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Sophos Partner Roadshow 2023

After three years, we were back at a Sophos Partner Roadshow. After the pandemic, we didn’t go to any offline events, but we wanted to touch people again and see them without beauty filters. The innovations are limited, but there are some upcoming features to look forward to.

Process

Like at an Apple keynote, they first thanked everyone and then presented growth figures including market forecasts for the coming years.

This was followed by storytelling and analogies to bring the threat situation and possible protection technologies closer to the audience.

Then there was a preview of the roadmap, but more on that later.

Finally, various presentations once again presented possible cyber attacks in detail and explained how Sophos products can help here.

Managed Detection and Response

I’m sure we all remember the time when Sophos promoted Intercept X in a big way. Now the focus is on MDR. Feedback from existing customers suggests that Sophos is running active phone and email campaigns to promote MDR, which is getting on the nerves of some.

However, as aggressive as Sophos’s marketing is, the product and service is actually excellent and we can really recommend this unconditionally to anyone!

Even though Sophos Threat Advisor was still mentioned in the presentations. The product will be end of sale next month.

Sophos WiFi 6 Access Points

The Wi-Fi 6 Access Points will be available in August. We will be able to tell you the prices in July. If you don’t want to lose a second, you can sign up for the waiting list in our contact form and we will send you a quote or an info that they are now available as soon as we have the prices.

We dedicate a separate article to the Sophos AP6 Access Points, explaining all the details in detail, as we have already owned a test device since January and have been able to gather experience.

The most important data on the new Access Points:

There will be a total of five new Access Points with Wi-Fi 6 standard.

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency band

6 GHz frequency band

Outdoor with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency band

The new Access Points will no longer be manageable through the firewall, but only through Sophos Central or directly through the access point web interface or app.

Sophos Central is of course the recommended way to go here. Nevertheless, as with the switches, there is a subscription, which will be about 10% of the access point price.

Roadmap

The roadmap is a very sensitive topic with certain Sophos people (not the technicians), who are rather relaxed about it. If you are in the tech bubble, you know this from the big companies. There is a keynote and it is reported which software features can be expected until the next keynote in the following year. They talk about it openly.

Sophos is a little more cautious. They have a roadmap, but they don’t want it to be public because the features on it might never come. We’ve had that many times in the past, and some customers can’t deal with it, and some Sophos employees also have their problems with it.

I know that many readers would like some fodder here to see what is happening with Sophos and the products they have bought. If nothing comes for a long time and you wait for release after release for improvements, but nothing happens, you quickly switch to a competitor when you renew. Fortinet is currently doing well and is not looking bad in Gartner’s rankings either.

So without sharing details here, as we’ve been muzzled and we’re tired of discussions to make our point with Sophos, I’ll leave it and summarise the info that is known but perhaps not to everyone and also say what’s not coming.

Firewall

The next major release, version 20, should be released in the next 7 months. The Early Access phase will start towards the end of the year.

  • Finally, the GUI is also designed for widescreen monitors and the annoying white area disappears.

The only thing left is the annoying bouncing assistant, but fortunately you can deactivate it.

Sophos Firewall Assistant Animation
  • The ZTNA Connector then goes directly onto the firewall, which makes the topic exciting for many smaller companies without a hypervisor or KVM. Unfortunately, however, the connector is limited to a miserly 15 GB of traffic per user per month, which makes it uninteresting again for many.

Switches

The Sophos switches have now been available since December 2021. Unfortunately, there is no news here about the integration of MDR or Synchronised Security. Many would like to see a core switch here too, but this is not an issue for Sophos at the moment.

Conclusion

The roadshow was great for us in that we could chat with people again without delays or bad camera images. Of course, we already knew the information about the products. We demand this of ourselves, as we only deal with Sophos products on a daily basis.

However, mixed feelings remain. On the one hand, Sophos has developed a solid ecosystem, which is now being worked on diligently and improvements are constantly being made. On the other hand, Sophos has annoyed many customers with the long development times without an outlook, product discontinuations and price increases.

Nevertheless, we are confident at this stage, as the legacy products have been or will soon be dismantled, that future developments will come faster and will not be years in coming. The foundation of the platform is in place and individual products like MDR are already phenomenal. Others like switches, ZTNA, firewall still need a few updates and will be.

Feedback

We welcome detailed feedback on what you currently like and what features you miss. We’ll be happy to pass the feedback on to Sophos, collect all the suggestions and create a blog post with the most requested features, or more precisely, the features that would make Sophos products better.

Avanet
Avanet

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