Top Gun 51 Profile: Stay a Step Ahead in Endpoint Security Software, Says Sophos’ Barlow

Channel leadership requires deep expertise in the threat landscape.

Lauren Horwitz, Senior Content Director

November 25, 2019

5 Min Read
Top Gun 51 Logo

Scott Barlow is vice president, global MSP, at Sophos, a network and endpoint security software provider. Barlow oversees managed service provider (MSP) strategy, business direction and sales worldwide, with an emphasis on building revenue — and relationships with partners. Sophos sells exclusively through a global channel of more than 47,000 partners and MSPs.

Prior to his role at Sophos, Barlow was vice president of sales and marketing at Reflexion Networks Inc., which Sophos acquired in 2015. He is a CompTIA board member and attended Boston College.

Barlow talked about the importance of channel leadership, particularly in the complex market of endpoint security software. Barlow said that it’s critical for endpoint security software vendors to stay a step ahead of malicious actors. His commitment to raising the bar in security expertise, and in cultivating partner relationships, are key reasons he is a Top Gun 51 award winner. The program recognizes top channel executives who build and execute partner programs to drive partner, customer and supplier success.


Sophos’ Scott Barlow

Channel Futures: What attributes do you think next-gen channel leaders must have?

Scott Barlow: Next-generation channel leaders stay a step ahead. In security, this is critical so that vendors can thwart modern cybercriminals. Understanding the depth of protection and future-proofing the technology that your business signs up for is pivotal. Capabilities like deep learning and predictive security can help partners make decisions now that a company’s future self will thank them for. If a security vendor can’t tell you what they are doing next, you may have purchased obsolescence.

CF: Sophos has been a leader in the channel. Why?

SB: Sophos is the only endpoint security software vendor that affirms its loyalty to the channel community in its mission statement: to be the best in the world at delivering complete IT security to channel partners and the small, midmarket enterprises they serve; a testament to the company’s dedication to its channel-best approach.

Sophos arms partners with technical expertise and deep knowledge of the changing threat landscape and security trends, empowering them to deliver the critical security management services that customers demand.

Our “Top Gun 51” is a list of today’s channel executives who deserve recognition for building and executing programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success.

CF: Why is Sophos different from its competition, and how can others learn from you?

SB: Sophos is the only vendor that offers a layered approach to security to defend against the constant barrage of diverse, ever-changing cyberattacks. Layered security involves network and endpoint protection that work together to stop threats. The Sophos 2020 Threat Report outlined an uptick in automated, active attacks; preventing bad actors from targeted, lateral movement within network can be difficult. We’ve designed products within our portfolio to work together and share threat intelligence to prevent targeted, manual cyberattacks or exploits from infiltrating compromised networks.

From a partner program perspective, Sophos’ channel-best strategy invests time and resources into growing its partner community through innovative initiatives. Paired with continuously evolving training, certification and financial incentives, Sophos helps partners unlock new revenue streams and support their customers.

CF: Can you sum up the channel ecosystem?

SB: Changing business models and buying dynamics have led to…

…significant transformations in the channel ecosystem. While today it still spans value-added resellers, managed service providers and system integrators, at Sophos we always consider how we can work with all partners to create additional value for customers and ensure an overall stronger security posture.

The shift to selling services and maintaining the ongoing relationship with the customer is prominent and growing quickly in all regions of the world.  We also see an opportunity with co-managed IT services, where MSPs and CSPs will work with internal IT departments to offload the monitoring and management of internal IT processes, enabling the internal IT department to focus on more revenue-generating activities for their organization.

CF: Which channel strategies have worked over the years, those that don’t serve the channel anymore, and what’s new?

SB: Sophos is a cybersecurity company with a commitment to be channel best throughout its business. Whether that’s putting time and resources into growing a partner community through new and innovative next-generation products or continuously evolving training, certification and financial incentives to help partners support their customers and grow their business, Sophos always puts in the extra effort.

CF: If you could give one piece of advice to partners, what would it be?

SB: For partners, and MSPs specifically, double down on differentiating their businesses by positioning themselves as a security adviser or virtual CIO/CISO for customers. This requires deep knowledge of the changing threat landscape and security trends, as well as product solution expertise. MSPs need to get creative and provide more educational resources and tips for cross- and upselling. Moreover, beyond becoming a security adviser, they need to find a seat at the table with their customers’ board and executives, so they can work to make their offerings more strategic to meet the overall business needs.  Leveraging your vendors is one of the fastest ways to achieve these goals.

CF: Other thoughts on why Sophos has won this award?

SB: Winning this award reinforces our dedication to helping partners protect their customers from sophisticated attacks, by offering innovative technology and channel programs. You rarely learn anything by listening to yourself talk. When you listen and understand the strategies that successful partners use, you can share these trends and ensure a more vibrant and successful channel organization., working closely with MSPs and truly hearing about the challenges they face, Sophos can be a better partner and provide better, more strategic growth opportunities.

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About the Author(s)

Lauren Horwitz

Senior Content Director, Informa

Lauren Horwitz is a senior content director on Channel Futures, Channel Partners and IoT World Today.

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