Sophos, Astaro Channel Chiefs Promote Synergies to Partners
A month after Sophos announced plans to acquire Astaro, it’s business as usual for the companies’ channel partners. Indeed, Sophos Channel Chief Steve Hale and Astaro Channel Chief Bob Darabant (pictured) seem to be working from the same game plan. The two have been speaking regularly via phone, and they are hatching a plan to help Sophos endpoint security partners sell Astaro unified threat management (UTM) solutions, and vice versa.
Hale — a veteran of Microsoft, Novell and F5 Networks — joined Sophos shortly after the Astaro acquisition was announced. In a recent interview, Hale told The VAR Guy that Astaro would remain channel-led under Sophos ownership. Bob Darabant, VP of Americas at Astaro, echoed those thoughts in a phone call with The VAR Guy earlier this week.
Astaro, with $56 million in billings and 30% year over year growth in 2010, is the fourth largest dedicated UTM provider, the company claims. Sophos, meanwhile, is a growing provider of endpoint security and anti-virus solutions. Darabant says there’s ample opportunity for Sophos and Astaro partners to cross-sell the respective solutions. “There will be synergies between the two channels,” said Darabant. “There’s a lot of leverage to be gained on both sides of the house; Sophos with endpoint security aimed at the enterprise; and our solutions have been SMB moving into the enterprise. The game plan is for Astaro to remain 100 percent channel.”
Along the way, Astaro hopes to dig deeper into specific verticals — promoting opportunities like the eRate program to channel partners that serve the education vertical, and promoting security of electronic medical records in the healthcare vertical. “We’ll enable partners to attack verticals in which they may not be familiar,” said Darabant.
The Sophos-Astaro combo arrives at a particularly interesting time. Sophos itself was acquired by a private equity firm in 2010. Some skeptics wondered if the deal would trigger cost cutting moves at Sophos. Fast forward to the present, and Sophos seems to have quieted those critics — hiring Hale as global channel chief and now acquiring Astaro.
The VAR Guy will be watching to see if the the Sophos-Astaro combo truly provides a one-two punch to channel partners.