Crossbeam Systems, Sophos partner on email, messaging security

Crossbeam Systems and Sophos have joined forces to offer an integrated tool that address email-borne threats. The next task? Mapping the two channel programs.

In an effort to help the channel better address email and messaging security threats, Crossbeam Systems Inc., and endpoint security and antimalware company Sophos Inc. have announced a partnership that will allow Crossbeam's X-Series platform customers to run Sophos's email security gateway software Sophos PureMessage.

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Not a security software vendor, Boxborough, Mass.-based Crossbeam, with its X-Series platform, virtualizes the delivery of security applications, including Check Point Inc.'s firewall and Sourcefire Inc.'s intrusion prevention system, enabling customers to consolidate security appliances and network devices onto a bladed chassis.

Sophos Inc., headquartered in Boston and Oxford, U.K., joins a list of security vendors whose software is certified to run on the X-Series: Check Point, IBM, Imperva Inc., Sourcefire, Trend Micro Inc. and Websense Inc.

Crossbeam's chief marketing officer Jim Freeze said the Sophos messaging product filled a gap in its platform offerings. "One of the things we've heard from customers," which include large enterprise carriers and cloud security service providers, "is the areas in which they want us to focus on, in terms of looking for new security applications, is messaging solutions," he said.

Freeze said Crossbeam's X-Series platform and Sophos' PureMessage appliance will be appealing to managed security service providers who need high-availability and throughput. "About 40% of our revenue comes from large carriers who need scalability and are looking for more applications like what Sophos can bring to bear."

Sophos PureMessage, backed by the global network SophosLabs, scans inbound, outbound and internal mail, blocking Web-based attacks with antispam updates. The integration, according to Sophos v.p. of global OEM & strategic alliances Mike Rogers, will provide relief for large enterprises, services providers and other organizations with complex email structures, including universities.

"Imagine a university," said Rogers, citing that Sophos products are used by a majority of Ivy League schools. "This solution will take very well in that space on a Crossbeam blade because the administrator is going to be able to set policy in a highly scalable environment that provides restriction on, for instance, email that would be different from that of their professors."

Rogers also saw the opportunity for the channel, as Sophos enters the carrier market and Crossbeam increases its offerings of messaging security options. The upshot for solution providers should make it easier to close deals thanks to improved technical assurance, field support and inside sales support from the combined Sophos and Crossbeam teams, as well as increased marketing and program management support.

Rogers said Sophos is rolling out an execution plan globally in concert with Crossbeam to ensure there is appropriate mapping between the two channel programs.

"I think there's an opportunity for some cross-pollination between our two customer bases," Rogers said.

Sophos has a 100% channel model and although Crossbeam has a direct and channel model, the two companies have a healthy number of overlapping channel partners, according to Rogers. All of the sales fulfillment will go through Crossbeam's and Sophos' partners.

Certification of Sophos PureMessage on the X-Series security platform will be completed by Q3 2010.

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