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Kaspersky Aims To Be ‘Big Boy’ Of Enterprise Security World

Interviewed on Mar 07, 2013 by Yogesh Gupta, Channelworld India Maxim Mitrokhin, Director-Operations, Kaspersky Lab, APAC, talks about the company’s aspirations for the Indian market.
Maxim Mitrokhin
Maxim Mitrokhin, Director-Operations, Kaspersky Lab, APAC Many vendors claim to offer one platform, but it’s often built through some acquisition. Our platform uses our own IP—it’s our biggest differentiator.

Interview Questions

Full Interview with Maxim Mitrokhin

CW : Enterprise security is a crowded space with many well-entrenched vendors. Don’t you think you’ve made a late entry?

Mitrokhin: We are definitely not late. Kapsersky started with a corporate (B2B) product. We sold much more in the B2B space in the early 2000’s. In 2005-06 we launched a good consumer product (KV and KS version 6) which boosted our B2C revenues. Our worldwide revenue split today is 70:30, in favor of B2C. In India, it stretches to 80:20. We are not content with the B2B market share. Hence, the renewed focus on driving this segment.

CW : How realistic is your GTM strategy in your bid to defeat companies like McAfee and Symantec? And, how soon will that happen?

Mitrokhin: Despite the fact that we are comfortably placed in the B2C space, we never ignore the B2B market. We launched EP8 last October. It’s difficult to win the hearts of big corporations that have been working with other dominant vendors for a long time. We had to introduce something different. ‘Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business’ is a breakthrough product with a revolutionary ‘One Platform, One Console, One Price’ approach.

CW : The ‘One Platform’ concept has been talked about by the likes of McAfee for many years.

Mitrokhin: I would not like to compare it with the others. The biggest challenge today that IT managers face is the complexity that stems from security solutions across different platforms. Previously, only malware was a major threat. Today, about 75 percent of cyber attacks happen due to vulnerabilities in third-party applications. Software companies constantly release updates and patches which makes prioritization difficult for IT administrators. Also, the proliferation of laptops and smartphones at work underscores the need for MDM. Addressing all these threats means that there is a need for four different consoles and corresponding policies. There are tools in the market but they are all separate. To reduce this complexity, we introduced a single platform with one console. Many security vendors claim to offer one platform, but it is often built through some acquisition. The ‘Endpoint Security for Business’ platform is our own IP—it is our biggest differentiator.

CW : How does the ‘One Price’ solution work with respect to new-age security threats and limited IT budgets?

Mitrokhin: IT managers buy security solutions from different vendors intermittently. But they need to convince their managements, and get budget approvals each time. The enterprise can buy our entire product with a one time budget approval. It also allows IT admins to see, control, and protect all systems and endpoints in the network. Our set of services is divided into four categories: Core is the foundation of workstation anti-malware protection and firewall. Select includes workstation and file server security, app control with dynamic whitelisting, device and Web control, and MDM. Advanced has features of Select, and also includes encryption and systems management tools. And Total has additional protection with the inclusion of infrastructure-level protection for Web, mail, and collaboration servers.

CW : Indian CIOs generally think of Kaspersky as a consumer brand. How do you intend to correct that perception?

Mitrokhin: It isn’t the right perception. We have big organizations as our customers who consider us to be a serious enterprise player. We are shifting from being purely distributor-focused to working closely with tier-2 channels. Last year, through our Green Team Partner program, we doubled the base of registered resellers. We are investing resources to educate partners on sales and technical support. Through Kaspersky Engineers club, partners can provide good support to end-customers.

CW : Hardware-centric vendors like Cisco, Juniper, niche security companies like Checkpoint, Websense, and some UTM vendors eat into the security software market. Comment

Mitrokhin: We already have OEM agreements with some of the companies that you mentioned. Our claim of having world’s biggest installation base takes these partnerships into account too. Everyone can have their share of the enterprise pie as security market is growing at a good pace.

CW : Is the hardware appliances market something Kaspersky is interested in?

Mitrokhin: In the past, and now, we have strong partnerships with established vendors. Losing focus on your core business can erode market share. We are not excluding the possibility of entering the hardware market in the future. Right now, software is our focus.

CW : Customer loyalty is a big challenge for security vendors, isn’t it?

Mitrokhin: Both replacement market and greenfield projects are crucial. Every project which is not a renewal of another security vendor becomes a potential green project for us. Education and government are favorite verticals globally. We also have good wins across manufacturing, IT/ITES, and BFSI in India.

CW : The cloud has not been a roller coaster ride in India. Traditional vendors are struggling against niche MDM vendors like MobileIron. What is your cloud and mobility story?

Mitrokhin:The cloud option is in-built in our product. Some concepts appear to move fast but the actual adoption takes time. For corporates, information is everything. They want to keep it close. Our customers, presently, are more comfortable with the on-premise model. MDM is part of the new product, supporting various mobility platforms. The solution has a unique containerization feature, wherein one can store data in an encrypted form in separate folders.

CW : How are you fuelling your partner ecosystem in India?

Mitrokhin: Our distributors for the enterprise business in India are Sea Infonet, Ecaps, Techmatrix and iValue. We are not attacking the large enterprises as it becomes difficult for the CIO to part with one vendor and try a new one. Nevertheless, it will take time to dominate that segment. Our potential customer-base would be mid-size organizations with 100 to 1500 users. The focus is on channels in tier-2 cities as we cater to partners in more than 56 locations in India, enabled by distributors and different teams (sales, pre-sales, and technical staff).

CW : Why should an enterprise partner sell Kaspersky and not competing brands?

Mitrokhin: We are well known for our anti-malware solutions. We introduced effective solutions around virtualization last year, and recently ‘End Point Security for Business’ for enterprises. Resellers know how to solve the customer problems with the best available solution in their portfolio. We do not see shortage of attention from partners pitching our solutions appropriately across enterprises.

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