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Sophos bundles network access control (NAC) with antivirus

Sophos says it is bringing network access control (NAC) to the masses by putting it into its flagship antivirus security product.

Sophos says it is bringing network access control (NAC) to the masses by putting it into its flagship antivirus product.

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control 8.0 aims to make it easier for business customers to defend all the entry points to their networks. The issue with NAC thus far has been the difficulty of deployment. Making NAC part of the overall security software install could ease implementation.

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"There are standard policies out of the box. An agent is deployed so there is no new software, and it uses the same management tools you use with Sophos antivirus," said John Shaw, group product manager for Sophos Plc, based in Boston and Oxford, England.

Sophos acquired Endforce, a network access control provider, late last year.

The good news for channel partners is that a converged antivirus/network access control offering could be an easier sell, and all of Sophos' business goes through partners. "Every dollar is done through or in association with a channel partner," said Chris Doggett, director of North American channel sales for Sophos.

This comes at a time when some Symantec partners have complaints about Symantec's policies and report difficulties upgrading customers to new versions of its antivirus software. Partners report that in many cases, the IT staff or the partner actually ends up "touching" 20% to 30% of the desktops, and that adds up to a lot of time and energy for what is supposed to be an automated install. Sophos competes directly with Symantec and McAfee.

Scott Lowery, executive vice president of Cleveland-based MRK Technologies Ltd., is sold on selling Sophos.

"They've hit some key points and loaded up their standard offering with NAC. No one else has done that yet," Lowrie noted.

"In this space, a lot of the resellers don't actively pursue business. They treat it as an add-on to other stuff they do. But we've brought Sophos into accounts and it's paid," Lowrie said, citing generous margins well in excess of the two or three points most partners expect from selling similar products.

For 100 users, a one-year subscription including tech support for Sophos Endpoint Security and Control 8.0 costs $43 per user per year, or $4,300.

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