Addition to Sophos Central big element for channel in Sophos Mobile 7 EMM release

Sophos announced some significant feature additions, including the introduction of Internet of Things support and the further expansion of container support, but for most partners today, adding Mobile 7 to Sophos Central is likely to have the most immediate impact, because of the cross-sell opportunities.

Security vendor Sophos has announced Sophos Mobile 7, the latest version of its Enterprise Mobility Management solution. Sophos Mobile 7, for the first time, enables the management of Internet of Things [IoT] devices. It also enhances their Secure Workspace containerization solution. For Sophos’ channel partners, however, the biggest news here is likely that Sophos Mobile 7 will now be available through the Sophos Central cloud-based management platform.

“The availability of the entire offering inside our Sophos Central management console is very significant, especially for our channel partners,” said Dan Schiappa, general manager and senior vice president of Sophos Endpoint and Network Security Groups. “From a channel perspective, not only does being inside the console make things easier to manage, because you just have one interface, but it makes it much easier to cross-sell, and expand their footprint inside their customer with other products.”

Schiappa said that this capability will only expand as Sophos brings its remaining solutions inside the portal.

“Partners will love this, especially as we add to it,” he said. “The biggest one that isn’t in it now is our firewall. File encryption is also not in, and that part comes next year.”

The introduction of IoT device management to Mobile 7 will allow Sophos resellers to go after the IpT security market.

Dan Schiappa, GM and SVP of Sophos Endpoint and Network Security Groups

“IoT is all about Android Things and Windows 10, and here we have full feature support on Android, and about 80 per cent on Windows 10,” Schiappa said. “We see IoT being handled in two ways – fat Android, which is endpoint security, and thin IoT. The thin IoT is really running firmware, and will be handled by network security because they can’t put an agent on it.” Going after IoT is just other endpoints to manage. We are excited about this as our first step into the space.”

Schiappa acknowledged that endpoint IoT management is still in its early stages.

“I think it’s very similar to the early days of mobile, where people didn’t know what they had,” he said. “Today, it’s really at the basic level, making sure you have basic management functionality of any things connecting to the internet, and being able to turn on features like blocking Bluetooth. Step Two is looking at it from a threat perspective. Android has had more malware written for the span of its lifetime than Windows over the same period, and is vulnerable, especially if unwatched. That’s the next stage of IoT – securing those. We aren’t there yet, because people don’t even know what they have.”

Still, in this early stage, Schiappa thinks building in IoT capability now is more than future proofing Sophos Mobile 7.

“It’s on partners’ minds, and comes up a lot on partners’ forums,” he said. “I don’t think partners are losing business because they don’t have it, and I don’t think they will be leading with it next week. But it puts our front foot forward. People will see the management capabilities, and that’s there now. And the next stage of more sophisticated IoT security is coming.”

The enhanced container support involves improvements to Secure Workspace.

“Secure Workspace is an isolated container which originally launched with the ability to connect to local sources, then added in email and calendaring, and eventually Office documents,” Schiappa said. “What we have done now is added capabilities to edit these Office documents, as well as review them. We also have added the ability to secure content outside of the company, by securing and wrapping it in password protected HTML5 with Secure Workspace. In addition, we now have a much more granular and robust App Store.”

Other enhancements in this version include added capabilities around managing Windows 10 machines, in particular, the discovery of Windows 10 desktops.

Sophos Mobile 7 is available now for on-site installation and will be available through Sophos Central in mid-March 2017.