Kaspersky Lab sees expansion in Brazil

The security firm becomes more popular among cost-conscious enterprise clients and achieves growth despite current recession

Russian software vendor Kaspersky Lab is pressing ahead with its expansion plans in Brazil despite the current economic downturn the country is experiencing.

Over the last 12 months the company saw a revenue increase of over 50 percent in local currency and the firm's Brazil head Claudio Martinelli says the growth strategy is bearing fruit.

"We had a very positive 2015 and are on track in terms of our plans to double revenues within three years," Martinelli tells ZDNet.

"Sure, the crisis affects business, it causes budgetary problems to our clients but it also forces us to be more creative and pragmatic about our negotiations," he adds.

"We are offering better renewal conditions for clients and we changed our pricing to reais to offset dollar fluctuations and avoid impacting negotiations negatively. All of that has contributed to our maintained momentum."

Kaspersky now occupies the top spot in the local consumer market and is now positioned within the top three security vendors in the enterprise space, according to Martinelli. The executive adds that the firm's products start to be seen by buyers as offering more value for money.

"We have started to be perceived as an economically viable alternative. In a scenario where a company needs say, a DDoS protection tool from one vendor, a mobile security solution from another vendor and an antimalware system from a third supplier, they find they can get it all in an integrated package from us for a more attractive price," Martinelli says.

The sales pitch for Kaspersky in Brazil is that a basic security package would offer about 30-40 percent savings in terms of purchasing spend and a 50 percent reduction in costs associated to maintenance.

According to Martinelli, Brazilian organizations spend about 2-3.5 percent of the IT budget in security whereas the average in developed economies is at least double that amount. But the executive is optimistic that mindsets are changing even though there is a lot of evangelizing to be done.

"Organizations have started to buy not only simple security applications but more advanced products around intelligence, prevention and mitigation of attacks. There is a long way towards reaching the awareness we see in other countries but we also see buyers heading towards more integrated solutions," he said.

"The biggest challenge in Brazil is cultural: companies still don't understand the seriousness of things like having digital assets stolen, their servers rented out by criminals, so security is still an accessory spend. But we believe that it is our mission as a company to change that."

To help with the education aspect needed to boost sales, Kaspersky is investing in training and expanding its reseller channel: the company currently has a network of 1700 resellers in Brazil, a 20 percent increase on 2015. It has also began to introduce more advanced products to the local market, such as an anti targeted attack platform launched earlier this week.

"The market needs [that type of advanced product] even if it's not prepared for it. We do a lot of research on security and we already know that [Brazilian organizations] are under advanced persistent attacks and that simple antimalware solutions are no longer sufficient," Martinelli says.

So far, Kaspersky has managed to attract both private and public sector clients and the company's Brazil head believes that customer word of mouth has been helpful.

"The good things clients have to say about is are very important. But there are no bad things to say about Kaspersky: we are growing locally with a lot of speed, hiring staff while our competitors are only firing, strengthening our reseller network and being very positive about our business here," Martinelli says.

"We are also being proactive and bringing new products that we know are needed in this market and talking about integrated solutions as opposed to integrated systems. The challenges caused by the economic conditions are temporary, but the fact that we have this heritage as a respected security company and proven results coupled with better pricing is what will continue to woo customers."