Partner-driven Australian security market drives world-leading growth for ESET

Security software vendor ESET has grown so quickly in Australia that the local operations were “the queen of the world” at the company's recent worldwide partner conference, local managing director Florin Vasile has revealed as he ramps up plans to consolidate the company's position in the fast-growing Australian market.

The Slovakian company established its Sydney office in September 2013 – its fourteenth office around the world – after 12 years working through a network of local distributors, and since then has “doubled the targets we set, and kept costs quite low,” Vasile told CSO Australia.

“This is what we tried to do at the start, and we succeeded,” he reported. “We've doubled our market share, and run a very aggressive marketing campaign so our brand awareness is growing.”

ESET's growth came during a period of rapid security spending by Australian companies, which are responding to governance requirements and new security challenges by snapping up security tools at record rate: a Gartner study last year found Australia's security spending was nearly double the world average.

Despite the company's direct presence in Australia, it has continued to bolster its channel strategy, recently introducing services such as a renewal-tracking system – which targets inter-partner customer poaching by ensuring that partners retain renewal revenues from customers they signed even if those customers move to another ESET reseller.

“We don't let partners fight over prices,” Vasile said. “They are focusing a lot now on business because we gave them peace of mind and the knowledge that nobody will fight over prices. We are trustworthy, transparent, and predictable – and we want to be a real partner for our partners, and a real solution for our customers.”

A product redesign targeting business customers was also expanding ESET's market share, with a five-year development process recently culminating in the release of the company's business-focused next-generation business products, which integrate a range of features around remote management and multi-platform endpoint security.

ESET is “absolutely crazy with R&D”, Vasile said, highlighting the company's continued strong rate of security detection and its commitment to delivering a “premium product” distributed and supported by its partners.

ESET's security tools have shown consistently strong results in Enex TestLabs eThreatz testing, which have shown Enex detecting as much as 96 percent of tested malware while brand-name rivals detected as little as zero percent.

Read more: Rash of porn clicker trojans sneak past Google Play review process

Yet even ESET hasn't been without its challenges: last month, a Google researcher discovered a critical flaw in ESET's internal sandboxing tools that he said allowed systems running them to be “trivially compromised”. The vulnerability was quickly fixed by ESET.

Such issues come with the territory, with security vendors increasingly coming under scrutiny by security researchers and hackers alike, both keen to better understand the nature of the defences that serve as front-line defences for most Internet users.

The company's Australian footprint has grown to 20 staff since its office was founded, and its Australian story made it the belle of the ball when ESET resellers from around the world converged on the company's partner conference earlier this year.

“We have the biggest growth and the biggest overachievement percentage” of any worldwide operation,” he explained. “The team has been carefully selected and I'm so proud of everyone.”

“In terms of the way they developed our go-to-market strategies, and the channels we covered, we have the biggest achievement in everything” against which the company measures its channel partners.

With “hundreds and hundreds of new partners” onboarded as a result of the company's new local programs, Vasile believes continued brand building will continue to identify growth areas in the Australian market, capitalised upon by a “partner and customer centric” strategy supported by the company's Singapore and other Asia-Pacific operations.

“They are supporting us in every way,” he explained. “The challenge is how we design the next go-to-market strategy. I don't want to hurry anything, and just want to grow with normal steps so we can properly plan ahead. But we haven't missed opportunities in the past and we are very focused on continuing to do the same.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Read more: Security Watch: Gigamon transforms security market - champions the Security Delivery Platform

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