Update: We cancelled our Sophos Central & XG subscription on 1st May 2018. So the information in this article is no longer up to date. You can read more about the exact reasons in the following blog post: Sophos Central & XG Subscription: Service discontinued with immediate effect
Finally we're ready to officially launch our Sophos Licensing Portal. It is designed to make it much easier for you to obtain your Sophos licenses in the future.
With this post, we'd like to show you what our Sophos Licensing Portal (SLP) can do for you now and what it can do for you in the future.
However, let's start at the beginning of the story and tell how this happened.
In April 2016, we first had the idea of changing the way in which Sophos licenses can be obtained. Our idea was based on Sophos itself, making it possible for us partners to obtain licenses on a monthly basis. This model was by no means new and there are already several services available today that can be billed monthly. So the question for us was, what we would be able to create from this new opportunity for our customers. We saw great potential in monthly Sophos licenses, as it was much simpler and less costly to use than annual licenses.
We were suddenly back in the same spot that we were in in February 2015, when it was not possible to order Sophos products online, let alone find out how much they cost. As you know, to the delight of many of our current customers, and to the annoyance of other Sophos partners, we solved this problem with our Sophos Shop and we have even managed to become a Platinum Partner through this.
So now there was this monthly model, but how could we make it as easy and convenient as possible to offer it online to customers?
The annual licenses in our shop have been a problem for us for a long time, because there are too many hurdles for the customer and us after the purchase, until they are finally implemented.
To illustrate this, here is an example of how to use a license for a Sophos SG firewall and Sophos Central:
Sophos SG Firewall
- Order a 1-3 year license through the shop
- The license is sent as a PDF via email
- Copy the Key from the license-PDF and paste it into the MyUTM Portal
- Download the TXT-file and install it into the firewall
When you finally activated the license on the firewall, it was often forgotten that the license had to be renewed at some point. From then on, the whole process started all over again.
We optimized the process for our new customers in such a way that we took care of steps 1 - 3 and only had to import the TXT file into the firewall. The effort was now on our side, which wasn't optimal either. We don't spare any work, but we always try to optimise and put our time into interesting projects instead of dealing with administrative work.
Ordering the licenses is less of a problem. You simply select the number of licenses and place them in the shopping cart. The only obstacle may be that it is not possible to order some licenses for one user only. In this case, at least three must be purchased, although only one is required. For private individuals or e. g. a tax advisor, this is less optimal and much too expensive.
Activating the key in Sophos Central is also quite straightforward. Simply copy the key from the license PDF and paste it into the Central Console.
However, if you want to purchase additional licenses at a later date, it starts to get complicated! For example, if you have purchased a 3-year license for 4 users and decide after 6 months to expand to 5 users, this process can no longer be handled via our online shop and the customer has to contact us. The problem is that Sophos is adapting the duration of newly purchased licenses to the duration of existing licenses. This means that all licenses can be renewed together if they expire at some point in time. So, when it comes to extending licenses, we must first ask Sophos for an offer, which we then pass on to the customer.
Monthly billing solves many problems
As described above, handling Sophos Central is particularly painful in the long term. The annual model simply offers too little flexibility and makes scalability in a company extremely impractical. Even the constant renewal of an annual license for an SG or XG firewall isn't necessary, is it?
With the monthly model, Sophos has given us the opportunity to escape the problems of annual licensing and make life easier for us and our customers in the future. All we had to do was figure out how to offer these monthly licenses.
We have been thinking about it for a long time, we have thought about scenarios, gathered customer feedback and written down concepts. Unfortunately, Sophos has not made it easy for us, as processes have suddenly changed from one day to the next during the design phase, interfaces have become unavailable or other bugs have driven us to despair.
In November 2016 we had worked out everything in our heads. Now it only had to be implemented. The plan was to go online with our new platform in February 2017. Oh, what fools we were! 🤣 Our attention to detail, major projects that got in the way and Sophos bugs have repeatedly set us back - to this day.
Our impatience was and still is enormous. Ideas were developed and discarded, concepts created and deleted. But we've now done it, and proudly present you the first version of our Sophos Licensing Portal today. It doesn't include all the features we've been thinking about, but they're all on our roadmap and it's really long!
