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Kaspersky looks to secure the Canadian enterprise

With a new facility in Markham, the Russian security vendor is looking for Canadian partners to help it conquer the enterprise market

Canadian resellers have a new weapon in their arsenals in the never-ending war against malware with the opening of Kaspersky Lab’s Markham, Ont. office.

Kaspersky, already a strong presence in the retail market, is expanding its scope in this country to encompass the enterprise market as well. And, said COO Evgeny Buyakin during the company’s annual press tour in Moscow, “It’s not our business to directly serve customers. Our role is to build tools and infrastructure for our partners.”

Kevin Krempulec, newly hired as vice-president of sales for Canada, says he is beginning to hire a team and connect with partners. “We have a solid base of partners selling into the Canadian market,” he said. “We plan to build off that base.” The Markham office is only the beginning – the company is also looking at establishing a presence in other cities such as Vancouver and Montreal.

“Canada has been very good to us in the consumer market,” said Steve Orenberg, managing director, Kaspersky Lab Americas. “Now we plan to replicate in Canada what we have in the U.S. (in the enterprise market). We’re setting up the infrastructure now, and then we’ll do a public launch.” Partner events will follow in the spring.

The company’s strategy was to build its brand in the consumer market, Buyakin said, noting that having the best technology is necessary, but not sufficient; it has to create a reputation for itself as an expert in security. Consumers would then carry that perception into their businesses and include Kaspersky products when shopping for corporate solutions.

Kaspersky’s products have always appealed to a tech-savvy audience, he added, and although the corporate decision-making process is different from that in the consumer world, IT guys still play a key role. However, he pointed out, the corporate world is more about solutions and channel than brand, and about service, not technology. “Business customers buy a roadmap, not the current solution,” he said.

“The cost of maintenance is higher than the cost of licenses,” Buyakin added, and there are currently no good technical solutions to help small resellers serve their customers. Kaspersky, he promised, will create more tools and provide training and expertise to allow small resellers with qualified engineers provide protection to their customers. For example, at the end of the first quarter of this year, it will release version eight of its admin kit, a policy-based management tool, with additional reporting, an improved administrator interface and scalability that stretches from the midmarket up.

According to Krempulec, target resellers run the gamut from smaller VARs and system builders catering to companies with under one hundred employees through to corporate resellers and LARs working with companies of all sizes.

Early in 2009, Kaspersky plans to launch an update of its Green Team partner program with new reseller benefits.

Customer support will not be part of the Canadian operation, however, since the company already has an established call centre in Boston, with French language capabilities, that can handle Canadian needs.

“The border of the company is not the legal entity of Kaspersky,” Buyakin said. “Partners are really part of the company.”