Kaspersky CEO out to get cyber criminals

Moscow – Cyber crime is easy to get into and lucrative. Law enforcement, despite good intensions, are not capable of battling cyber crime on a global or local scale. Those were just two of the main messages Eugene Kaspersky told CDN, in an exclusive interview, held here.

Kaspersky Labs believes that protecting businesses from viruses, malware and hackers will get tougher in the next five years.

He has even gone to Interpol to encourage them to start an independent unit that could police cyber crime on a global scale. The privately held company is one of the leading security vendors in Russia and Asia markets. Kaspersky established a Canadian presence just a few years ago. It hired channel veteran Kevin Krempulec to run the business in Canada.

His approach to growing marketshare in Canada and in the U.S. is to take baby steps. He is fully aware that Symantec and McAfee are leaders in the market place. But, Kaspersky‘s strategy is to work exclusively with channel partners to grow the business.

In a wide ranging interview, Kaspersky discusses his company‘s chances against established security vendors, his Canadian plans and his goals to reduce digital data pollution.

The following is an edited transcript.

CDN Now: Kaspersky is not as well known as Symantec and McAfee in North American market, what are your plans to change that perception for your company in Canada?

Eugene Kaspersky: We are not so known because of historical reasons. We are an independent Russian company and we started in 1997. At that time we did not have investors so we are private company and based our development solely on revenues. We did it step-by-step first in Europe then U.S. and then in Asia. It’s just a matter of time before we are a big name. In Europe where was started a decade ago and now we are one of more well-known brands there in IT security. What we are going to do is build a team of high-end security experts. We have a special education system that educates students on IT security. We are making security gurus. We also hired actor Jackie Chan to do ads for us. We have not shown it yet in U.S. and in Canada it is just a viral video on the Internet now. There will be more and I think in a short period of time we’ll be known in North America.

CDN Now: Is running and developing security technology in Russia, where hackers and malware runs wild, does it give you an advantage in the North American market place?

E.K.: To be in this country which is a source of cyber crime it is not an advantage at all because the Internet does not have borders. Everyone is connected you just need an IP address. It does not really matter if you are in Russia, Canada or China. The positive thing about being in Russia is our technical education systems here in Moscow and in other cities in the country. We have a lot of brilliant software engineers. Russia is well-known for that. Our R&D is based here and we are not going to move it. We are going to add more people to that team.

CDN Now: You are campaigning for a pollution free digital future. What is that and what are your goals for this effort?

E.K.: We want to explain what is going on in the Internet. There are many individuals and small businesses that are sceptical about cyber crime and protection and they think they will not be a victim. But we know what is going on and cyber crime is developing fast and there are many criminals entering this area. We are just warning people and the world. Things are going from bad to worse and if you don’t recognize it; it becomes a pollution. You don’t feel the smell but it’s here and if you wait until tomorrow it will be to late.

CDN Now: The channel in Canada currently positions you as an alternative to Symantec or McAfee do you think that is the right approach for the Canadian market?

E.K.: We’d like them to position us as an 100 per cent indirect company, experts in IT security, as company that delivers to customers high-end products and services and that we are knowledgeable. Based on this we’ll have a chance to be one of the best anti-virus companies in the channel. It’s not just anti-virus, but security is too wide. It is really anti-everything. That is what I call it. We are going to be a visible player in this market.

CDN Now: Where is your channel business right now in Canada?

E.K.: We just started and compared to Europe and the United States it’s not too visible. I am quite optimistic. We came to Canada to stay forever and we are successful all over the world. In U.S., Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia we are a company that wants to be a winner.

CDN Now: Do you have a different approach or strategy towards the Canadian market as opposed to the U.S., market?

E.K.: All the countries are different and there are even some countries that have regions that are different. Canada market and U.S. market are different. I learned that Canada has English and French packaging. That is just one difference. We have a challenge. We are a Russian company. American companies their most important market is the domestic market and they look at other countries and look at it as one more state. For us our domestic market is small compared to others. From the very beginning we understood that we had to be local. We have to understand local markets and to behave in a certain way that is close to the local realities.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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