NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The major news
out of Kaspersky Lab’s North American partner conference this week was the
long-awaited launch of its managed service provider program, but the security
vendor also introduced its new North American channel chief and provided an
update on emerging security threats.
Update on the health of the business
Kaspersky Lab’s North American president, Steve
Orenberg, told partners that business continues to be strong and Kaspersky
remains ahead of its partners in annual growth.
Quoting numbers from Gartner, in North America on
the B2B side Kaspersky grew at 28 per cent, compared to an overall market
decline of nine per cent. On the B2C side, Kaspersky grew at 25 per cent.
Orenberg also introduced three new members of
Kaspersky’s North American leadership team,
many of them with solid channel pedigrees. Jean Lozano, a former head of field
and channel marketing for Trend Micro, has joined Kaspersky as vice-president
of B2B marketing. Chris Doggett, who helped build the channel organization for
Sophos, is now vice-president of channel sales. And Chris Gaebler, formerly of
Accenture and Sony, is now vice-president of B2C marketing with responsibility
for driving the customer experience.
As a private company Kaspersky doesn’t publicly
release earnings statements, but Kaspersky CFO David Eggers took the stage to
provide some global insights on the health of Kaspersky’s business. He reported
the vendor grew at 15 per cent worldwide in B2B in 2011 and 14 per cent in B2C,
with Kaspersky putting much of its effort and investment in growing its
Looking ahead, Eggers said their target for 2012 is
to be a $750 million company, which would mean growth of 16 per cent. And with
the Sochi Olympics happening in Kaspersky’s home country of Russia in 2014, that’s
their target for becoming a $1 billion company.
On the brand awareness front, no numbers for Canada
were given but it’s probably close to the 50 per cent figure quoted for the
U.S. Kaspersky has 86 per cent awareness in China and 98 per cent in Russia.
Surveying the threat landscape
Hacktavism and country-based malware is the rising
threat in IT security said Costin Raiu, head of the global research and analysis
team with Kaspersky Lab. We’ve moved from kids in their basements hacking for
fun, to criminal gangs hacking for money, now to state-sponsored hackers
motivated by nationalism.
He pointed to the Stuxnet worm, which it was
believed was created by Israel to target Iran’s nuclear program.
Counter-attacks have also been traced to Iran, and he said the attack on RSA’s
security platform was really about getting access to Lockheed-Martin’s servers
to get the plans for the F-35 stealth fighter, with alleged links to China.
While all three attacks had specific goals, their impact was much wider.
“A cyber cold war is coming,” said Raiu. “You’ll
all be caught in the middle, and you don’t want that to happen.”
Chris Christiansen from IDC likened it to the old
privateer model of state-sponsored pirates with a “letter of mark” from the
crown authorizing them to pillage enemy shipping. It’s a good analogy, even though
a Canadian would have added in a Barrett’s Privateers reference.
Until they end up as broken men on a Halifax peer,
hacktavism will be a threat companies are going to have to deal with.
Growing Android vulnerabilities and new attacks
targeting Macs also drew mention.
Meet Kasperky’s new North American channel
As mentioned earlier, Chris Doggett has joined
Kaspersky to lead the channel in North America. And a partner conference in the
Bahamas is a nice way to ease into the role. He told CDN he’s
been busy though, and said changes to the program will be coming.
“We have a strong base of loyal partners and a
pretty straight-forward program that’s a good one to build off of,” said
Doggett. “As a private company we can move quickly and be agile, and we have
the luxury and flexibility to try some ground-breaking things with specific
segments of our partner community. I do anticipate introducing some new
concepts and business models within the channel program that haven’t been tried
While he was coy on the details, Doggett, hinted
geographic breadth and depth would be focuses for him, recognizing that not
every partner has the same business model. Some are small IT service providers
that function as the IT shop for their SMB clients, while others are national
product resellers. Then there’s service organizations and partners with narrow
vertical market focuses.
“Instead of having partners specialize on us
within our matrix, we have to look at things through the other end of the
telescope and go to market based on their business model,” said Doggett.