Eset's 2011 IT security pipeline

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mobility and the cloud have created a new frontier in terms of information threats in Latin America. New technologies such as tablets, smartphones, virtualization and other hosted services have sparked a gold rush, pitting hackers against IT security companies such as Eset.

BNamericas caught up with the Czech antivirus and security software developer's Latin American sales and marketing manager, Jerónimo Varela, who analyzed forthcoming product releases, Eset's expansion through retail and channel partners and also regional growth drivers.

BNamericas: Eset had plans to enter the Brazilian and Argentine retail markets by the start of this year. How have those plans advanced?

Varela: At the end of last year, we established plans to increase our retail presence in countries where we didn't have such presence, such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile. At the end of last year, we were able to kick off this initiative both in Brazil and Argentina.

In Argentina, we're positioned with a retailer called Compumundo, which has more than 25 stores around the country, not only in Buenos Aires, but also in the interior. We launched with a big promotion there, with more than 1,000 boxes. Little by little, we are starting to increase our presence in other retailers.

We also have presence in three department stores in Mexico, and there are 10 others that we are working on. We're on our way to being able to sell all the products that we have for this market in the rest of those stores.

That leaves us with Chile. Last year, we engaged in some dialogue. Our distributor, Elsan Consultores, had conversations with a wholesaler and also some stores. I hope that during the first or second quarter of the year, we can be present in that market, too.

BNamericas: Can you talk a little bit about where you will put the retail focus this year?

Varela: The remaining countries where we need strong development are Chile and Uruguay. In other countries, we will be expanding this strategy. In Chile and Uruguay, we have to formalize actions during the first part of the year. We're also going to be adding new licensing packages.

We have one that is called Eset Family Security Pack, which includes three licenses that can be used on Windows or Macintosh platforms. At the same time, it comes with three mobile security licenses that can be used on smartphones with Symbian or Windows Mobile platforms. We have another one called Eset Small Office Security Pack, which has 10 security licenses for Windows or Macintosh and also 10 mobile security licenses.

BNamericas: And in which retailers is Eset selling in Brazil?

Varela: In Brazil, we're present in certain stores that are small and perhaps not well-known outside of the country. But, the most important chain is Saraiva.

BNamericas: Overall, how much did Eset grow its Latin American revenues last year?

Varela: Taking into account Latin America as a whole, we grew about 47% last year. This also takes into account our three segments: residential, SME and corporate.

BNamericas: In which countries did you record the fastest growth?

Varela: Brazil was one of the fastest-growing countries. In some countries, we already have a market share that is particularly high, such as Peru. According to information that we cross from different consultancies, we have a little bit more than 15% of the market in Peru. On the other hand, in countries like Brazil, we have a smaller percentage of the market, closer to 3-4%.

BNamericas: Just to confirm, those numbers refer to the overall security software market across all segments, such as corporate and residential.

Varela: Yes.

BNamericas: In which countries does Eset see the strongest possibility of growing that market share?

Varela: We're aiming to reach the same growth levels that we recorded last year. That's our goal. Perhaps in countries where we have higher market penetration - such as Peru, Ecuador or certain countries in Central America - we will grow some 3-4 percentage points below last year.

BNamericas: What type of presence does Eset have in Colombia?

Varela: In Colombia, we have one exclusive distributor and also a network of partners. In January this year, we were targeting the residential segment through the retail market. We hope that, during February, we can formalize a product launch for that segment.

Colombia is a very important country for us because it is our fifth-largest market after Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

BNamericas: How much focus is Eset placing on security solutions available through the cloud?

Varela: We have a solution available on the internet called Eset Online Scanner. It's been available for about four years. Aside from that, we have to protect data centers that hold applications in the cloud. We have certifications from VMware and Citrix in different platforms.

BNamericas: Has Eset closed deals to protect data centers in Latin America?

Varela: Yes, we've closed some deals in different countries - both for companies that provide internet and also companies that store applications in their data centers.

BNamericas: How would you describe the level of security in Latin America's cloud computing services? Is there still more work to be done there?

Varela: It's difficult to respond to that question. Personally, I think there are a lot of companies with years of experience in the technology industry. The large, multinational companies are migrating to the cloud for both their strategies and also their ways of delivering products and services to clients. There are companies that have put products in the cloud by following best industry practices.

BNamericas: Does Eset have plans to form new alliances with wholesalers or resellers this year?

Varela: Perhaps not wholesalers, but we're looking for partners specialized in security that have presence in certain vertical markets where we aren't present. To respond to demand, it's important to recruit and train new partner companies.

This year, we will be carrying out two significant actions in this regard. The first consists of holding a roadshow in the 18 Latin American countries where we have presence. That event will be called Eset Security Day. The idea is to invite partners, clients and also possible new partners.

The second initiative involves training and certifications for partners. That way, partners will be specialized in solutions for different areas such as the endpoint, servers and mobility.

BNamericas: Are there any countries where Eset is concentrating its search for new partners?

Varela: Yes, the countries with higher priority are Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

BNamericas: Last year, Eset formed a distribution agreement with Avnet in Chile. Are there plans to expand that agreement to cover other countries?

Varela: That possibility might be considered, but it depends on the country and also the policies of Avnet in those other countries. As of now, we're only working together in Chile.

BNamericas: But are there conversations regarding the possibility of extending the agreement?

Varela: At this time, we are engaged in dialogue in Brazil.

BNamericas: What are Eset's sales growth projections for Latin America this year?

Varela: We are aiming for growth of about 45%.

About Jerónimo Varela

Jerónimo Varela has worked at Eset since 2009, and prior to assuming his current position, he served as the company's channel manager for the Southern Cone and Peru.

Varela's IT experience also includes stints at Latin American divisions of US enterprise infrastructure and wireless software provider Sybase and US consulting and technology services firm Accenture.

The executive has degrees from Argentina's Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Universidad de Morón and also the Project Management Institute.

About the company

Founded in 1992, Eset develops security software that integrates antivirus, antispyware, antispam and firewalls for personal or business applications. Within Latin America, the company is present in 18 countries and has its regional headquarters in Buenos Aires.