Stealing from thieves

Antivirus software developer Sophos has launched an onslaught against rival vendors it claims are using resellers to establish initial sales before cutting them out of the loop for ongoing revenues.

In an attempt to expand its position in the local marketplace, Sophos is offering resellers a guarantee that it will not snatch ongoing revenue streams from updates and renewals. Additionally, it will back resellers up with service and support as part of its antivirus package.

According to Sophos MD Richard Baldry, resellers should be making money on basically every level of antivirus products. This includes both the sale and solution, through service and support, as well as upgrades, he said.

With antivirus software, Baldry believes customers are no longer satisfied with pre-installed software and are looking for complete and tailored solutions.

"The deployment of antivirus software is growing as people look towards installing it throughout different levels of their organisations - everything from gateway systems to personal units," he said.

Sophos claims to have seen a 185 per cent increase in sales over the last year, which Baldry attributes largely to the expansion of its channel. "There is saturation in the antivirus sector in Australia and worldwide," he said. "However, people are looking for more complete solutions.

With the ever-increasing amount of vulnerable material being transmitted and stored on PC networks, Sophos is attempting to re-educate resellers and end users about their legal responsibilities involving antivirus protection.

"We have received tenders from clients asking for assurances beyond the standard indemnities," said Baldry. "But we have to inform them that this isn't possible. It would be a very foolhardy person who advocated a completely foolproof solution, there is no such thing. That is why developing awareness is essential."

When signing up virus programs Baldry suggests resellers check if support is an added expense for their customers or included in the package. He also suggests resellers check whether that support is Australian-based.

Another common pitfall which resellers should be wary of, according to Baldry, is the pratice by some brands to offer upgrades as part of a package but then market updated versions under a different name.

"Effectively this means the customer has to buy the updated brand if they want to cover themselves from the latest threats," warned Baldry.

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