Asian eMarketing was honoured to get a one-to-one interview recently with Eugene Kaspersky, the founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, well-known in the industry for his hands-on approach to his business.

He’s spent countless hours writing and designing the company’s software himself and even now with a team of top-notch researchers and software developers with him, he still is very involved in Kaspersky Lab’s software development process thereby ensuring the technological direction of the company is closely in line with its partners and customers needs.

Besides winning international recognition and many accolades, under his visionary leadership, the company has grown to become the world’s largest privately held anti-malware company. At present, the company ranks among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users. It is steadily gaining market share all around the world and is also gaining ground on the enterprise side.

Kaspersky Lab is into its second year of having a direct presence in Asia and already, has made an indelible mark on many countries in the region such as Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The sky is the limit here for the company and its founder is very confident that they will continue to replicate their success in other countries in the region and continue to grow profitably here. “We expect for example, to be No. 1 in India by 2012, and this will be no mean feat as it’s not an easy market to conquer,” Mr Kaspersky says.

So what is Eugene Kaspersky’s secret to success here? He says that is all boils down to focusing on things the company is doing extremely well in the IT security arena such as encryption, and never straying from Internet and mobile security. Another thing, the company is 100% committed to its channel and will keep building and working on their partner network here. “It’s not going to be about increasing our partner network here though, but more about making it stronger. We are taking this to the next level as our business moves to different stages in this region.

We want to build a partner ecosystem that is family-like, so when it comes to working with us, it’s not just on a business level but as friends,” he states. The company’s partner program is built to drive leads and sales opportunities, provide financing options, and share in-depth training, competitive comparisons, and other resources to help win deals and provide strong post-sale support to the end-user.  “Partners are the key to our success and we are constantly striving to provide them with the tools they need to be successful, including constant improvements to our technology to ensure our customers are kept safe online,” he emphasizes. Communication and close contact with partners are also important to Kaspersky. For example, partners here can look forward to the company’s 2nd Asian Partner Conference in May, which will be held in Phuket.

The company’s email security suite draws from a number of the company's core technological competencies, including core scanning from its award-winning antivirus engine, and anti-spam technology. As part of the Kaspersky Open Space Security suite, the company's email security applications work in tandem with other Kaspersky Lab security modules -- including protection for Internet Gateways, Workstations, Servers and Mobile Devices -- which can be managed from a centralized administrator console.

With cybercrime now recognized as organized crime and showing no signs of abating, instead increasing rapidly in terms of sophistication and with new vectors of attacks plus the evolution of old vectors of attacks, it’s no wonder then that the company is focusing on keeping the digital environment clean, both for the business environment as well as for the home user. "The amount of unsolicited email alone accounts for around 90 percent of the total volume sent, and this digital pollution brings with it an abundance of malicious software. Nowadays it is also possible to catch a Trojan simply by surfing the web.

This can then spy out passwords and bank details, or turn your PC into what's known as a botnet,” states Mr. Kaspersky. In fact, according to him, botnets are going to continue to rise and terrorize the Internet security landscape, with even patriot and terrorist attacks possible this way if governments are not vigilant, he says. “Botnets can disconnect any country from the Internet, so they really are very dangerous. It’s why there is so much emphasis on taking down botnet networks. However, as fast as one is taken down, another network springs up, simply because it’s very lucrative business for cybercriminals.” This is one of the main reasons why he doesn’t see a solution yet for the botnet problem.

He also adds that email spam will not be disappearing any time soon simply because users are still clicking on them. Spam nowadays is going hand-in-hand with social engineering, he observes, because it’s all about gaining users’ trust. “Email communication is part and parcel of everyday life now and its darker side, such as email spam and phishing emails, will continue and will also evolve as time passes,” Mr. Kaspersky says. In addition, he expects mobile spam to carry on growing and becoming a greater menace. He admits though that many users still don’t see the problem here and are very dismissive of it simply because it’s not yet extremely visible. “There’s a lack of knowledge here amongst mobile users."

They need to know the right way of protection against mobile spam and viruses and digital policies here are crucial. Anti-spam for mobile providers is extremely vital and shouldn’t be sniffed at,” he stresses.  “It’s also important to note that operating systems be they on smartphones or computer systems can never be completely secure. At the end of the day though, spam is only one piece of the cybercriminals arsenal. Viruses and malware will spread through new vectors like file-sharing networks for example. ”

With cybercriminal activity getting more rampant and sophisticated, its little wonder then that Kaspersky Lab is very focused on technologies in this arena and is picking the brains of experts and top researchers here. No surprises then that we can expect more product launches from Kaspersky Lab this year, for example, a hosted service (though Mr. Kaspersky is quick to stress that this is not the first time the company is moving into the cloud – they already have a cloud solution on the consumer side). So, don’t expect the company’s activity in the region and in the online/mobile world to diminish at all. Kaspersky Lab is definitely one company we can always expect more of the good stuff from.

By Shanti Anne Morais