Businesses globally are being compromised by an onslaught of targeted and advanced cyber-attacks. Global cyber security vendor, F-Secure that has been driving innovations in cyber security and shielded enterprises and consumers against everything from advanced cyber-attacks and data breaches to widespread ransomware infections. The company sees a huge opportunity in the emerging APJ market including India. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Samu Konttinen, President and CEO of F-Secureexplains the company’s growth in the APJ and Indian market and its plans in the months ahead.
CXOToday: Could you throw some light on how F Secure has grown in the India market in recent years?
Samu Konttinen: As a company we have now become extremely India focused in the recent years as we see great potential in this market. Also, unlike before, when we focused only on consumer endpoint security, which was a really fast growing market some 4-5 years ago, we have now spread our wings to enterprise level security, where we again see India as a strategic market. We have worked with many telecom operators worldwide and in India, we worked with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone that are providing F Secure products to their customers. Likewise we have partnered with businesses from different verticals such as banking, retail, e-commerce, government and telecom that are pushing B2B enterprise centric business and the partner led businesses in the country. For example, we have lots of projects with government entities and the municipalities. Despite a steady growth in the country, I believe we are on a beginning stage in India. There’s a lot more to so and I am very excited about it. India is one of our fastest growing markets, we have great people and great team and great partners and hence there’s a lot of expectations as well.
CXOToday: There have been a number of big attacks in the cyber space during 2017 including WannaCry and Petya, leaving CISOs in a fix. What advice you would like to give them to avoid such scenarios.
Samu Konttinen: To begin with, security professionals should learn that Cyber security is an on-going process that’s more critical than ever before. Investing in a good security partner is very important. It is interesting to note that none of F Secure customers were infected by WannaCry, Petya and other recent attacks, as our protection really worked. While it was sad that such a wide spread infection happened, it was also a fine moment for F Secure that we got to kind of validate our protection capabilities are best in class. One obvious reason is that we started to invest in automation, behavioural detection, machine learning and artificial intelligence into our protocol several years ago and it paid off. Nonetheless, no company is safe, so I think this is one of the biggest reality and learning for all of us.
CXOToday: In what cyber security areas you think enterprises should focus in 2018 and beyond?
Samu Konttinen: There are companies, I would say that have sufficient protection products to prevent, the end protection products or next generation firewalls but still most companies are still lagging in protection. At the same time, cyber attackers, who are very clever and competent, use advance techniques in their attacking capabilities, so the police cannot afford the detection capabilities whatever companies need to be looking at. Cyber security is a culture, an ability to continuously protect the company from threats and alert beforehand if there is a threat possibility. Hence it is more than having an antivirus product that provides a sufficient network. F-Secure not only provides security solutions on the personal and enterprise level, but has gone into cyber security forensics, threat assessment, and consultation. These are areas companies should learn to invest.
CXOToday: Could you please tell us about some of your work in the area of internet of things [IoT] security – an area where many security vendors have ventured.
Samu Konttinen: The increasing number of potential targets due to growth of cloud services and the Internet of Things (IoT) also increases risks. As the Mirai botnet showed, it’s not just your computers you have to worry about getting hacked, but every single internet-connected device, from cameras to baby monitors and your washing machine.
Last year, -Secure has launched SENSE, a combination of router and software designed to protect your home and every device in it from hackers and the product has been well received.
Despite that it is a wild area for most vendors as they are not adequately equipped to protect connected devices. Moreover, inadequate regulations regarding its use and lack of awareness are ruining the possibilities. Consumers need to be made aware of the risks and security features of their existing IoT devices by their governments. We have begun to work in this area and there’s a lot of exciting possibilities ahead.
CXOToday: Recently, there has been a change in the leadership role in India, with Amit Nath moving to a global role. What are your thoughts on India leadership since this is a strategic market? Also what are your plans for the India market in the months ahead?
Samu Konttinen: Amit has done a really good job in India. He has been an influencer, an extremely sincere guy, we have been watching him grow. He has acquired a great team and established an effective market here, and we are getting more and more partners. With Amit moving to Finland to take up a global leadership role, I welcome him to become an even more integral part of the F-Secure universe.
Regarding our business plan in the year 2018, we continue to optimize our growth. In a growth market like India, we are investing more than ever before in the companies history and I see a really kind of a good potential ensured for F Secure crawling in. It is not only about keeping up with the growth, that’s not where our aspirations stop. We are growing faster than the market. More importantly, India is growing really faster than the overall company’s average and that makes us very bullish.
We also have a strong channel ecosystem in India, with over 200 channel partners and we are adding new partners. We look for the partners who have this service oriented business model. Not just re-selling F Secure products but those partners who are taking F Secure products as value in service, security in service. At the same time, with events and webinars, we make sure that we can create effective engagements.