Sophos Unveils Big Updates To Firewall Software, XDR Platform

Sophos announced updates to its product portfolio, including in its firewall software and extended detection and response (XDR) platform, which one solution provider said represents a major step forward for the cybersecurity vendor and its partners.

As part of the updates, the company rolled out support in its XDR platform for key products from 21 major technology vendors including competitors such as CrowdStrike, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks.

Sophos Chief Product Officer Raja Patel, who spoke exclusively with CRN about the product updates, said the announcements represent simplification for partners while also enabling better security outcomes for end customers through making protection more proactive.

All in all, the updates “advance the mission for us to get better and faster at detecting and responding to threats,” Patel said.

For its network firewall software, Sophos is announcing the addition of Active Threat Response capabilities, which can automatically shut down malicious behavior and prevent attackers from entering a network. Crucially, capability is available without the need to introduce additional firewall rules, the company said.

The new release of Sophos Firewall, which is version 20, also integrates a zero trust network access (ZTNA) gateway for organizations that need to provide secure access to on-premises applications located behind the firewall. 

The integration eliminates the need for an additional appliance to be purchased and deployed, helping partners and customers to consolidate their security tools, according to Patel.

Sam Heard, president of Data Integrity Services, a Sophos partner based in Lakeland, Fla., said he has already connected with a customer that’s planning to halt the deployment of a different ZTNA product in order to consolidate on Sophos.

The customer told Heard, “‘this is a better fit for me than having to deal with a different ZTNA product,’” he said. “That’s a huge benefit.”

Heard also applauded the introduction of support for a number of third-party products in Sophos’ XDR platform. In addition to products from Fortinet, CrowdStrike and Palo Alto Networks, Sophos also unveiled support for products from vendors including AWS, Microsoft, Cisco, SentinelOne and SonicWall.

The Sophos XDR platform now has more than 75 third-party technology integrations, the company said.

“More information sources allow you to promote or demote a particular alert,” Patel said. “From a time-to-detect standpoint, the correlation between different sources helps you prioritize and understand which ones to go after first.”

Meanwhile, Sophos also announced that its XDR platform now supports network detection and response (NDR), which can help with spotting malicious behavior on networks and other threats. 

The update makes NDR available as a standalone offering to customers, in contrast to just being available to managed detection and response (MDR) customers up until now, Patel said.

Overall, with the new product updates, “I’m seeing Sophos pushing the envelope and staying out in front,” Heard said. “It makes my life a lot easier.”

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