The security market continues to evolve at pace across Australia, creating opportunities and challenges for partners in equal measure.
Housing a range of threats, the channel continues to face more complex and sophisticated attackers, as customers remain challenged to protect valuable company assets.
From a security standpoint, only two per cent of cyber attacks in Australia involved cryptocurrency in 2017, whereas in previous years, such threats amounted to 22 per cent of all breaches.
That’s according to Sophos Labs, a state-of-the-art facility collecting, correlating and analysing data to provide increased protection for customers.
Through developing a leading big data analytics system, the research facility processes millions of emails, URLs, files, and other data points on a daily basis.
Sharing insights with the Australian channel during The Man From Sophos in Sydney, the vendor reported a significant rise in ransomware across the country, increasing from 30-33 per cent to 57 per cent.
Ransomware is followed by advanced malware, or zero-day multi-staged attacks, representing 12 per cent of local threats, with a third of campaigns directing targeting the banking sector.
Furthermore, Australia is now third in the world in terms of housing Mac malware, behind only the US and UK.
In addition, email marketing campaigns originating from well-known brands represent a three per cent click rate, according to Sophos Labs, while phishing emails are successful 13 per cent of the time.
During the past 12 months, 66 per cent of malware has been installed in systems via email, providing new challenges for partners and customers as a result.
To combat the rise in attacks, Sophos has changed direction in the security market, a market that continues to be challenged by reactive thinking.
“We are investing in predictive security to drive better protection, better performance and accuracy across everything we do,” said Marty Ward, vice president of product marketing, Sophos, when addressing partners in Sydney.
Currently, 600 customers and partners are trialling deep learning for the detection of new and unknown malware via the vendor’s early access program (EAP).
“We have decided not to create a new product out of it, instead we have decided we are just going to roll into Intercept X,” Ward said.
As explained by Ward, Intercept X prevents malicious data encryption across all forms of ransomware, backed up by forensic analysis and reporting.
In response to rising security threats across the Australian market, Sophos also recently revealed plans to expand current Partner Program offerings, to now provide training, certification and financial incentives designed to help partners support customers using or migrating to the public cloud.
Specifically, the move is designed to help partners address new revenue growth opportunities through the cloud, aligning to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure marketplaces in the process.
“Partners see a big opportunity to help customers secure their public cloud deployments and they want to continue to receive the same benefits that they get through traditional sales models set up with their vendor partner programs,” Sophos vice president of global channel Kendra Krause said.
“Sophos is paving the way for this to happen and created a new program that delivers the same type of partner program benefits to partners selling Sophos solutions into public cloud deployments.”
As customers increasingly adopt cloud computing – either all-at-once or methodically over time – Krause said partners require a “strategic business model” that includes security technology, reliable vendor training and support, alongside financial incentives.
“As a channel-only company, Sophos is committed to accelerating partner success and revenue growth with cloud security,” Krause added.
“This is a great opportunity for partners to become specialised as Sophos cloud security providers and benefit from today’s growing billion dollar cloud marketplace.”
As Sophos cloud security providers, Krause said partners will be able to build-up technical expertise to better recommend how customers evolve to cloud deployments with the right security products.
“While Microsoft and Amazon manage security for their respective cloud infrastructures, businesses are expected to secure what they bring to cloud,” Krause explained.
“By working with Sophos, partners can play an important advisory role on what customers need whether they are newly migrating, are all-in or have a hybrid scenario.”
Sophos’ shift in approach follows reports the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 per cent in 2017, with expectation to reach US$383.3 billion by 2020.
According to Gartner findings, the highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure-as-a-service [IaaS]), which is projected to grow 36.8 per cent in 2017 to reach US$34.6 billion.
Delving deeper, cloud application services (software-as-a-service [SaaS]) is expected to grow 20.1 per cent to reach US$46.3 billion.
In parallel, worldwide revenues for security-related hardware, software, and services will reach US$81.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 8.2 per cent over 2016.
As outlined by IDC, global spending on security solutions is expected to accelerate slightly over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 per cent through 2020 when revenues will be nearly US$105 billion.
Of note to partners, services will be the largest area of security-related spending throughout the forecast, led by three of the five largest technology categories: managed security services, integration services, and consulting services.
Together, companies will spend nearly US$31.2 billion, more than 38 per cent of the worldwide total, on these three categories in 2017.
Network security (hardware and software combined) will be the largest category of security-related spending in 2017 at US$15.2 billion, while endpoint security software will be the third largest category at US$10.2 billion.
In addition, the technology categories that will see the fastest spending growth over the 2015-2020 forecast period are device vulnerability assessment software (16.0 per cent), software vulnerability assessment (14.5 per cent), managed security services (12.2 per cent), user behavioural analytics (12.2 per cent), and UTM hardware (11.9 per cent).