Demand surging, CrowdStrike doubles down on APAC investment as endpoint rivals circle

Fast-expanding partner network paying off as customers look to cloud to reinvent endpoint security

Growing customer demand for a reboot on endpoint security has driven “an absolute rocket ship of interest” that is pushing CrowdStrike to redouble its investment in its Australian and Asia-Pacific business, the head of the company’s channel program has said as rival vendors also move to expand claims in the burgeoning endpoint-security space.

The company’s Australian operation, which stands as the linchpin for its APAC presence, has grown dramatically since it was opened in 2016, channel and alliances director Geoff Swaine told CSO Australia.

Swaine credits exploding interest from local implementation partners for fuelling the boom, with the company more than doubling its roster of regional partners, increasing the number of registered customer deals by 500 percent, and growing its new business pipeline by 350 percent.

“There has been some frustration in the Australian market with the traditional vendors,” he explained, “and as a result people are looking to new, innovative and different solutions. And I think that’s going to continue.”

CrowdStrike’s cloud-based architecture was allowing it to quickly react to new cybersecurity threats by rapidly rolling out new features that were instantly available to customers – particularly small and medium businesses (SMBs) where security is frequently one of many duties handballed to overworked security staff. Such companies often struggle to keep up on their own – and face looming problems as a result.

“We have some very clever people working out how to make this consumable by customers, and we have had people looking into how to make it enterprise grade from day 1,” Swaine said. “Customers do not have the time to sit down and work out a whole bunch of complex scripts to get their problems solved – so as we can bring enterprise-grade security to the masses, we can build that out and make it easier for customers.”

“This is absolutely the new norm, and people who are still reliant on pumping their products out will see this decline. Customers don’t want to have to carry their infrastructure costs.”

CrowdStrike has drawn on what Gartner has identified as a major redefinition of the endpoint protection market during 2017 and 2018, as enterprises look to consolidate their endpoint-security strategies while expanding them to accommodate all manner of mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) and other devices.

Spending on endpoint security tools, along with identity and access management and security and vulnerability management, will comprise more than 75 percent of spending on security software, according to IDC forecasts that projected a cumulative annual growth rate of 18 percent on Australian security spending – making it the third highest-spending country worldwide.

Read more: New partnerships helping industry, government tap into Australia’s cybersecurity potential

That level of spending isn’t going unnoticed by other security firms, which have unleashed a barrage of rivals competing with CrowdStrike in the cloud-delivered security space. Established endpoint-security firm Sophos, for one, last month unleashed a new endpoint-protection tool called Intercept X that leverages a cloud-based architecture incorporating deep-learning techniques to stay ahead of changes in the cybersecurity landscape.

“The deep learning neural network of Intercept X is designed to learn by experience, creating correlations between observed behaviour and malware,” explained Tony Palmer, senior validation analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), in a statement.

“These correlations result in a high accuracy rate for both existing and zero-day malware, and a lower false-positive rate. ESG Lab analysis reveals that this neural network model scales easily, and the more data it takes in, the smarter the model becomes. This enables aggressive detection without administrative or system performance penalty.”

CrowdStrike, for its part, will continue to leverage its partner-based strategy to that saw, among other moves, an alliance with Ivanti to integrate the two companies’ security tools.

Read more: Days from breach notification scheme, Australian SMBs still not confident on security

Swaine anticipates continued growth in the company’s local hires as it continues its growth trajectory in Australia, buoyed by a stronger Asia-Pacific presence that includes operations in Singapore, Japan, and India. Helping build that momentum will be partners like InfoTrust, whose CEO Dane Meah was ebullient in his praise for what he called “a game-changing approach” to endpoint security.

“The endpoint has never been more relevant when it comes to effective protection from today's advanced threats,” he said in a statement, “and our customers are looking for a different approach to the staid controls previously available. Leveraging CrowdStrike’s cutting-edge endpoint security capabilities, customers are able to gain a real-time view of what is happening in their IT environment, effectively stopping modern-day attacks.”

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