- Its R&D focus a major factor for its success, says Richard Marko
- Cybersecurity awareness is rising, but more education still needed
WHILE cybersecurity companies are a dime a dozen now, few have been around as long as ESET, the Bratislava, Slovakia-based company that was founded in 1992, way before the Internet went public.
The company was named after the ancient goddess Isis, which is pronounced ‘Eset’ in its original Egyptian. But it has a thoroughly modern outlook, and is eyeing the Asia Pacific market as an engine of growth.
ESET opened its regional office in Singapore in 2010 to get closer to its customers in Asia Pacific, an important market which continues to record double-digit growth for the company, according to its chief executive officer Richard Marko (pic), although he declines to give specifics.
“This is a big and important market; we have to grow it properly and having a direct presence is essential.
“We have been experiencing double-digit growth over the last couple of years, globally as well as here in Asia Pacific, and we are working on maintaining this pace for the future,” he adds, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
Another factor that has been contributing to its growth is the priority ESET places on research and development (R&D), according to Marko.
“I think this is one of the important factors for the success of the company – we are at the frontline of malware research,” he declares.
And this is translated into its products. “If we have good products, then we are successful in business terms,” he adds.
ESET has taken a different approach to R&D, preferring to decentralise its R&D efforts and spread it across the globe.
The company currently operates 15 R&D centres, three of them in Asia Pacific: In Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
“For us, it is a way to attract talent from around the world,” says Marko.
“[This approach] has been quite successful, but it has also been quite a challenge to coordinate different teams in different time-zones and with different cultures,” he adds.
These challenges do not detract from the benefits, according to Marko.
“We circulate our people, sending them to work in other places, which makes the work more exciting – and when you have more excited people, that’s what makes the difference,” he says.
“It’s challenging but I think we made a right decision to go in this direction,” he adds.
Having been in the cybersecurity game for 24 years, ESET has been around to see mindsets evolve as well.
There has been an increasing awareness, which is good news at least.
“People know the risks … they have it in the back of their minds, and usually will run some kind of security software on their laptop,” says Marko.
“20 years ago, people didn’t face the problem directly, they didn’t pay attention,” he adds.
The bad news however is that the threat landscape itself has changed. It has become more complicated.
This is exacerbated by the rise of smart devices. “People don’t pay so much attention because they don’t have that much experience with direct problems and consequences,” says Marko.
“Almost everyone is facing the issue, but not everyone fully understands it – and only a small percentage will understand it on a deeper level.
“But understanding it on a higher level – like understanding to look before you cross the street – this is something that society and security vendors must pay attention to,” he adds.
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