India Inc. is Ready for Data Encryption Solutions: Mark Hickman, Winmagic
Mark Hickman, COO, Winmagic, says India is on the cusp of adopting data encryption solutions that will translate into opportunities for the channel.
Yogesh Gupta Sep 30th 2014

What major shifts do you expect as the cloud overtakes on-premise models?

Hickman: The biggest trends in the security space are cloud and mobile. More people now use Dropbox, iCloud, or Google drive to share information. The problem with that is you are entrusting the cloud to encrypt data. In our view, it’s critical that organizations control the encryption keys.

We have a solution that locks and unlocks the information flow in and out of the cloud. Adding Dropbox or other components to a file folder capability is an evolution of the cloud platform. We will leverage key strengths around authentication and key management, and we are launching full-blown cloud solutions next year.

But encryption isn’t as easy to implement as it sounds.

Hickman: In the movies, the encryption process takes five minute to complete. But that’s impossible. Encryption is difficult, disruptive, and invasive. The challenge is to make it look simple to ensure a seamless end-user experience.

When organizations appraoch encryption as something that needs to be checked off on their to-do list, they often end up with cheap solutions—and nightmares. Winmagic Securedoc (an all-in-one encryption suite) is safer and more fail-proof than firewalls and e-security. You can’t hack encrypted data, unless you know the password.

Winmagic is a relatively new vendor. How is it planning on beating its more well-established rivals in India?

Hickman: We play in the mobile endpoint security segment, which includes mobile devices, desktops, and servers. All super vendors—McAfee, Symantec, Sophos, Check Point—with their hundreds of offerings—AV, IPS, firewalls—pitch encryption as just another product. As a provider of full-disk encryption software, we win most deals in this space. 

We have strong OEM relationshipa with Lenovo and HP—that’s 40 percent of the global PC market. With Amtrak as our India distributor, we have had big strategic wins in India.

To address the challenge of skillsets at the partner level, we have ensure that we have more technical team members on field than sales people. We offer add-on services to end customers through partners to ensure a good experience and successful deployments.

Are there more opportunities in India because vendors are not focused or because of the nascent state of the encryption market?

Hickman: Encryption is a highly competitive market.  If some vendors are not focused, it does not mean they have bad products. If we weren’t better, why would customers pick us as their preferred encryption vendor?

The Indian market is exceptionally ready for our encryption solutions. Hordes of Greenfield accounts present big opportunities for partners and us. We need to stay focused and innovative in this survival-of-the-fittest market, and keep delivering a better customer experience and better-trained partners.

Isn’t it difficult to find channel partners who will sell Winmagic offerings exclusively?

Hickman: Partners have moved beyond being product-focused. They sell according to customer needs, and we have to live with an environment of multi-vendor partners.

Encryption has long sales cycles and it is hard to sell compared to other security technologies. Hence, we are cultivating the encryption market, something no vendor has done effectively till date.

Encryption is like the icing on the security business cake. We are creating more business for partners with a services-oriented, profitable model. Channels with strong enterprise connects and resilient security businesses will be the success mantra for us.

At the start of 2013, we committed strongly to India. We made heavy investments in terms of infrastructure and people.  In the past few quarters, the company’s India Country Manager, Nishant Verma, and his team have ensured a strong pipeline of key partnerships to accelerate our business.

Encryption has long sales cycles and it is harder to sell as compared routine security technologies. We are cultivating an encryption market which no vendor has done effectively till date.