Kathryn Cave, Editor at IDG Connect notes, "We visit Sophos’ Oxfordshire HQ, see a live hack and visit the labs."
|Photo: IDG Connect|
Somewhere in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside, in an inauspicious looking business park, sits Sophos’ global headquarters. This is a big glass ‘greenhouse’ with plenty of bright open spaces, wide staircases and lots of plants. From here it strives to fight the ever changing world of international cybercrime.
At 31, with a $125m IPO last year, Sophos, like Sage, is one of those great British companies. And now, with the increased emphasis on cybercrime everywhere, it is growing at a furious pace with a year-on-year increase of 20% and revenues of $478m [PDF of latest results].
This still puts it some way behind most of its main competitors though. These are Symantec ($6.5bn), McAfee ($2bn) and Trend Micro ($1.2bn) in the end-point security space and Fortinet ($1bn) and SonicWALL ($265 million) in the networking space. Yet it is the only company to straddle both areas – its business is divided almost 50/50 between each area. And as a business strategy Sophos has set its niche on mid-market companies who want a comprehensive, easy to implement solution for their limited security staff.
Unlike many walks of technology, cybersecurity is rather egalitarian. There is a right or a wrong answer – it’s harder to trump quality with marketing in this space – which means if you’re good you can prove yourself to be good. After all, there are “bad guys” to be fought and the threats are constantly evolving.
This is the reason behind Sophos’ recent high profile spat with Cylance, explains CEO Kris Hagerman who is keen to stress that Cylance is not a particular competitor. The problem is that this company is “consistently making bold claims but never makes its software available to test,” he says. This lets the whole industry down and “that’s why we ultimately made a point of it.”
Due to the nature of the business – competing against criminals – cybersecurity has a long pedigree of shared research, peer-reviewing and academic-style in-depth white papers. And Hagerman is generally happy about the collaboration between vendors. “I think the industry has got better because the bad guys have got better,” he says.
Source: IDG Connect