Kaspersky to expand virtualization footprint

Peter Beardmore, senior director of global product marketing for Kaspersky

Peter Beardmore, senior director of global product marketing for Kaspersky

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Kaspersky Lab plans to add support for Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors to its Kaspersky Security for Virtualization (KSV) product with the launch of the new KSV Light Agent edition this spring.

The new edition comes some two years after the initial launch of KSV, timed with VMware’s Partner Exchange conference in 2012. The product has since been re-architected in a 2.0 version to use VMware’s newer NetSec API, but the company says partners told them they needed to offer virtualization-specific security for more than just VMware.

“VMware is a data centre and enterprise company, and we had a bit of a mismatch with our current channel partners,” Peter Beardmore, senior director of global product marketing told solution providers at the company’s North American Partner Conference here. “They aren’t in a lot of VMware environments, and they want Citrix and Microsoft support too.”

The problem for Kaspersky was that its agentless model, which uses VMware APIs to manage security on all VMs on a machine from a single instance of the hypervisor, will not work on the other two virtualization vendor’s offerings. Hence the new late Light Agent model, which will be available in addition to the agentless model, and will be available for all three major virtualization platforms.

The new model still manages security across virtual machines centrally from a single instance, but now requires “a bit of code added to each VM,” Beardmore said. The new approach also allows Kaspersky to extend the offering, bringing a broader array of its new tools to the virtualization world.

“Essentially, it’s Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, for virtualization,” Beardmore said. “Customers want deeper security, not just anti-virus scanning.”

With the “best of both worlds” approach, as Beardmore describes it, the company hopes to continue the momentum it has found with the initial agentless KSV option, which the company says results in higher revenues per opportunity for partners, even with fewer nodes covered, than traditional endpoint security. While he noted that a set of partners pushed for additional vendors, he said those who have been selling it, have been successful in so doing.

“It’s a great door opener. There isn’t endpoint security running on most VMs today,” Beardmore said.

The light agent option will be enabled in KSV in in the second quarter, with more details being made available in April. Beardmore said it will simply be a new option for deployment under KSV, with no new SKU or pricing required.

The company also announced a margin uplift program around KSV, offering partners additional incentives of 5 per cent of deal size, up to $2,500 per deal for the balance of 2014.