Strategy for Growth

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2007-01-24 Print this article Print

In an interesting twist, Microsoft resells Kaspersky Labs anti-virus scanner to enterprise customers as part of Forefronts multiscanner strategy. The Kaspersky Lab anti-virus kernel also is integrated in products sold by a range of IT vendors, including Aladdin Knowledge Systems, F-Secure, G Data Software, Deerfield, Alt-N Technologies, Microworld and Borderware.

This puts Kaspersky Lab in the unique position of competing against its OEM partners. As a differentiator, Kaspersky said the company is shipping the new Version 6.0 engine in its own product suite and is licensing the 5.0 version to partners.

"I think youll see Microsoft being very aggressive on pricing. It will push prices down throughout the sector," Oltsik said.

According to data from research company Gartner, the global market for computer security protection could top $10 billion in 2007, making it a lucrative target even for Microsoft.

On the consumer side, Microsofts OneCare security suite is struggling to gain a foothold, despite the companys heavy investments in virus research. In a research note released in January 2006, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster used NPD Group retail sales data to show Microsofts security suite has less than 1 percent market share.

"While OneCares exact market share is debatable, its safe to conclude that OneCares market share is fractional at best," Munster said.

Click here to read about security vendors offering free zero-day tools. This comes as a big surprise to John Pescatore, a Gartner analyst. "Microsoft spent three years building this product, investing heavily in the technology, but it doesnt appear they are spending any money to market the product. Ive seen television ads for the Zune, but I cant recall seeing an ad for OneCare," Pescatore said in an interview with eWEEK.

Natalya Kaspersky, who keeps a close watch on the companys day-to-day operations in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Japan and China, shrugged aside suggestions that Microsoft will use its marketing might to roll over rivals and painted a picture of a company on the rise, building out new technologies and pushing into new markets.

Growth Strategy

One such rollout is Infowatch, a Kaspersky Lab subsidiary headed by Andrey Nikishin that offers a multilayered approach to data leak detection and prevention. Founded in 2003 and launched primarily in the Russian market, InfoWatch provides monitoring software for e-mail, Internet and Web usage, mail storage, and mobile devices.

The company is positioning InfoWatch as technology to help businesses manage compliance requirements and track internal data theft, even from mobile devices.

Nikolai Grebennikov, deputy director in Kaspersky Labs department of innovative technologies, said Kaspersky Labs new Internet Security 6.0 software will hold its own against the competition. "We have the best virus detection rates and the fastest response time to new threats. We do hourly updates and support more than 1,200 formats of archives and compressed files," said Grebennikov.

Grebennikov said the company has worked hard on improving scan speeds and system loads by scanning new and modified files only, caching data from previous scans, and suspending scanning in case of increased user activity.

The new security suite also has been fitted with a new system for anti-virus scanning of compound objects, optimizing system performance.

This helps to address a long-standing complaint that anti-virus software with multiple executables eating away at system resources is an impediment to proper computer usage.

Another big addition, Grebennikov said, is the addition to the software of rootkit detection and removal. He said new proactive detection technology will block hidden objects (stealth rootkits), keystroke loggers, buffer overflow attacks, data execution attacks and backdoors that turn infected machines into zombies in botnets.

"These integrated threats are the scariest," Grebennikov added. "Anytime you find malware thats using rootkit techniques to hide, you have to get really nervous. Some of these threats are very, very sophisticated."

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Ryan Naraines eWEEK Security Watch blog.


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