ESET Remains ‘Fully Committed’ To On-Prem Security Deployments: Executive

The cybersecurity firm won’t be following other endpoint security vendors in shifting to a cloud-first or cloud-only model, given that an on-prem option continues to be ‘extremely important’ for many partners, ESET North America’s VP of sales tells CRN.


Ryan Grant, VP of sales at ESET North America

At Dallas-based ASI Security Partners, the continued support for an on-premises endpoint security option by ESET is “very valuable” to the solution provider as it works to meet customer needs, according to ASI Managing Partner Blake Smith.

While many ASI clients have at least moved to cloud-based Microsoft 365 deployments for email, for numerous customers “there’s still some hesitation about moving security to the cloud,” Smith said. He estimated that 25 percent of the firm’s clients still prefer on-prem. “They just haven’t made that leap to migrate to the cloud yet” for security, Smith said.

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Unlike some cybersecurity vendors, ESET won’t be shifting its endpoint protection product to a cloud-first or cloud-only model any time soon — given the ongoing importance of on-prem deployment options to many partners and customers, according to Ryan Grant, vice president of sales at ESET North America.

“We’ve got a number of customers that are continuing to have stacks that remain on-prem, and we’ll continue to focus on that,” Grant told CRN.

While acknowledging that a “big push over the cloud” is well underway in security, “we’re fully committed to on-prem,” he said.

The ESET Protect endpoint security platform — which offers threat prevention, detection and response capabilities — can be managed either from an on‑premises console or from the cloud, according to ESET.

A ‘Rare’ Offering

In its Magic Quadrant report on Endpoint Protection Platforms for 2022, released in December, Gartner analysts Peter Firstbrook and Chris Silva shared survey results showing that 82 percent of the platforms are currently cloud-delivered. “Providers that can accommodate on-premises hosting are now rare,” the Gartner analysts wrote.

The report notes that while ESET’s endpoint protection platform has a deployment option that supports air-gapped systems, a number of other vendors do not offer this capability, or are in the midst of phasing it out. Fortinet, for instance, is planning to retire support for air-gapped environments, meaning that on-prem deployments will need to be connected via the internet to the vendor’s FortiEDR management platform, the analysts said.

As for other top endpoint security vendors, the Gartner analysts pointed out that CrowdStrike doesn’t support air-gapped on-prem environments; Sophos doesn’t offer options for on-prem and private cloud deployment; Microsoft’s Defender for Endpoint doesn’t come with an option for on-premises hosting, or for effective management of systems that aren’t internet-connected; and the Palo Alto Networks Cortex XDR platform doesn’t offer an on-prem version or self-hosted version.

Without a doubt, “we’re seeing some of our peers starting to exit the on-prem market,” ESET’s Grant said. Increasingly, other players in the endpoint security space are saying, “‘We’re cloud-only, we’re leading with cloud,’” he said.

‘Big Investment’

Product support, deployment and upgrades for endpoint protection are certainly “a lot easier from a cloud perspective,” he said. “It’s a little bit harder, from a support standpoint, to do that for on-prem.”

ESET, however, has “made a pretty big investment in our support team” to continue enabling on-prem deployment, Grant said, given the fact that this option is “extremely important for the partners.”

For ASI Security Partners, this commitment to on-prem is a compelling reason for customers to choose and stick with ESET, Smith said.

“It gives our clients a little more flexibility. It doesn’t put them on such a hard timeline to migrate to the cloud,” he said, noting that IT and security teams perpetually have too much to do.

When it comes to the migration to the cloud for security over time, “I don’t know how long it’ll be until it gets to 100 percent, if it ever does,” Smith said. Ultimately, in terms of keeping endpoint security tools on-prem, “there’s definitely still a high demand we’re seeing from a percentage of our install base.”