After three years, we have now reached the top of the podium. How did this happen? We turn back time's wheel and report about our most important milestones from our diary. Yes, we write a diary, but we call it "Timeline" because it sounds cooler. :-)
Our business adventure started on 12.12.2012 with the foundation of Avanet GmbH. In the meantime, we have transformed our limited liability company into an AG.
We have already been able to implement our first projects with Sophos UTM, which brought us a meeting with our distributor's partner manager (Dieter) soon. Dieter, who now works directly at Sophos, became aware of us back then, when we were a "nobody" in the Sophos landscape. He took the time to explain Sophos's partner program to us in more detail. It turned out that, thanks to Astaro's existing know-how and certification, we already fulfil the requirements for Sophos Silver status. The "silver status" used to be the lowest level (now authorized) and the only hurdle to reach it was to complete the appropriate web form. But without Dieter, who awoke something in us at that time and pointed out what we could do with Sophos, we probably would not have registered so quickly.
@Dieter: Thank You!
The projects became more and we decided to make security a major part of Avanet. Previously, we had always considered it as an add-on product after installing an IT environment. The Sophos firewall enabled us to add VPN and wireless connectivity to our existing workspaces, and of course we were able to fulfill the desire to work from home.
From that time on, anyone who was interested in a Sophos product was our potential customer. To address them we had the idea to place the main Sophos products on our website with a short but good product description, including prices, as a purchase form. This early, very simplified form of our current Sophos shop, was called Shop v1. We were well listed on Google with the keyword "Sophos". At that time, there were 300 million other online shops on the Internet, but there were no Sophos products sold. It was difficult to get a price quote for a Sophos product at all. So, you could say that we were pioneers in this area.
After a few weeks we had so many requests that we had to optimize them because there was too much administrative effort. So, we started from the beginning with nothing, thought about what we needed to do better and worked on the Shop v2. This time it really felt like a real online shop. For the first time, customers from Switzerland were able to order Sophos brand hardware and licenses online. We also offered a basic firewall setup at a fixed price.
But since we didn't want to be labelled as an "online shop", we invested a lot of time in expanding our Sophos know-how and had our knowledge tested by further certifications from Sophos. After all, we were also Sophos service providers and wanted to be able to help our customers with problems.
The whole time we invested in our shop v2 has paid off. We were discovered by more and more people on the Internet which were interested in Sophos and the number of orders continued to increase. We have never really thought about what could happen until now. We simply responded to the market and did what we thought was right.
When we were overwhelmed by the administrative effort again, we immediately realized that our shop v2 had to go offline. We simply did not have the time to get back to interesting projects or try out new Sophos features. We definitely needed a real shop that could deal with a lot of things automatically, without having to check 100 things with every order.
So Shop v3, which is still doing a wonderful job today, went online after 3 months of planning and implementation. The third version offered even more information, videos, payment methods and new products and services than the previous version.
At that time, we also started to integrate our blog more into it and wrote articles about new products, updates or features, which we linked on the product pages. We owe a great deal to this shop, as it is mainly responsible for new Sophos orders.
As a small two-man stall, Sophos itself became aware of us as we grew rapidly. Dieter introduced us to Quentin, our current account manager at Sophos. He took us by the hand and made us a Sophos gold partner.... yes, really! We couldn't believe it ourselves.
We were happy! We did what we liked to do and could live on what we had earned. What more did we want? Oh, we had no idea what else would await us...
In summary, 2016 was simply a whole awesome year. Thanks to Quentin, we were invited for the first time ever to the Sophos Partner Conference in Cannes.
@Quentin: Thank You!
We will never forget these three days and if we do, hundreds of photos will remind us. We were as shy as young deer, came out of our office for a long time again to the blazing sun and the sea. It was a huge Sophos event and we were even sitting in a meeting with important people from Sophos, such as Karl-Heinz Warum, who looks after Sophos in 93 countries.
The firewalls we installed and set up now protect companies with just over 2,500 users. Not that we doubted our abilities, but it was a good feeling that even such large companies trusted a two-man company.
But even more happened. We became the first Sophos Synchronized Security Partner in Switzerland. We met Michael Gutsch at the Security Fair (it-sa) in N¸rnberg. He plays an incredibly important role in our current project, which we will present to the public soon. The work on this project started in December 2016, and as our online shop went very well, there was no reason to throw everything back and create a fourth version. No, with all the knowledge and experience we had gained over the last few years, we wanted to create something completely new.