Under sophos.avanet.ch we have launched a new website that allows you to purchase Sophos Central Licenses on a monthly basis, using the Pay-As-You-Go principle. Pay only for the licenses you need and only as long as you use them. The model is certainly not new, as many other manufacturers already do this. But for a Sophos product, it's something new.
As mentioned earlier, the version released today does not include all the features we would have liked to have implemented from the beginning. In this version, we have focused heavily on Sophos Central and developed the Sophos Central subscription.
Sophos Central subscription
You can still purchase Sophos Central licenses from our online store. However, we see some clear advantages in the Sophos Central subscription:
- You can start with a single user and don't need to buy at least 3 licenses.
- You can add or remove new users at any time, and also use or uninstall new products in Sophos Central, without having to request a quote for a new license each time you want to register.
- Everything that is in use on the 22nd of the month will be charged.
- So if you want to try Sophos Central Email or Intercept X, you can do so from the 23rd to the 21st of the next month without paying a single penny. You just have to uninstall it before the 22nd.
- If you suddenly don't need Sophos Central any more, you can simply uninstall all products at any time, and you won't be charged for anything.
- Billing is done conveniently by credit card, as is also the case with other online services.
- We currently offer two currencies for settlement: Swiss Franc (CHF) and Euro (€). More will follow.
- The price model is so cool, we dedicate our own bullet point to it.
In our online shop we receive a price list with purchase prices and recommended retail prices. The difference is our margin, that is our profit. Since we constantly optimize our processes and do not employ an army of employees, we only need very little. Purchasing prices are lower depending on turnover and, as a Platinum Partner, we are able to offer our customers the best price of all.
The monthly model has a slightly different approach. Unfortunately, our Platinum Partner status doesn't help us to get better prices there. This depends on how many licenses our customers have installed in total.
The prices we are currently publishing on the site are therefore not set in stone, but will fall with the number of subscribers who open a Sophos Central subscription. We do not keep the profit to ourselves, but pass it on to you. This means not only to new customers, but also to all existing ones. As soon as the price drops, you will benefit from it on your next bill.
In the beta phase of this project we have already cracked the first stage, which is the reason why we will adjust the prices next week! What we obviously never want is a price increase. In the longer term, of course, our goal is also to be competitive with the 3-year licenses.
However, we do not only want to pass our licenses on to you, but also our know-how. Through our blog, we learned that our How-to-Posts like to be read (Update: Our blog was replaced by the new news page on 29.09.2017). Therefore, we would like to offer more of these articles in the future and have created a Knowledge-Base. We will gradually fill them with articles that will help you better understand Sophos products. If you have ideas for new Knowledge Base entries, please let us know, and, if we find time and the request is relevant for many users, we will create an entry.
As mentioned above, the version released today is just the beginning of the Sophos Licensing Portal. We'll start with the Sophos Central subscription and will implement all other ideas step by step. Here is an overview of what you can look forward to:
- XG Subscriptions - The Sophos Central subscription is just the beginning, but we will also be offering XG subscriptions in this model. The beta phase is already underway. So if you are already interested in it, contact us. (Coming around August 2017)
- sophos.avanet.ch/news - The Avanet Blog is completely renewed and will get a new URL. All newsletters and RSS followers will be informed. (Expected to arrive in September 2017)
- Follow us Page - To keep you updated with the latest news from us or Sophos, we'll create a page that will show you where we post these news items, so you know exactly which channels are interesting for you. (Expected to arrive in September 2017)
- Reseller - Do you know a lot of people around you that you'd like to offer Sophos Central at a monthly rate to? Simply open multiple subscriptions in your account and determine how much you would like to charge your customers. (Expected to arrive in September 2017)
- "Border Break" - We start in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but later we wanted to open our platform to other countries.
- Video tutorial for our Knowledge-Base
- Knowledge-Base Search
Open a Sophos Central subscription now!
Request an account now on our Sophos Licensing Portal and open a Sophos Central subscription today.