F-Secure makes M'sia its Asian hub

Security vendor sets up research center which, together with its counterpart in Helsinki, will provide security response services for the global market.

MALAYSIA--Finnish security vendor F-Secure has set up a security research and technical support center here, making the Southeast Asian nation the hub for its regional operations.

Located in Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur, F-Secure's security lab shares responsibilities with the company's headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, providing global security response services for detection and removal, and other information related to malware, spyware, rootkit, phishing and targeted attacks.

Operational since early-September, the center aims to have a staff force numbering "in the hundreds" within a couple of years, said F-Secure President and CEO Risto Siilasmaa.

Malaysia was selected as a hub for the company's Asian operations because of its high-quality human resources, and government initiatives to encourage high-tech companies to set up business here. The country also offers a strong strategic advantage because its time-zone is six hours ahead of Helsinki.

Siilasmaa said: "The establishment of our Malaysian operation is a validation of the tremendous importance of Asian markets to our corporate strategy." And with the company's growth in the region, there is a need to support customers in Asia locally, he noted.

Like its counterpart in Helsinki, the Malaysian security lab will be equipped to analyze mobile viruses in a safe RF-shielded lab. This facility prevents wireless viruses from escaping.

To speed up response times, much of the lab operations have been automated through the use of advanced purpose-built tools. These tools are used to collect, analyze and visualize new threats in real-time, enabling F-Secure to build, test, and release security updates faster than the average industry response time, the company said.

A relative newcomer to the Asian security market, F-Secure last year opened offices in Singapore and India's New Delhi and Mumbai. It also has an office in Japan.

According to Jari Heinonen, the company's Asia-Pacific director, F-Secure is seeking to expand its Asian business to cover the consumer, small and midsize businesses and Internet service provider (ISP) markets.

"We are working with 120 ISPs globally. Over the last 18 months, we have been seeking to work with ISPs in Asia, particularly in China," Heinonen added. "We are also introducing our security services concept in several countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Singapore and Malaysia."

Founded in 1988, F-Secure offers security protection as a service through major ISPs such as PCCW, France Telecom and TeliaSonera. It also provides mobile security tools provided through mobile operators and handset manufacturers such as Nokia.

Lee Min Keong is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.