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Making inroads

Kaspersky Lab says the company is growing and is primed to take the number three spot in global market share from Trend Micro over the next year.

 

During Kaspersky Lab’s recently held Partner Conference, top executives told attending channel partners that the company was primed to capture more business and revealed that it has ambitions to be number one in the endpoint security space by 2014.

 

While this is an ambitious and bold move on the part of the Russian headquartered IT security vendor, record growth over the last few years seems to confirm that the company may have had a good start. In 2008, the company experienced more than 70% growth in the consumer sector. Despite a worldwide recession, the company grew 30% in 2009, and this year, it’s anticipating growth of 35%.

 

Because of its rapid growth, Kaspersky endpoint security market share increased to 6% in 2009, up from around 4 percent the previous year.

 

Helped by being headquartered in Moscow, the company experienced some of its fastest growth in Europe, increasing sales by 45%. The company experienced its second fast growth in the Americas, growing revenue by 26%.

 

Amid all this growth, Kaspersky Lab’s biggest challenge is, on the one hand, it needs to create the foundation for future growth and build future technologies, at the same time it has to balance its long-term and short-term goals.

 

Tarek Kuzbari, MD at Kaspersky Lab Middle East, says since the economic outlook has improved in general, the company is finding that businesses are catching up on their performance around the globe. Kuzbari says the company has witnessed similar trends in the Middle East markets. “We are led to believe that most IT security vendors are noticing similar results in the region,” he says.

 

However, Kuzbari adds that in Kaspersky’s case, due to the exemplary growth and the focus in the Middle East region, aided by its channel partner focus on markets, the company continues to record three digit growth figures in its business in the region.

 

With the vendor seriously eyeing the number three slot in global market share this year and harbouring ambitions to capture the number one spot globally in the endpoint security space by 2014, Kuzbari says aiming for the number one status is a result of the parameters that Kaspersky measures itself upon.

 

According to Kuzbari, Kaspersky is number one in the most recognised AV brand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Kuzbari says further to this, within the last two years the company has became number one in terms of sales in many countries within the Middle East. “At the same time, we recognise there are other parameters where we have yet to excel in; this is the main driver for all our initiatives in the region,” he says.

 

Kabeer Kant, Sales Manager at Dubai-based solution provider Greenpoint Computers, a Kaspersky partner concurs and goes on to say that from a brand awareness standing, Kaspersky is well-known in the AV space in the region. Kant believes the company’s efforts to raise brand awareness while supporting partners with training, marketing tools and information on the ground has help Kaspersky to galvanise itself in the Middle East channel. “They have a compelling product offering and one in three customers that buy AV products from us are asking for Kaspersky’s AV range,” he says.

 

Challenges

 

Because of its rapid growth, Kaspersky endpoint security market share increased to 6% in 2009, up from around 4% the previous year. Meanwhile, market share for Trend Micro – number three of the "big three" security companies – fell slightly from more than 7% to 6.9%. In addition, Symantec’s endpoint security market share fell from 38% to 31 percent in endpoint security in 2009.

 

Kuzbari adds that when you examine the growth in the IT threat landscape and factor in the rate of adoption of Web 2.0 platforms by both individuals and businesses in the region, this provides Kaspersky with a volatile concoction. He explains that recent attacks that were launched against major IT companies in the USA demonstrates this with catastrophic accuracy. “The challenge we have to address here in the Middle East region is twofold: customer awareness and enhancing the ability to take decisive action,” he says.

 

Kuzbari says in the Middle East region, the company’s efforts address these two areas through the dissemination of current threats by relating the information to customers like the Weblog on www.viruslist.com and most importantly provide the industry leading technologies for protection with a powerful centralised management console.

 

Channel focus

 

To manage that growth, Kaspersky has had to restructure the organisation to meet the evolving needs and challenges in the geographies it is currently present in. The role the channel plays will be pivotal to its future growth plans and the vendor has made it clear that going forward, Kaspersky Lab will put more emphasis on its channel marketing efforts in the region, with new and innovative ideas for developing a recognisable brand.

 

Kuzbari says within this year Kaspersky still sees scope of improvement in its channel ecosystem and it is still investing and developing the channel in most of the countries in the region. He points out that the countries Kaspersky is going to focus on most within 2010 will be UAE, KSA, Egypt and Pakistan. “Our Middle East offerings are responsible now for four main regions which include: GCC, Levant, West Asia and North East Africa,” he says. “Last year we were able to achieve three digit growth figures in all of these regions, and GCC has the highest growth with the major contribution coming from the UAE and KSA.”

 

Kuzbari reiterates that partners still remain key to Kaspersky’s growth and success in the Middle East. “Our region has a unique business culture, needs and opportunities, and channel partners are helping us understand and respond to these requirements,” he says.

 

Kuzbari adds that all Kaspersky’s partners now have better access to Kaspersky Lab technical resources which includes both pre- and post-sales resources. The vendor has also upped its tempo and is doing continuous training for partners, on sales, technical support and product expertise.

 

According to Kuzbari, partners across the geographies that are covered from the Middle East office will have better access to marketing materials and more coverage in terms of events, promotions and a dedicated fund to run their marketing campaigns customised to their countries and regions.

 

In addition, Kuzbari says channel partners will continue to get prominence in lead referral and access to the deal registration programmes as these efforts continue to drive value to their businesses.

 

In addition, Kuzbari says the focus for Kaspersky is to enable enterprises to manage and mitigate IT risk and this includes IT threats in general. “Our technology along with our various partners has been successfully executing on this.” he says. Our AV Technology is used by leading network security solution vendors as a perimeter level protection and our business space security products are deployed directly at the end point defending organisations comprehensively.”

 

Kuzbari says this year Kaspersky is focused on increasing the technical capabilities of its partners, enhancing their ability to serve the end-user customers better and also working on margin enhancing initiatives. “We are also looking forward to expanding our reach and providing more value for our partners in the regions we cover,” he says.

 

With retail emerging as a highly sought after route to market, Kuzbari says the company has dedicated partners to develop its retail business. He adds that these partners are called Consumer Republishing Partners and they are focused on the development of consumer-oriented channels and the quality of manufacturing and the distribution of retail products.

 

He adds that with the new edition of its partner programme, the company has added additional status which is Premium retail partners who will provide more value and support for all the major retailers in the region. “The good news for the channel community is that Kaspersky will continue to invest in training all its partners for free,” he says. In the same light, Kuzbari says the company will be conducting training every quarter in one of the countries in this region all in an effort to develop and enhance skills. This, he says, is in addition to the online training that is available for all partners and resellers. “Our certification is available free of charge to all our partners,” he says. “Along with product training, we also provide training on the technical support methodologies and best practices to enhance the quality and response time for our partners’ technical support teams.

 

While Kaspersky Lab has plans to launch hosted security services globally starting with more mature markets, Kuzbari says the company is yet to launch these services in the Middle East region. “We don’t see these services hitting the region market within this year,” he says.

 

Going forward, Kaspersky Lab will put more emphasis on its channel marketing efforts in the Middle East region, with new and innovative ideas for developing a recognisable brand. This, says Kuzbari, will help the company to make significant inroads in the Middle East security market.

 

Security vendor Kaspersky Labs is serious about pushing Trend Micro from the number three spot in market share and has designs to be number one in the endpoint security space by 2014. RWME?s Manda Banda listens to the Russian vendor.

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