Kaspersky Lab Set To Launch Federal Subsidiary To Go After U.S. Goverment IT Security Contracts

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Russian antivirus giant Kaspersky Lab is preparing to launch a new company that will compete for lucrative cybersecurity contracts with U.S. government agencies.

The newly created company, Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc., is staffed with several former senior level systems engineers from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a McLean, Va.-based IT engineering and government services contractor,.

Located in the Washington D.C. region, the new firm is a separate entity with different products and services than its North American commercial arm, which is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts. 

Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky announced last year his plans to open a Washington D.C. area office as a test to enter the federal market.

Kasepersky Lab hired Adam Firestone, a veteran systems engineer, to oversee the Kaspersky Lab federal operations. He is serving as senior vice president and general manager out of its Washington, D.C. office.

Firestone spent 17 years at SAIC and also served briefly at WSO2 Inc., where he spearheaded the launch of the middleware platform maker's Federal Systems subsidiary as its director of defense and government solutions, according to his LinkedIn profile.

[Related: Kaspersky Lab Partners Keeping Eye On Deteriorating U.S.-Russia Relations]

In an interview with CRN, Chris Doggett, managing director of Kaspersky Lab North America said the federal arm reports through the company's North America unit, but structurally, it will be operated as an autonomous subsidiary.

Current partners under the North America channel program will not see any changes, Doggett said, adding that the new company may work with specialized public-sector contractors and consultants that specialize in providing federal government work. 

"For various reasons we need to have clear compartmentalization of that company so there is no overlap with this company, whether it is budgetary, corporate legal structure, leadership people. It all has to be separate," Doggett told CRN. "This is a different type of business, much more specialized for the federal government space with different services and partners as well."

In addition to Firestone, the newly created Kaspersky Lab federal unit has two other SAIC veterans. Linda Merchlinsky, as vice president of government sector systems engineering, is also a veteran systems engineer and project manager. According to her LinkedIn profile, she spent 20 years at SAIC where she worked on projects for the federal government. Her most recent work was with Digital Infusion, a Gathersburg, Md.-based firm that specializes in big data analytics for the biotechnology industry.

Hilary MacMillan will serve as vice president and cybersecurity intelligence operations. She spent more than a decade at SAIC as a systems engineer working on a number of projects, including developing event simulation for the U.S. Navy.

Kaspersky Lab entered the U.S. commercial market in 2005 and gradually increased its presence with offerings aimed at small and midsize businesses. Analysts say the company has made gains against Intel Security (formerly McAfee) Symantec and Trend Micro in the endpoint protection market. 

Eugene Kaspersky has been publicly shifting his company's attention onto critical infrastructure protection and the security of supervisory control and data acquisition systems, specialized platforms that monitor critical processes. The North American arm established a new sales team last year to capture larger enterprise deals.

In 2012, Kaspersky acknowledged an internal project to develop a secure, restricted operating system for the industrial control systems in power plants, chemical refineries and other highly sensitive facilities.

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