BYOD devices and a unique licensing proposition. Organizations get protection for every device on their network ranging from Windows and Mac OS X desktops to iOS, Android, iPads and other tablets. The net-net: simplified and streamlined management of mobile devices, a selling point that will have weight as partners tackle challenges created by complex, heterogeneous environments.

“Every day, I use three or four different devices for business purposes, and the consumerization trend points to more people using even more devices,” said Matt Fairbanks Sophos chief marketing officer. “Our value proposition to customers and partners is complete security without complexity. And as BYOD moves more to the forefront of complete security, Sophos EndUser Protection allows more IT professionals to embrace BYOD rather than try to reverse it.”

Sophos made it clear last year it was serious about its mobile security and MDM play, and it’s not about to stop its forward momentum. During the last half of 2012, Sophos debuted its comprehensive MDM solution, which it later revamped to accommodate cloud-based environments

But as with many of its peers attempting to gain traction in the competitive MDM space, Sophos will have to innovate in the year ahead.

Industry competitors such as Trend Micro Inc. and Symantec Corp., as well as smaller firms such as Perimeter E-Security Inc., have MDM solutions that will likely evolve. Sophos also faces a host of dedicated and more nimble enterprise mobility players that will shake up the industry with competitive products.

One such mobility firm, Good Technology Corp., garnered headlines after naming a new CEO, indicating a new direction for the company that will refocus efforts on staying ahead of the competition. And new crops of enterprise mobility and niche mobile security start-ups threaten to chip away at market share from legacy security players.

Sophos has little wiggle room if it wants to stay relevant in the MDM race. Sophos Enduser Protection is the latest iterative release in the firm's overarching MDM strategy, but it's also an attempt to differentiate and gain ground amid an ocean of similar offerings.

Identifying user pain points, such as complexity, and creating a solution that alleviates them is a good start. But how effectively Sophos can innovate to accommodate shifting market tides while ramping up marketing efforts to maintain credibility in the space remains to be seen.

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