Special Feature

Kaspersky: No More a Mere Anti-Virus Company 

Once Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO, Kaspersky once said everyone has the right to be free of cybersecurity fears. Behind this statement lies the innovation mindset of the company to bring new solutions and services so that the company remains more relevant to every type of customers – be it very large or very small.

“APAC market size for cyber security would touch US$9.55 billion in 2024 from US$22.46 billion in 2018.  As per DSCI India’s cyber security market from USD 1.97 billion in 2019 to touch USD 3.05 billion by 2022.”

With large scale digital transformation, cloud computing growth and deployment of IOT devices, security breaches are likely to shoot up. Every coming year, new to newer viruses, worms, ransomwares are taking birth on the technology world. The patterns of attacks are changing so also are the form of the malicious bots, but the objective remains the same – “create havoc and plunder money or steal critical and sensitive information and identity of the strategic leaders. Therefore, the growth in the security market is always on rise so also various solutions and services.

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“Everyone has the right to be free of cybersecurity fears.”

Eugene,
CEO, Kaspersky

 

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Earlier antivirus was good enough but today if you do not have the comprehensive security apparatus around the infrastructure, you are not done. Apart from this, the cyber attacks have been so sophisticated that you never know if your website would not have malicious replica under DDoS attack or your files being encrypted with ransomware or even your naive appearing mails do not bring worms to lie low to do ambushes.

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“The whole idea is to position Kaspersky as a cyber security partner or a solution provider but not just a point solution product company.”

Dipesh Kaura,
General Manager – South Asia,
Kaspersky

 

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A study shows that global cybersecurity market was valued at USD 118.78 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 267.73 billion by 2024. At the same time APAC market size for cyber security would touch US$9.55 billion in 2024 from US$22.46 billion in 2018.  As per DSCI India’s cyber security market from USD 1.97 billion in 2019 to touch USD 3.05 billion by 2022. At the same time India’s cyber security market is expected to grow from USD 1.97 billion in 2019 to USD 3.05 billion by 2022.

In this background, the security solutions vendors are the key components in ushering the customers into the desired safe zone. Their technology, R&D and monitoring capability helps the customers to deter the attacks. They induce the customers to invest in requisite technologies through various marketing activities directly or through their B2B partners.

Once such R&D loaded company is Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company led by Eugene Kaspersky as Global CEO and in South Asia, Dipesh Kaura, General Manager. Kasperksy has won a lot of accolades over the years and one of them was being the Platinum Winner of Customer Choice Award for Endpoint Protection Platforms in 2017.

SME Channels had a candid conversation with Dipesh Kaura on what the perpetrators are thinking about APAC as a region and what could be their modus operandi and how Kaspersky Lab is handling the region of South Asia, which comes under Dipesh’ purview.

Dipesh is of opining, which is of course my opinion too that today we as a region agree to the fact that we can be attacked, and we will be attacked. Attacks can be on various ways and formats – right from something as obvious as Ransomware to nationwide state sponsored attacks or APT, where attackers would prefer remaining low and slow and keep nurturing their accounts of motives. He said, “Two  to three years back when we used to do the conversation around these types of attacks, people were not agreeing to the fact that these kinds of attacks could happen to the South Asia but today when I have a conversation with our clients or partners, I get to hear if we (read Kaspersky) have solutions, which can detect if the attackers are present in the their system in inactive format. So, we have come a long way when people were arguing that they would not be attacked to now the people would assume that the possibility of attacks in their system is really more or even the attacker might lying low in their system.”

So, the industry has changed and India as a region has changed. Coming from the time when cyber-attacks were not openly discussed in the board meetings because of the questions about how come despite having the best of the solutions why the company is being attacked but today the awareness and the maturity of technology has come to a level where we agree that being under cyberattack is equivalent to be under normal medical anomalies of a person.  Dipesh explains, “You might be having the best of the health, but you cannot be immune from common cold or flu. It does not mean that you are unhealthy. You might have been affected by various reasons including bad weather. Similar is the case with Cyberattacks. You might have the best of the security apparatus and protocol, but you cannot guarantee that you can never be attacked.” That is the way the industry has changed. The percentage of attacks have seriously gone up.

Trend of virus:

As per Dipesh, the virus trend in the region would be extension of what we saw in 2019. Obviously, the penetration of the attacks would be deeper. Ransomware has become a very household name in the situation. Everyone knows what a Ransomware is. If you look at the Ransomware vector, it is present in the enterprise level from 2015-16. First it was more targeted towards larger enterprises but as the large organizations became aware and took preventive measures, the perpetrators understood the situation of penetration into the large organizations is more difficult now then they diverted their attention towards the tier-2 organizations, then to mid-size organization, etc. Today, the situation has gone to that extent that the attackers are not focused on discrete verticals or market segments. Organizations of any size and shape can be attacked. It means the attackers would target organizations which are less protected.

