Shrenik Bhayani, General Manager, Kaspersky Lab (South Asia)
Insecurity can be big business. Few know this better than Shrenik Bhayani, South Asia honcho of Kaspersky Lab. The general manager of the top Russian cybersecurity and anti-virus firm points out that India is the sixth most targeted country in the world in terms of the number of mobile malware attacks. “We have been focusing not only on the ‘prevent and protect’ market, but also on ‘detect and predict’ market,” Bhayani said to Forbes India
in New Delhi, during a recent interaction.
It’s not only crucial to identify virus attacks but also to be in a position to predict them and respond. “Data protection is more important than data localisation,” says Bhayani. Edited excerpts: Q. As an anti-virus company, Kaspersky is more of a B2C company. What made you realise the potential of the B2B market in India?
It’s the size of the business opportunity. It’s massive. Two years ago, we realised that more targeted attacks are likely to happen in the future, and these are not normal ransomware attacks. Recently, our researchers uncovered a worrying rise in malware designed to steal credentials and money from users’ bank accounts across the globe. In first quarter of this year, Kaspersky found 29,841 files of such malware, up from 18,501 in the fourth quarter of last year. Overall, attacks on more than 3,00,000 users were detected. Such targeted attacks are increasing day by day. This made us realise that this is the market we need to get into. So in India, we decided not to just focus on the prevent and protect strategy, but also on the detect and predict market. Q. What’s the nature of your enterprise business in India?
We have over 15,000 customers across the segments and verticals such as manufacturing or BFSI (Banking, financial services and insurance). Over the last two years, customers are showing a lot of interest in the ‘predict’ solutions. Though we don’t share India-specific numbers, we detect about 3.8 lakh malwares every day across the globe. Our analysis says that India is the 6th most targeted country in the world in terms of the number of attacks. It’s shocking. In fact, smart devices such as IP cameras and speakers are becoming more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, especially if there is no proper in-built security. We provide trainings such as internal response, forensic training, malware analysis for the customers, and make the enterprises understand how to respond to such threats.Q. Have ‘cold’ US-Russia relations and ‘spying’ allegations hit Kaspersky’s business in India?
We have not lost any opportunity in India because of geo-political issues. There were a couple of initiatives we took globally to allay apprehensions, such as opening up a transparency centre in Switzerland. Anyone who thinks that we are hiding something or stealing something can actually check the data. Another transparency centre has come up in Spain, and we are opening a third one in the Asia Pacific region. So, a lot of investments are coming from our side in terms of conveying to the market that we have nothing to hide. In fact, the European Commission also declared that we are not wrong. Earlier, there was a wave (of distrust) but slowly countries started realizing that there is nothing wrong with the company.Q. Do you believe that data should be localised in the country?
I think it is not just about data being localised. It is about how open your data is, and how people can use that to do wrong. Where the data resides is not of great importance, but how you protect it is crucial. Data protection is more important than data localisation.