Kaspersky Partner Conference: New Technologies Power Enterprise Expansion

"The financial crisis will stimulate cyber criminals," said Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky to an audience of 130 channel partners attending the 2009 Kaspersky Lab Partner Conference, held in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Feb. 5-8. "There will be more cyber criminals because of the recession. There will be more jobless software engineers everywhere."

During a "fireside chat" with Peter Firstbrook, an analyst for Gartner, Kaspersky said that the company is in a position to tackle an onslaught of security threats expected to take hold in 2009 with a wide array of security experts and researchers recruited from the large talent pool of Russian-based software engineers.

"The problem is there are brilliant minds in the company that bring new ideas," Kaspersky said. "Then we collect more people and these new people, they also generate new ideas. It's an endless process."

And Kaspersky executives say that the company is also primed to forge ahead on its journey into the enterprise space as it focuses on key markets and products. Kaspersky Lab is currently in fourth place behind Trend Micro, with 4 percent of the global security market share. Meanwhile, sales bookings for 2008 totaled 360 million, with a quarterly year-over-year growth of 78 percent. And while the Americas comprises about 17 percent of the company's business, Kaspersky executives say that they will likely see that statistic double in the next two years.

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Kaspersky Lab's consumer business has helped drive the majority of the company's growth, due, in part, to its antivirus solution that ranked second in terms of annual sales behind Symantec's Norton.

However, Kaspersky executives said that the consumer growth will likely slow as the company directs resources into new technologies aimed at larger market segments. Some of the planned areas of focus include new antimalware technologies, white listing, application control, the expansion of the Kaspersky Security Network, automatic detection and virtualization, among others, as the company makes new inroads into upper midtier and enterprise markets over the next two to five years.

"We think it's a good moment to expand our investment into new technologies and product portfolio diversification," said Eugene Buyakin, Kaspersky COO. "Now the only goal we set for ourselves is to become a leader in all the markets for the world. That's the goal that really is achievable."

However, while Kaspersky Lab will redirect its energies and resources toward expanding its enterprise technologies, the company also will look for ways to better reach its core SMB market segments with scalable and sophisticated products, execs said. Among the many things that SMBs require are comprehensive application protection and reporting and management capabilities at an affordable price, execs said.

"[SMBs] have to worry about protecting that data on the devices as they move around. They can't afford to get another virus," said Gary Mullen, Kaspersky director of field marketing. "These are the things that cause IT departments to stay up at night."

As a result, Kaspersky is launching its new comprehensive security and support tool, Kaspersky 8.0 For Business, which will include a greatly enhanced antivirus engine, vulnerability scanner, new heuristic analyzer and policy enforcement manager, execs announced to channel partners during the four-day conference.

The new Kaspersky Version 8.0, which focuses on Web 2.0 protection with a combination of both heuristics and signature-based technologies, touts 600 percent improvement in scanning speed as well as easier deployment and installation. It also has an improved intuitive interface, incorporates advanced Web and user policy enforcement capabilities, strong reporting tools and a powerful GUI that allows administrators to manage all of the security capabilities.

"The fact is that signatures have evolved considerably, and this really prompted us to build this new antivirus engine," said Peter Beardmore, senior product marketing manager for Kaspersky Lab. "It runs a whole lot faster than our previous engine."