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Case Study

Managed Sophos solution enhances security posture and drives down costs for PA Media

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The Client

PA Media is the national news agency for the UK and Northern Ireland. Originally established as the Press Association in 1870, it rebranded as PA Media in 2018.

Today, PA Media is a diverse portfolio of specialist media companies. It provides customers in the media, sport, corporate betting, and public sectors with a huge range of content. It streams around 30 million hours of live video and collects and distributes data from 100,000 live horse and greyhound races across the globe each year. Its journalists create more than 1 million words of news and features every week.

Pa Media

Key Facts

  • National News Agency for the UK and Northern Ireland
  • Broad portfolio of specialist media companies
  • Delivers media and specialist data services to multiple sectors

The Challenge

IT Security is vitally important to PA Media. Ensuring it has a robust security posture is critical to both its core activities and its reputation.

It invested in a Sophos security solution through Softcat back in 2020 but the rapidly increasing threat landscape and challenging cyber insurance market meant that this existing solution was becoming less effective in protecting the business; which lowers its security posture leading to increased cyber premiums. In November 2022 Sophos also announced a price increase scheduled for January 2023.

Softcat’s team informed PA Media about both the price increase and that moving to a Sophos MDR solution would increase protection and response, for a strong posture in this area when assessed by cyber insurers. PA Media hadn’t expected any price increases until September 2023. It meant it had only six weeks - including the Christmas break - to make a critical business decision and source an enhanced, cost-effective security solution.

Critical success factors

  • Maintain and strengthen a robust security posture
  • Minimise potential cyber security insurance cost increases
  • Source and implement security solution within tight timescales

The Solution

Having made PA Media aware of the upcoming price increase, Softcat put together a proposal highlighting the financial implications of failing to renew until September and offering alternative options. Gaining approval from within the business was critical. Softcat created a business case to help inform the PA Media executive team, finance department and IT team of the operational and financial benefits of renewing the engagement early.

Softcat worked closely with the vendor, Sophos, to negotiate a significant commercial discount based on an early renewal. To make it a plausible option for PA Media, Softcat secured an agreement to spread the financial cost across three years, paid annually.

Softcat also collaborated closely with Sophos and PA Media to ensure the solution would provide the robust security posture it needed. Through upgrading to a Sophos, Managed Detection & Response solution, the enhanced level of protection it provides would play a key role in achieving favourable cyber cover and protect its reputation as a trusted provider within the media landscape.

Solution highlights

  • Creation of business case to highlight financial and operational benefits of early renewal
  • Close client collaboration to ensure approval from multiple stakeholders
  • Extensive vendor negotiation to minimise cost and secure fit-for-purpose security solution

The Benefits

Softcat not only secured a three-year finance agreement to help spread the cost of the solution, but it also absorbed the interest charges on the deal to drive down headline costs through three manageable instalments. Both Softcat and Sophos pulled out all the stops over a six-week period, including the Christmas break, to ensure that the solution was in place before the renewal deadline.

Softcat’s recommendation to upgrade PA Media’s security posture to a more robust managed service has strengthened its defences, relieved pressure on the in-house IT team and delivered significant cost avoidance. With a managed service in place, the in-house IT team now has more time to concentrate on core services and higher value activities.

PA Media’s return on investment (ROI) was immediate. The enhanced solution contributed to favourable cyber cover during a very tough period for companies in the cyber market.

And the close collaboration between PA Media, Softcat and Sophos throughout the engagement has strengthened the long-term relationship and boosted PA Media’s reputation as a secure and trusted provider within the sector.

Andy Holland, Head of Procurement, PA Media, said, “Our executive team was obviously over the moon, as our insurers stated that the reduction in premiums was a direct acknowledgement of the investment we’ve made in enhancing our security posture. It’s a great business case for IT and Procurement’s future investment, as we can clearly demonstrate ROI to our executive team.”

Benefits at a Glance

  • Rapid, six-week turnaround from initial approach to solution implementation
  • Helped reduce Cyber Insurance costs
  • Enhanced security posture and clear return on investment (ROI)

Why Softcat?

Softcat’s proactive account management ensures that clients are kept fully up to date on technology sector developments and its close relationships with leading vendors enables it to drive down costs and achieve added value in every engagement. It’s extensive knowledge of the technology marketplace ensures it can provide truly agnostic advice and close client collaboration ensures every solution delivers exceptional operational and financial benefits.