Biodata wants to "secure" Malaysia speaks to Biodata's (an information security specialist) senior vice president Leonard Oh who oversees operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

With more than 50 offices around the globe, Biodata Information Technology AG earns a living by providing cryptographic devices as well as network and communications technology products to corporations. In short, the German-based firm is a security solutions provider. The company's headquarters for the Asia Pacific region is in Kuala Lumpur, situated in the Petronas Twin Towers. recently spoke to Biodata's senior vice president Leonard Oh who oversees operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia. The name Biodata may not be very familiar with many local companies when it comes to providing security solutions. The company is also fairly new in Malaysia. What is your value proposition?

Leonard Oh: Biodata is a one-stop provider of IT security. That means we offer a full range of solutions ranging from encryption, authentication, access control and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). You have a a problem, we solve it. You have a security issue, we address it, offering an entire suite of solutions. Biodata brings together the best-of-breed security products integrating features such as encryption, authentication, access control and the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

There is no one else like us in the market. We have security solutions for every platform i.e. a broad spectrum of products under one roof. This is what we are preaching in Malaysia, that it is easier to go to one company for all your security needs than separate firms for individual solutions. We want to be known as everybody's family doctor as far as security matters are concerned.

How do you intend to accomplish this? Do you plan to go on a major marketing blitz?

This is pretty ironic because we can't really publicize ourselves too much because we are a security company! We are admittedly, at a crossroad but I am certain that people in the IT industry will eventually recognize our products and services. We will of course try to create more awareness about the importance of security through a series of exhibitions and seminars that we will be organizing soon. We are holding one this June.

How important is the Malaysian market to Biodata?

We see a big market for IT security solutions as people get more conscious about the need for better tools to protect themselves in cyberspace. Traditionally, businesses spend less than five percent of their IT budget on network security but we predict this figure will rise in the near future. Biodata hope to clinch at least 10 percent of the forecasted annual spending on IT security solutions of between RM70 and RM100 million.

We also see the government has become more aware of the need for better security for its IT infrastructure, especially with the presence of the Multimedia Super Corridor and the push for the Knowledge Economy. Biodata is targeting RM10.5 million worth of sales this year.

Do you see this target as feasible especially with a sluggish economy in Malaysia? Will companies spend that little extra on security during trying times?

Yes, the targets we have set ourselves is achievable. Today, with the slowdown in the economy, one needs to be more productive. And in the New Economy, to be able to do that, technology is key. Of course, when companies use more technology, they are more at risk due to hacking and other cyber attacks, which if successful, could paralyze their businesses. So you have to spend more on IT security now whether you want to or not. It has become a necessity, not a luxury. Of course, we have also noticed that in Malaysia, enterprises are also hard-pressed to buy expensive security solutions. Which is why, Biodata has introduced a new method by which these companies could have a more secure network by renting our solutions from as low as RM1520 a month. We believe we are the only security company doing this here.

How do you deliver your products to customers?

Mainly via re-sellers and distributors. We don't have a sole distributor in Malaysia yet because we believe everyone deserves a chance. In today's market, everyone matters. This method also helps publicize our products in the IT market here.