As the threats of network attacks and stories of gateway security breaches continue to do the rounds with system integrators and customers, antivirus vendors are scrambling for credibility with both customers and resellers.
One such vendor, Sophos, has continued to stake its claim for channel "street cred" with the appointmentof Annette Brooks as channel sales manager.
Brooks has a delicate task, treading the fine line between the company's existing direct business and what she claims represents a great opportunity for resellers. Immediately prior to her appointment at Sophos, the Sydney-based Brooks spent a year-and-a-half in Perth re-engineering the channel for NEC. She said that experience has given her some understanding of the challenges faced by resellers.
Whilst as a specialist antivirus software vendor it claims to match or beat any other for effectiveness and ease of deployment, Brooks said that its channel-focused business model is the way it can distinguish itself. "There are currently 25 signed Sophos reseller partners that we support with joint sales calls, marketing activities and training," she said. For Brooks, the most important role for the vendor is building long-term relationships with its channel partners.
One long-term Sophos reseller that describes itself as a VAR and facilities manager for small and medium sized business, was happy to endorse the reseller program. David Estcourt-Hughes, sales manager for Adelaide-based Tripos Group, said that since the vendor established an Australian office, the increased level of support has been significant, with renewals and sales leads living up to its promise.
Sophos Australia's general manager, Richard Baldry, explained that there are already a large number of government and corporate sites in Australia pro-tected by Sophos, a legacy of its previous distribution model and a result of the efforts of its first 25 channel partners last year. Many of these will be dealt with and supported directly by Sophos, but Baldry said there are lots of opportunities for resellers in the enterprise space to establish a residual income. "We're still at the early stage of developing the channel in Australia, and we are looking to take our reseller numbers to 60 or 70," he said.