And here we are now, the year 2017. Respect to all who have read up to here! It's nice that someone cares about our story. ;-)
You can read more about what has already happened this year in various blog posts. In february we changed from a limited liability company to a AG, in April, we went on a trip with Quentin to the headquarters of Sophos Germany and met the people who work on the products we use. In May we were once again able to attend the Sophos Partner Conference, which took place this year in Lisbon. We have summarized all the impressions of the Discover Conference and Sophos's visions from this year in a separate blog post: Sophos Discover Conference 2017 - What Sophos plans for the future
Otherwise we continue to work on great projects and of course on our internal project (Codename: Optimus Prime). This resulted in "Lena", which we will introduce to you on occasion.
But here comes the moment why you actually started reading this article. On 29 March 2017, Quentin told us that we can now call ourselves Sophos Platinum Partner.
Wir sind Nr.7
With more than 1,200 Sophos partners in Switzerland, being one of the top 7 partners within 4 years, is something incredible for us and it also shows that we have done something right.
We think it's absolutely stunning to compare ourselves with other Sophos Platinum partners. With 20 years difference, we are now the youngest and with 6 employees difference the smallest Platinum Partner in Switzerland.
But how do you get this status?
Some certifications are required for Platinum status. The Astaro v6 certifications are no longer available, they are out of date before Sophos took over the firewall manufacturer. But here is a list of all the certifications we have passed:
- 2014-01-29 - Sophos Certified Engineer - UTM/Network Protection EL30a-DE - Lab Assessment
- 2014-02-08 - Sophos Certified MSP - MSP30a - MSP UTM/Network Protection Overview
- 2014-02-08 - Sophos Certified Engineer - TO30a-DE - Technical Overview - UTM v9
- 2014-02-08 - Sophos Certified Architect - AH30a Part 1 - Certified Architect - UTM
- 2014-02-09 - Sophos Certified Architect - AL30a Part 2 – UTM/Network Protection
- 2014-02-17 - Sophos Certified Engineer - EL20a-DE - Data Protection
- 2014-02-17 - Sophos Certified Engineer - TO20a-DE - Technical Overview - Data Protection
- 2015-07-19 - Certified Engineer - Sophos Cloud
- 2015-07-19 - Certified Engineer - Sophos UTM
- 2016-05-23 - Certified Engineer - Sophos Firewall Beta
- 2016-05-23 - Certified Engineer - Sophos XG Firewall
- 2016-08-09 - Certified Engineer - Sophos Central
- 2016-10-13 - Synchronized Security Specialist - Sophos Central and Sophos XG Firewall Heartbeart
- 2017-02-21 - Certified Architect - Sophos XG Firewall v16.5
We have also skipped the 22 sales certifications in the list. However, they are still needed because they prove that Sophos products are well known.
The certifications also show which products we are focussing on. Sophos has a large portfolio and various solutions. However, we are concentrating on Sophos UTM (as long as it is being developed), Sophos XG and Sophos Central, which work together through the Security Heartbeat.
Certifications are just one part of becoming a Platinum Partner. The other part, like any other manufacturer, are sales. This is where you come in, because of the trust you have placed in us, we were able to write good numbers. Last year they were so good that we can now call ourselves Platinum Partners.
Admittedly, it was a bit tight and we have to really step on the gas that we will be able to achieve this next year. Ultimately, however, it is only a status that fundamentally does not change our working methods and philosophy. We are who we are and more importantly, we understand Sophos's products and can help our customers always. Nevertheless, it is quite cool to know that you are one of the few people in Switzerland who has achieved this status.
So at this point, a big THANK YOU to all our Sophos customers!!
The service that generated this map from the postcodes was free of charge and therefore limited to 250 entries. But of course, we would like to thank all of you, also the German and Austrian customers, who didn't make it to the map for design and cost reasons. :-)
Shipping costs will be cancelled in the future!
We thought about what we could give you back as a thank-you. Since we already have very fair prices on our shop, we are not able to make them cheaper. What we will abolish immediately, are our flat-rate shipping costs for Switzerland. Now we offer Free Shipping on all products.
Why do we take the shipping on our own in the future? Because we can! Since we question everything at least twice a year and optimize our processes, we are not only able to process enquiries faster, but also offer lower prices. We will be able to cope with the 12 CHF and besides, we don't need that much to live. ;-)
It's going on...
As mentioned above, we have been working on a new project since December 2016. On July 12th the project will leave the beta phase. Read more in the next blog post.