Kaspersky Labs is nominated for two V3 Technology Awards this year, one of which the company won last year and will no doubt hope to defend.
Ahead of the event V3 caught up with Russ Madley (pictured), head of business-to-business for Kaspersky Lab, to hear about the firm's busy year and what plans it has for 2017 as it looks to keep pace with customer requirements in such a crucial area.
V3: How does it feel to be nominated at the V3 Technology Awards?
We’ve been concentrating on the enterprise sector for a long time so to be recognised on the shortlist is fantastic, in both the Best Enterprise Security Product category and the Best Business Security Provider, which we won last year, so it’s great to be shortlisted for that again.
It’s also really nice to see our tech partners shortlisted too, like VMware and Nutanix, which are creating a big wave in their industries.
What have been some of the biggest highlights of Kaspersky’s year?
Where do we start? Some of the highlights include our focus on the enterprise, as we are heavily involved in that space and there have been a couple of major product launches there.
One was our Kaspersky AntiTargeted Attack Platform, which really marks an evolution from what we were doing on the endpoint to the wider gateway so we can protect businesses from advanced persistent threats and the advanced malware that is out there.
The Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity tool is another big area for us because we’ve been talking to a lot of customers that we’ve had for a number of years, in areas like utilities, and oil and gas, where they have these industrial control systems and they have been spending a lot of money making sure corporate networks are up to date, using encryption or malware protection etc. But on the industrial, the SCADA side, it has not been so much of a focus and now it’s vital.
Indeed, one of Eugene’s [Kaspersky's] mantras is about saving the world, which is about the next big threats on the industrial side. If you try to take out power plants and water plants of a nation that’s a massive area and from a national critical infrastructure perspective we need to make sure we are protecting that as well.
We have also been involved with the No More Ransom project, in conjunction with the Dutch police and others such as Intel, and that has helped provide the public with the tools to decrypt ransomware. For a lot of people that has been a godsend, so it’s nice to give something back like that.
Finally we are seeing some big customer wins. So we’ve got a big global oil company, one of the largest telecoms companies and healthcare is growing a lot as we are seeing a big increase in people targeting that sector.
Overall, from a business-to-business perspective, we have a 94 per cent rate of customer retention, which is phenomenal and an endorsement of everything we offer.
What are some of the big challenges facing your customers that you are focusing on?
Ransomware is the single biggest thing we have seen with regards the threats out there. It’s very worrying that it has become its own business essentially. There are people out there signing up in the criminal industry effectively as channel partners to distribute ransomware.
It makes a lot of money now and that’s a big difference. When I started in the industry in around 2000 it was all about people defacing websites, script kiddies and so on, but now it’s about making money and that means the threats are a lot more sophisticated.
So we have to make sure we focus on protecting our customers, whether businesses or consumers, and that is why we put a lot of money into research and development because we have to stay ahead of the threats out there.
Compliance is another area where there are lots of drivers for business, particularly around things like GDPR. So we are seeing a lot of people talking about that from a customer perspective, from the various ways of protecting data to the ability for organisations to know what they need to do around their data, the processes and procedures and technology they need to avoid being one of those first firms to be fined under the EU for not having the right controls in place, so that is a big area now.
What are some of the main areas of focus you expect to see in 2017?
We are seeing more attacks on companies, rather than individuals, as witnessed by the recent Tesco Bank scenario. This is something that a lot of other organisations are now aware of as criminals try to steal consumer data or even money.
This means we are talking to a lot of big banks, because people are interacting with their bank through digital channels more than ever before. So we are having to consider that and talk with banks about how they could spot fraudulent transactions or determine if a customer has malware on their device when they are trying to log in.
We are also looking at focusing on specific sectors that have different issues, so we are in the process of launching an offering for financial services and looking at healthcare because it’s critical that devices in hospitals are protected so they cannot be tampered with.
Transport is another area we will be looking to help because, with connected cars set to become more commonplace, there is a huge potential risk there. As the world changes we need to be ready.
Overall we’ll be very busy from a R&D perspective so that we can be sure we are protecting business and consumers. It’s a lot of work but it’s vital work and we are seeing lots of people wanting to join us because it’s such an exciting industry to work in.
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