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Data Loss Prevention Software: Really Free?

The VAR Guy

October 9, 2009

2 Min Read
Data Loss Prevention Software: Really Free?

Imagine the following scenario: You’re a security company and you’ve spent millions of dollars acquiring data loss prevention (DLP) technology. Then a rival comes along and offers DLP for free with its endpoint security platform. Have the rules of the DLP game just changed? Sophos thinks so. Here’s why.

When Sophos launches Endpoint Security and Data Protection version 9 on Oct. 14, the company says the endpoint protection offering will boast DLP capabilities at no extra charge. The technology checks files for sensitive information (credit card numbers, social security numbers, key terms, etc.) before the files can be moved or saved to media like a USB memory stick.

For VARs, the new Sophos offering provides a timely excuse to visit customers and discuss proper data protection. Natural target customers include medical offices focused on HIPAA compliance, legal firms focused on customer privacy, and financial services firms preoccupied with Sarbanes-Oxley.

Beefing Up But Staying Lean

But the bigger story here is Sophos’ decision to give DLP away for free with its endpoint security suite. It’s like getting free fries with a Whopper (sorry Big Mac fans) or another application with Microsoft Office.

Now, imagine getting those free fries without any extra calories. Sophos is quick to note that its endpoint security platform involves a single client agent developed in-house, rather than multiple agents acquired from multiple software companies. In other words, Sophos claims its client agent isn’t bloated.

According to Sophos CMO Rainer Gawlick and Channel Chief Chris Doggett, offering DLP with endpoint security provides VARs several key opportunities, including:

  • A point of differentiation: The endpoint security market is pretty crowded. DLP, Sophos claims, is one way to stand out from the crowd.

  • New services revenue: If you want to get into the security assessment business, DLP could be a way to do so.

  • Cross Selling: If you’re focused on hosted SharePoint or on-premise server applications, DLP is an opportunity to ensure the content from those server applications don’t leak out a network.

  • Recurring revenue: A VAR’s favorite two words. Recurring revenue. DLP and endpoint security are offered on a subscription basis.

Equal Time

No doubt, Sophos is making some lofty claims about its “free” DLP strategy. But does the technology work as advertised? And does it really compete effectively with gateway-based DLP solutions?

Surely, The VAR Guy needs to provide equal time to rival security vendors. And he’ll be sure to do so in the hours and days ahead.

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