What have been the big trends this year?
The biggest trend we’ve seen, which is surprising to me as a lead cloud architect, is that we’ve seen a lot of the larger cloud vendors move from a cloud only focus back to hybrid IT. Previously the prevailing idea was that hybrid IT was going to go away and that people were going to consume cloud alone at some point.
But that has actually seen a bit of a 360 and now you’ll see traditional “cloud only” vendors like AWS are introducing more hybrid connectivity features into their cloud because they’ve found that customers do not want to subscribe to everything in the cloud, aren’t comfortable with it or just in a situation where they can’t do it. I think if you’d ask Amazon, Microsoft or Google they’d tell you that they’ve seen that the long-term is going to be hybrid in some way, shape or form. Hybrid can be on-premise in cloud or it can be multiple different clouds.
What is Sophos doing to address this shift?
We’ve introduced compatibility with a lot of different platforms for our end-point server protection and the one thing that we really recognised early on is that hybrid IT is here to stay and multi clouds are here to stay. What we allow you to do is to put security onto your workload and take that workload and run it wherever you want. The focus for us has always been on this hybrid path and we keep adding additional platforms and components that are supported. We’ve had this strategy for a long time and now we see that the platform vendors are coming round to see it our way.
Can you tell us about updates to your Firewalls?
With regards to our Firewalls, the big thing that we’ve added is the ability to run active / active firewalls on Azure and on top of that the ability to take that synchronised security story that we already had and really elevate it to the next level. We are giving administrators the tools to take a containerised approach to their workloads on the network, drilling down to individual applications end-to-end. We give a lot of control and power to do fine-grained policy management that wasn’t there before and is unique in the market.
What are your key predictions for 2019?
I think we will see a lot of vendors trying to get on Sophos Central, not necessarily integrated with us but taking that concept and trying to replicate it. If you take a look at what the platform vendors are doing, Microsoft is coming out with something in the form of an extension to the Azure security centre, Amazon is coming out with a product of their own that will do something similar. There are a lot of other vendors trying to do what Sophos have already built, which is a centralised platform that can automate your security response management and send unified policies across multiple products.