Kaspersky looks to solidify number-three spot

Buyakin on stage

Kaspersky COO Eugene Buyakin (right) with event host Jim Connelly.

If Kaspersky Lab hasn’t already cemented its position as the number-three vendor in the endpoint security market, it will by the end of 2011, company COO Eugene Buyakin said at the company’s C3 Americas Partner Conference.

Buyakin called 2010 “the most successful year in the company’s history,” and shared with the 200-odd partners in attendance that over the course of last year, it estimates it raised its market share in endpoint security to 7.5 per cent. According to IDC numbers, Kaspersky had 5.8 per cent market share in 2009 and 4.2 in 2008. Its 2010 numbers are preliminary and from Kaspersky itself, as IDC has not yet gathered 2010 final figures, so Buyakin isn’t yet declaring victory.

But he did note that the 2010 growth figure is the biggest market share gain the company has ever enjoyed, and that third-place incumbent Trend Micro had about six per cent market share in 2009. But if 2010 didn’t do the trick, Buyakin said 2011 would – he said the company’s goal is to be “the number-three player in security in all segments by the end of 2011.”

Buyakin said that for 2010, it estimates its revenues were up 28 per cent and profits up 18 per cent. For 2011, the company’s goal is to reach $750 million (U.S.) in bookings, he said.

“We’re very happy we outperformed the industry,” he said. “We like being up against strong rivals, and we like out-performing the competition.”

Steve Orenberg, president of the Americas for Kaspersky, said the company notched 60 per cent bookings growth in 2010, following a 2009 that saw Kaspersky grow bookings 100 per cent over 2008.

Buyakin also provided a preview of Kaspersky’s growth plans for the future when he was joined on-stage by John Bernstein, managing director of General Atlantic, the equity firm that last month joined the Kaspersky board. To date, the company’s growth has been entirely organic, but Buyakin suggested that with investment and strategy advice from General Atlantic, Kaspersky might eye acquisitions, where they make sense.

Orenberg said partners didn’t need to worry about things changing in the face of the General Atlantic investment. Specifically, he pledged Kaspersky would remain 100 per cent channel; that partners will continue to own both customers and renewals; that customers will keep getting margins on renewals; and that the company won’t over-distribute or over-partner, going as far as to take a swipe at rivals who he charged show their commitment to the channel by signing up scads of new resellers.

And finally, with the investment and advisement from General Atlantic, the letters IPO were thrown around more than once. Nobody from Kaspersky seemed to suggest they were in any rush to go public, but Orenberg said General Atlantic was the investor of choice because it “accepts the whole culture.”

“We look at them as a partner to the company,” he said.

Bernstein called Kaspersky’s channel a differentiator for the company, and Buyakin added that no matter how much the company may grow, “partners are the guardians of our approach.” He said he believes the channel will keep Kaspersky on track come what may.

Orenberg suggested the fact that the company’s current culture comes strongly from the top means that it will remain the same regardless of growth or IPO.

“All of the executive team works this way because we like to work this way,” Orenberg said with a laugh. “Everyone from Eugene [Kaspersky] on really wants to keep the business running this way.”