Kaspersky ventures deeper into the enterprise

New York –Kaspersky Lab extended its focus more deeply into the enterprise space with the global launch of its two newest security products, Endpoint Security 8 For Windows and Kaspersky Security Center.

Both products target the small and mid-level enterprise market, in line with the Russian company’s push further into the business market, a significant shift for a firm that is the top selling security vendor in Europe.

“We’re not going to move away from the consumer market. We’re just providing better ideas for mid-level enterprise and SMB customers,” chairman and CEO Eugene Kaspersky told CDN in an interview at the official launch event Thursday.In 2010 consumer sales made up 68 per cent of Kaspersky’s overall revenue, up 44 per cent from 2009. Corporate sales accounted for 28 per cent of the company’s overall revenue last year, up by 38 per cent from 2009.

“We’re known as a consumer (solution provider) in certain parts of the world, but now we’re presenting new B2B products. We have plans to be a more serious and visible player in the enterprise space,” Kaspersky said. “It’s much easier to develop the brand within the consumer segment and then extend it to enterprise.”

Both of the new products, available globally starting Oct. 11, are integrated with the cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network to provide real-time, constantly updated threat identification and management. They are designed to combat increased threat risks due to the proliferation of mobile devices, the consumerization of IT (including the BYOD trend), cloud computing and virtualization, said Petr Merkulov, chief product officer at Kaspersky.Endpoint Security for Windows 8 can restrict the use of suspicious applications and set up a blacklist of those apps for future blocking. The product also provides whitelisting of valid, secure applications that don’t pose a risk to systems, with the company claiming its whitelist database covers 94 per cent of all corporate software in the world. In addition, users can build their own device controls to allow network access privileges depending on the type of device, connectivity, the user’s identity and even the time of day.Kaspersky says there is no training required to use the system, which ranked first place overall in recent endpoint security product testing by AV Test.

Although Kaspersky’s customer base has traditionally been more retail heavy, the company has been building its B2B business in North America for six years now, said Gary Abad, Kaspersky’s vice-president of channel sales.

As for what the new enterprise products can do for Kaspersky’s channel partners, Abad said the latest line offers “a more complete solution” to help customers control application and device security, which would probably be “extremely costly” to purchase on a stand alone basis.

Kaspersky will keep the channel for its newest enterprise product line fairly focused, Abad added.

“We don’t look to be over distributed. I don’t want 10,000 resellers (for this B2B product line),” he said.

The event included a panel discussion on global cybercrime, which started out as an insidious hobby for teens and is now a multi-billion dollar industry perpetrated by highly organized, sophisticated criminals, said panellist Gary McGraw, CTO of Cigital.

“I call it C2C — criminal to criminal,” Kaspersky added. “It’s a huge, organized world with a lot of money and (it’s) very profitable.” Gartner Research figures presented at the event estimated that four to eight per cent of corporate PCs are compromised at any given time, with 135 pieces of malware interacting with a typical browser every month. Malware alone costs the global economy over $100 billion a year, Kaspersky told the audience.

Kaspersky himself made an onstage plea for federal governments to more closely regulate the IT security of nationwide assets like their transportation networks and electricity grids. He called for greater international cooperation on fighting cybercrime among governments, advocating the formation of a global police force like Interpol but solely focused on Internet security. Since the Internet knows no borders, he said, efforts to fight its hackers must be truly global and modelled after traditional military forces.

Kaspersky said he foresees potential cyberwars pitting nation against nation one day. He also proposed the creation of a system to give every citizen an Internet ID, like a passport for online access. The normally jovial Kaspersky began his presentation on a sad note by addressing the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who lost his long battle with cancer the day before the event.

We’re not designed to live forever but Steve Jobs was a man who changed the world forever,” Kaspersky said, predicting that Jobs’s name would go down in history with the likes of Edison and Ford.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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