Sophos re-imagines encryption for the mass market

Encryption has been basically limited to larger enterprises because of its complexity, but with their new Safeguard Encryption 8 offering, Sophos has reworked it to be simple enough for mid-market and SMB companies.

SGN8 Screen Shot - Outlook Zoom-In copyBritish-based security vendor Sophos has made the immodest assertion that they have re-imagined encryption. They have announced Sophos SafeGuard Encryption 8, a new synchronized encryption solution that achieves what the company says are several important firsts.

“We know this is a bold statement, that we have reimagined encryption,” said Marty Ward, Sophos’ VP of Product Marketing. “Encryption is something that has been around for a long time but has never been that widely adopted, because it has been so complex and resource intensive. Large enterprises use it, but not most of the market. Since our focus is on the mid-market and SMBs, we looked at what we needed to do to make this available for the mass market.”

Ward said Sophos believes the obstacle to the broad adoption of encryption has been the lack of simplicity, something which they have addressed here with what he said are four industry firsts.

“First, it is always on – by default – for files, wherever they go,” he said. “It’s not something that a user has to turn on, and it remains on regardless of whether the file moves to a Windows, Mac, iOS or Android platform.

“Secondly, it is persistent and transparent, so the user doesn’t have to think about it,” Ward said.

Marty Ward Headshot

Marty Ward, Sophos’ VP of Product Marketing

“Third is synchronized encryption. We introduced synchronized security late last year, and we are now adding encryption into that story. Hackers get in because its easy to figure out around one roadblock. With synchronized security, we have a dozen different technologies in both endpoint and network security, which means there are 24 systems they have to beat. These work to form an integrated system, an integrated system that is on by default.

“Fourth, we are the first to verify trust for encryption keys in three dimensions – users, apps and devices. In the past, encryption has been associated with just the person, not the application or the device. Now if your credentials are compromised, and someone else signs in using a different device or a different app, or even a different version of the same app, as you, they won’t be trusted.”

Ward said that while the public perception today is that encryption is something that just the big banks and retailers use, broad demand for it exists.

“The perception is that it is just for the large enterprises, and that has been true, because of how it has been implemented,” Ward said. “We know the broader demand is there though. A recent Sophos survey on the state of encryption today found 69 per cent of those surveyed plan to extend encryption, to add it or extend it over the next one to two years.”

Ward indicated that the traditional driver for encryption – compliance regulations – has been complemented here by a strong threat protection story.

“HIPAA and SOX and the EU data protection laws are still there, and compliance has always been a strong driver, but this is a threat protection story as well,” he said. “With our synchronized security, if someone does get through, they won’t be able to read anything.”

The Sophos data show that the Canadian market represents a strong encryption opportunity. In Canada, 81 per cent of respondents said that they were concerned about the security of data in the cloud. However, only 41 of them actually encrypt files in the cloud today. Likewise, while in Canada, two-thirds of laptops are typically encrypted, two-thirds of smartphones are typically not encrypted.

Ward said this all translates into strong channel opportunities in several ways.

“With SafeGuard and the new simplicity, we have changed encryption from just having an enterprise focus to midmarket and SMB play,” he said. “It’s also a solution sell instead of a point product sell because the encryption comes with both our MDM and endpoint solutions. Gartner has specified that a company will buy encryption from an endpoint company two-thirds of the time, so this fits in there.”

Ward said that SafeGuard presents a great services opportunity as well, to set it up and get it up and running.

“A lot of partners have been transforming themselves into MSPs, and we have a great MSP story with this too,” he said.

Sophos SafeGuard Encryption 8 is available now. For an annual subscription, MSRP starts at approximately $USD 40, per seat, and scales down from here, depending on terms and total number of seats. Partners can go to Sophos’ Partner Portal page for more information.