The other trend which is emerging is security on the Cloud. Now the large organizations are moving from on- prem to Cloud as there is a change in consumption pattern. It creates a lot of loopholes for the crime mongers to exploit.

With new hardware coming in like IOT, the traditional security architectures are not good enough from their design point of view. This offers an opportunity to the hackers and malicious codes to enter the core.

“Addition to the above, we also see the industrial cyber security landscape is growing. The OT technologies including PLCs, SCADA, DCS, etc. are based on the legacy technologies, where the attackers would like to wreak havoc, which is a matter of concern for the enterprises. We saw this trend to continue to 2020,” Dipesh maintained. “We see a consistent growth in the pattern of attacks. Obviously, we are focusing on the new generation Zero Day attacks coming in various manifestation. Kaspersky has been working with its resources and Labs to monitor these attacks and create anti-dots.”

Sector-specific Immunity

There is no market segment- specific immunity to attacks; not even the BFSI sector, which is known for its rigid security apparatus. Dipesh adds, “If you talk about the BFSI sector in South Asia, today it has been the most attacked vertical for the simple reason that the direct impact is money.” Since BFSI is highly regulated, it forces the sector to comply to certain norms, which primarily creates a pressure to dissuade the attacks. There are a lot of verticals which are not under any compliance, the urgency of adapting to cyber security is different as compared to the BFSI. Even today despite so much protection and maturity that the BFSI sector must go through, they are still being attacked many of which are not publicly reported and discussed.

Strategy of Kaspersky Lab in India

Kaspersky Lab’s finance year is from January to December. Dipesh says, “This is a very interesting phase for the South Asia market as we are going through a lot of changes in industry. India is going through a huge digital transformation. We are very excited and aggressively looking forward to 2020-21. The focus is obviously on large, very large enterprises and government sector.”

“We have a very strong focus on the channel market. We have designed a different channel programme, where we are making a customised channel approach based on the business pattern of the channel that are engaged with us. We are prioritising our investment with channel in terms of training and empowerment from go to market and lead generation point of view. We are not only empowering them from Kaspersky point of view but also around hybrid cloud security, IOT security, OT security, etc., he added”

Kaspersky has a strong direction and focus this year. The company is strongly looking at anti APT technology, sandboxing technology including in on-premise and cloud. Kaspersky’s product portfolio is very large against the common perception that it has only anti-virus whereas it is a small component of the overall product portfolio. Dipesh maintains, “Our conscious effort would be to break the myth about the company that it has only anti-virus products. Other than anti-virus, the company has hybrid- cloud security products, EDR, anti-sandbox products. These products are independent of each other but can be seamlessly integrated with each other as a security coverage for the enterprise customers.”

Other than this the company services including threat intelligence, dark web monitoring, compromised assessments, vulnerability assessments, etc. the company also have a consulting arm which provides consulting service to the end user if he is keen to take the advisory services to create a cyber roadmap.

As per Dipesh India as a market is divided in four regions – North, South, East and West regions. These markets are known for the domination of various market verticals. For example, West is known for its domination of BFSI sector, North is a government driven market, South is an IT & ITeS market and East and Mid part of India are manufacturing driven markets. So, when he approaches the channel partners, he is identifying the partners based on their strength in those regions and verticals. Based on that he is customising the empowerment programmes so that the partners understand the technology better and Kaspersky technology becomes relevant to their business. That is where they would enjoy their business.

Dipesh says, “Largely the way the market has been operating, there are training programme and channel partner programme. Channel partners are either forced into certain training programme but one has ever taken a deep drive to understand whether that training relevant for that partner or not. This is drastically different from what we are doing. So, my channel strategy for India is aligned with the kind of business the channel partner is doing and become more relevant to him.”

“The second step is when I am entering into that type of engagement, I am empowering the channel partners in such a way, so that he can go to the market and take the next generation of technologies and start a conversation around that because there lies the new business potential. This is where the channel partner also becomes more relevant to the end-users,” he emphasized.

This is the clear plan that the Kaspersky is adopting in the region. It has already taken its shape. Dipesh has already taken steps towards executing the strategy and the response has been very good. Dipesh added, “When we discuss about our future product line, they (partners) get excited. All of a sudden everyone wants to speak to us and wants to know what we are doing – be it customers or partners.”

Finally…

The mantra of the company is to go all out for this year in changing the myth that it is only an anti-virus company, which will enable Kaspersky to remain relevant to the enterprise market.

Dipesh concludes, “The whole idea is to position Kaspersky as a cyber security partner or a solution provider but not just a point solution product company. That is the core GTM, which we would carry and that is the language we and our partners would like to speak for the next one to two years.”

 

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