Sophos pivots to embrace opportunities in an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape

Published November 24, 2022, 10:45 AM

by Christian Niel Angel

Kris Hagerman is the CEO of Sophos since 2012. He is in charge of Sophos’ strategic direction and business operations. From Bali, Indonesia, we managed to speak with Hagerman about Sophos’ strategy moving forward, cybersecurity as a service, and the challenges they have faced during the height of the pandemic.

You can read our full discussion below:

Kris Hagerman: OK, so, well, let’s see where I’ll just start with and where Sophos are. We just passed last year’s really exciting milestone being a billion dollars a year in annual revenue. We now protect over 530,000 organizations around the world. 

We’re one of the largest independent cybersecurity vendors in the world, which is exciting.

Sophos is one of the very few Cyber Security Vendors that has a strength across endpoint, next gen firewall and network security as well as managed services.

We’re one of the very few companies that is an established industry leader in both endpoint and firewall at the very highest level. We have over 250,000 next gen endpoint customers while 230,000 on next gen firewalls.

We are really pivoting the entire company to embrace what we see as a groundbreaking opportunity in delivering cybersecurity as a service and the reason we’re doing that is very simple, our view of the cybersecurity landscape is that at this point, cybersecurity has become so difficult, so complex and moving so fast that the vast majority of organizations in the world simply cannot manage it effectively on their own.

They should find a trusted security expert to basically do it for them or help them do it and that’s what cybersecurity as a service is all about.

What is the difference between MDR and Cybersecurity as a service?

Kris Hagerman: Cybersecurity is a service that can encompass multiple offerings but the core of it is managed detection and response. That’s what MDR, MDR in our view, is the flagship of the example of delivering cybersecurity as a service because what MDR does is it covers the three in our view pillars of how you want to deliver superior cybersecurity outcomes for a real world organization and that is you want to ensure that you defend against the vast majority of things coming at you but no matter how well defended you are, if an attacker is persistent or advanced enough they may find their way around your defenses and that is why detection and response is so important. 

Detection and Response has to be really fast because if an incident does occur speed is everything. You basically want to identify that threat or incident really quickly and shut it down before the attacker can get into the network and bounce around,  grab data and export the data outside and do damage with it.

So managed detection and response is at the very core of delivering cybersecurity as a service.

With the need to work from home due to the pandemic, has there been an increased need for managed detection and response?

Kris Hagerman: With COVID and work from home, What that has basically done is taken the threat landscape and the attack surface area and dramatically expanded it.

Because now you’ve got more and more people who are working on, they’re using more devices, they’re connecting from anywhere, In the road, In the cafe or maybe at the beach.

It’s just more connections, more devices, more data being disseminated and it means that there’s more exposure and that increases opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.

As customers start to shift to cloud enable products, is Sophos on par with its competitors such as Crowdstrike? Or what measures do you take to ensure that you meet up with this?

Kris Hagerman: That is a great question, I would say that we’re on par with anyone in the industry when it comes to cloud enabled management and computing when it comes to cybersecurity.

Sophos is one of the only companies in the world that has a single cloud management console called Sophos central that we used to manage all of our entire portfolio of next gen products.

That represents 90% of our revenue and It’s one of the things that helps enable our ability to deliver cybersecurity as a service because that platform can be managed from anywhere, I would say that we’re at the very forefront of the industry when it comes to the ability to manage and deliver our products to the cloud.

How do you find yourself in the wild and thrilling world of technology and cybersecurity specifically?

Kris Hagerman: I found my way to Sophos because I knew some people on the board as they were looking for new leadership to help figure out how to take advantage of all this opportunity that Sophos had.

I did not have cybersecurity experience. I had a lot of enterprise and infrastructure software experience. It’s been a great learning opportunity for me to really embrace what cybersecurity is all about.

Is Sophos able to adapt to the fast changing industry of cybersecurity?

When it comes to innovation and being able to adapt and ensure that we are staying at the front, not just at the front of technology innovation but also making sure that we deliver that in a way that really delivers tangible value to our customers.

We’ve been around since 1985, We keep getting bigger and better. It’s a great example of how we pair innovation and technology in areas like data science, automation, machine learning and cloud computing but we package that in a way that delivers direct tangible value to our customers.

We are delivering direct measurable benefits to 12,000 MDR customers. Our customers receive less risk, We can demonstrate that they have 85% fewer incidents than we were involved.

Greater Efficiency: We free up significant time for their security team to focus on other priorities while we help them to be more efficient at understanding the real items that matter for them in security.

And last but not least we save them money. We have a customer that was a manufacturer and they found that using the Sophos MDR service,  They have the same coverage and workload that they could provide with six full-time team members for the cost of one person and that’s just a fantastic example of being able to deliver better security.

We are driving innovation in the industry. That is going to set the standard for other vendors in fact we’ve had a number of third party analysts who have said the same thing.

The vast majority of organizations today we think are poorly protected and they’re poorly protected because they are utterly overwhelmed. Too many tools and alerts. They don’t have enough people. They don’t have enough budget. They don’t have enough expertise and as a result they are not able to manage cyber security effectively.

Thanks to all the advances that Sophos has made across products, managed services, threat intelligence and security operations, We can now deliver a world class 24/7 security operations center that does 24/7 threat hunting, full scale incident response and does all of that behalf of the customer so that they can have a world class level of protection no matter what size they are.

To a lot of us at Sophos is the idea that not only are we building a attractive business, but we really do believe we are doing good in the world that cybercrime is a global epidemic and we can play a meaningful role in helping to protect so many of these organizations that today are overwhelmed and exhausted.