Content, Channel investors, MDR

Sophos Acquires DarkBytes for MDR, SOAR, Managed Security Services

Sophos has acquired DarkBytes, a cybersecurity startup focused on managed detection and response (MDR), Security Orchestration and Automation Response (SOAR) and MSSP services, both companies have confirmed. DarkByes will allow Sophos to further a global managed security services push delivered via partners, the companies assert.

Sophos CTO Joe Levy

Explaining the deal, Sophos CTO Joe Levy said:

“Sophos predicts that eventually all IT security products will evolve into adaptive, managed services as more organizations realize that they are unable to scale resources fast enough to respond to today’s threats. The strength and architecture of the DarkBytes platform will accelerate Sophos’ plans to introduce global managed security services that will eventually span endpoint, firewall, mobile devices, wireless APs, and more. We welcome the DarkBytes team to Sophos and are excited to introduce these services through our partners over the coming months.”

The key statement: Sophos will leverage partners to deliver those managed security offerings. Plus, DarkBytes has its own fledgling MSSP partner program -- which means the company's sale to Sophos appears partner-friendly in nature.

DarkBytes launched its first products in March 2018. The company offers a Unified Endpoint Protection Platform designed to consolidate all critical security controls into a single lightweight agent, DarkBytes asserts.

Sophos: Slowing Growth, Partner Strategy

The DarkBytes acquisition comes at an especially key time. Sophos earlier this month announced slower-than-expected revenue growth. That move, coupled with challenges and layoffs at McAfee, have raised questions about the cybersecurity market's overall health. Yes, the industry is growing -- but perhaps not as quickly as eager investors crave.

Meanwhile, endpoint security providers like CylanceCrowdstrike, Cybereason, Carbon Black and others have been chipping away at entrenched market products. Plus, SMB-focused security providers like Webroot have loyal MSP followings. And upstarts like VIPRE Security have been building successful MSP partner programs — an area where McAfee and rival Symantec have lagged over the past decade.

As for Sophos, the company has a particularly strong MSP partner program. And the company's MSP-centric dashboard is widely respected by plenty of partners.

MSSP Services for MSPs

Much like Sophos, some rivals are leveraging MSPs and MSSPs to deliver MDR services to end-customers.

For instance, SolarWinds MSP in 2018 acquired Trusted Metrics, a provider of real-time threat monitoring and management software, and security operations center (SOC) technology. Instead of building its own MSSP service, SolarWinds MSP is positioning its threat monitoring software for MSPs and MSSPs to use as part of their own security operations center (SOC) deployments.

We've reached out to Sophos for more information about the DarkBytes deal and the potential implications for partners. We'll share more details if/when we receive them.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.