US-based DigiCert, which provides high-assurance digital certificates to enterprises, is looking to scale its India operations in the coming months. With a stronghold in the South Asian markets, the company is seeing much growth potential in India, which is only second in the world in terms of internet penetration after China.
“As more businesses – both in the private and government sectors – are taking the digital route, there is a greater need for digital security. Hence, DigiCert is looking at enhancing security across web and internet of things (IoT) for Indian enterprises,” says Ray Garnie, Senior Vice President- APAC at DigiCert, on his visit to India. He leads the organization’s enterprise and partner sales in APAC alongside heading DigiCert’s global retail sales.
Leading the way in digital certifications
Digital signatures and certificates, which act as the sender’s personal seal of authenticity over any electronic document, are essential components of online businesses. Needless to say, with more businesses getting online today, especially with online banking and ecommerce transactions on the rise, paving the way for security risks, encryption is becoming increasingly important. DigiCert takes care of authentication which ensures that legitimate organizations get authentication certificates.
DigiCert has authentication teams operating globally to make this happen. Claiming their position as a ‘market leader’ in this space, Garnie asserts, “Globally, DigiCert has more than 12 offices around the world and offer support in dozens of languages. Besides, 89% of the Fortune 500 and 97 of the world’s top 100 banks have chosen us. We secure more than 28 billion web connections every day. Also, we have about 100 patents issued or currently pending. So, globally, we are by far the market leader.”
The company’s wide global reach, modern technology infrastructure, and level of expertise, paired with local support and understanding, have always placed them several notches above market competition, mentions Garnie, who has been with the company for more than a decade – a pivotal member in transforming and transitioning the sales team from VeriSign to Symantec and more recently, Symantec’s website security wing to DigiCert.
While the Symantec acquisition in 2017 has given DigiCert a global footprint, R&D capability and a stronghold especially in offering digital certificates for website security, early in 2019 it completed the acquisition of QuoVadis.
According to Garnie, “QuoVadis has a strong presence in the European market which is going for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Moreover, with Indian companies doing business across the continent, the acquisition will help serve the Indian enterprises.”
The global market for digital certificates and public key infrastructure (PKI) has been witnessing a healthy growth. PKIs are policies, roles, and procedures essential to manage, distribute, digital certificates and public-key encryption with an aim to secure the transfer of electronic information.
The market is valued approximately USD 1.5 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 15.1% over the forecast period 2019-2026, according to Big Market Research. Beyond the web, DigiCert also provides scalable, automated SSL/TLS and PKI-based solutions for identity, authentication, and encryption for the Internet of Things (IoT) for connected markets.
Globally, banks, e-commerce, technology, healthcare and manufacturing companies use DigiCert to provide scalable encryption and authentication for their online properties.
The India growth potential
Garnie sees India as a high growth market, as both the government and private sectors are looking for digital adoption and transformation. Indian businesses are becoming ever more dependent on digital information and electronic transactions, and as a result, they are also facing stringent data privacy compliance challenges and data security regulations.
With enterprises increasingly under threat of cyber-attacks and malicious insiders, business entities access sensitive data and critical system, the introduction of the PKI system is essential, believes Garnie, adding that “Customers are looking for quicker and accurate certification with relevant checks in place, and hence, there is the need for greater digital security.”
In terms of its operations, DigiCert operates a large engineering team comprising 90 engineers in Bengaluru and smaller teams across India mostly through its partner ecosystem, including Hyderabad. The company also has sales teams in India.
Garnie further informs that in India, the BFSI, telecom, manufacturing, ecommerce and healthcare sectors that will drive growth for encryption and security certification. In fact, DigiCert has already secured several prestigious clients in these verticals.
The other area of focus is government, which is taking a proactive stand in the country as far as digital initiatives are concerned. However, security is paramount in a cashless society and therefore a PKI system is aimed at comprehensively protecting transactions and interactions on the country’s digital space.
Garnie says, “Our approach in India and our go to market strategy is a channel strategy. And we have five strategic partners in India.” Three of these are focused on enterprises and these are the three largest partners in India, including, JNR management, AdWeb technologies and Amcetek.
“We have a tiered structure for our partners, which is gold, platinum, and then platinum elite and we are extending our support to them as they broaden their reach and penetration across market,” he adds.
Getting ready for a connected, secured future
Although, the market’s future looks bright but the lack of awareness and technical competency linked with digital certificates may limit its growth over the next few years. The incompatibility among various formulation techniques and ambiguities in regulations are also challenges companies in this space are dealing with. But Garnie is an optimistic man.
“At DigiCert, innovation has always been important and this is why we launched innovation labs,” he says. In the coming months, DigiCert is working on post-quantum cryptography. These are cryptographic algorithms – PKIs – that are thought to be secure against an attack by a quantum computer. As of 2018, this is not true for the most popular public-key algorithms, which can be efficiently broken by a sufficiently strong hypothetical quantum computer.
“With present day security provided through RSA and ECC, it may take about 100 years to breakthrough, with quantum computing it would be possible to break in minutes or possibly seconds,” Garnie says, adding that this new technology is going to be a game changer.
Quoting examples, of realities in the world of connected devices, including smartphones linked by IoT, Garnie says, “The world is getting increasingly connected and complex. Say, a pacemaker can get hacked, a large financial transaction compromised, an autonomous car gets remotely controlled or a closed circuit camera network compromised resulting in major security breach.
By 2020, we will have 25 billion IoT devices and the key challenge will be that of ensuring security. With quantum computing, it will open up more challenges, believes Garnie.
“To address these challenges, DigiCert is working with Microsoft, Isara and others to secure encrypted communications against the coming threats. It has recently successfully completed some proof of concepts with these new algorithms. In fact, we plan to offer a hybrid certificate, which will have the current technology as well as future technology,” says he.
Garnie concludes that the use of PKI for businesses across the world and in India will continue to surge. With DigiCert’s cloud-based solutions, companies can continue to secure and manage their certificates across a large volume of devices and platforms, without having to bother about their daily operations.
(Photo courtesy: DigiCert Twitter handle)