The main reason, explains Gareth Williams, VP Emerging Markets, is the importance of solution selling, rather than just relying on customer downloads, plus greater visibility against its competitors like Symantec. “Our sweet spot for anti-virus is the SMB sector, up to 500 seats,” Williams believes.
AVG is, in many ways, the invisible giant of the anti-virus market. It claims that over 6% of global Net users have its free single user product, but the challenge is to repeat that success rate for business users. “However, the more users of any type we have, the stronger our threat database becomes,” says Williams.
At present, AVG has 30 channel partners in the GCC, Egypt and Levant, although that number will be increasing. Williams is enthusiastic about spreading the security message generally: “The spend on security by user in the GCC is only 23 cents, according to Gartner. Compare that to the US figure of $10.66!” Clearly the region has a long way to go – Gartner speaks of a 15% increase in spend per annum, for example.
The danger is certainly there. The AVG Labs currently spot up to 30,000 new pieces of malware every day, with up to 500 capable of doing damage. “It takes about 10 days to write the code to update an anti-virus program, so we work on prevention – a behavioural approach that looks at what malware does rather than what it is.” AVG also estimates that 200-300,000 Web sites are infected every day, with perhaps half of them only on-line for 24 hours.
“Anecdotally, we’re seeing the biggest growth area in temporary phishing sites, such as bogus recruitment sites, as as well as activity targetting kids on social networking sites. If the bad guys get the information now, then they’re building their customer base for the future!”
After 15 years of a business model based largely on driving customers to its Web site, AVG Technologies is now creating a physical presence in the region, with a local area manager supporting its chain of channel partners across the region.