ESET continues brand-building efforts with new cybersecurity awareness certification

The new ESET CyberSecurity Awareness Training is provided free, and ESET partners are encouraged to have their customers make use of it.

Cameron Tousley, Partner Community Manager at ESET North America

AUSTIN – The CompTIA ChannelCon event here this week was a virtual ‘who’s who’ of endpoint security vendors. One of these, ESET, provided ChannelBuzz with an update on their new initiatives to build their brand and business, as well as when we might expect to see their long-awaited cloud offering.

The commercial endpoint security market has been buffeted by change over the last decade and a half, with the entry of many new players into the market. Back then, the commercial market leaders were Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. Today, while one of the leaders has changed its name multiple times, and another recently split in two, the commercial market leaders remain: Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

Slovakian-headquartered ESET is one of the many European-based vendors, dominant in their local regions there, who have tried their luck in North America this century. ESET has been more successful than most, in both the commercial and the consumer markets. They have always done well in industry competitions assessing threat detection capability while avoiding false positives. Despite the utility of those wins for their marketing however, getting the kind of visibility necessary to break through the clutter into the top three remains a challenge.

One tactic they have used in the past, which they just relaunched this year, is ESET CyberSecurity Awareness Training, a free service offering education against ransomware and other modern threats.

“We launched this two months ago and have had 2000 people complete it,” said Cameron Tousley, Partner Community Manager at ESET North America.  It is open to the public, and in an open part of the ESET website, but it is targeted primarily at business users.

“This is something which we want our resellers to give to their own employees and customers,” Tousley said. “Through our partners, we give them the ability to help customers and make them safer. The training educates users about threats like ransomware, and how to be safer from them.”

The full training course is two hours long, but is available at any time on demand. Partners or customers can also download the presentation and customize their own program.

“The employees who complete the course get a certification and badge,” Tousley said.

“We have had good traction with this since the launch,” Tousley indicated. “The plan is to scale it even bigger.”

Tousley, who has spent his entire 10-year career with ESET, said that ESET is aggressively building up its brand, but that the most important thing is continued performance.

“While a lot of vendors brand themselves with a lot of marketing, to get to the next level, you have to always have good years, avoiding missteps, and false positives,” he said. “Having good years requires that you be consistent with product and services, and we believe being consistent to users requires that they be educated on security.

“ESET has always done a good job of branding, but we have stepped it up, getting to more users and creating more visibility, Tousley continued. “Since we launched our MSP program, we have grown MSPs to 35 per cent of our total reseller base. We now have 4500 partners total in North America.” The channel is ESET’s entire route to the commercial market.

While ESET uses cloud technology, in their LiveGrid advanced early warning system which detects threats based on reputation and sandboxes suspicious ones, they have not had a formal cloud product, which hurts them with some classes of customers. That is close to changing, however.

“In terms of a fully hosted solution, we are nearing readiness on that,” Tousley said. “Look for that about the beginning of 2018.”

Tousley also stated that while machine learning is all the rage in endpoint security today, and ESET does not emphasize machine learning capabilities in its marketing, they have it nonetheless.

“Whether we call it machine learning or next-gen or something else, ESET uses it to arrive at the results we get,” he said. “We have a great algorithm, and it continually learns, which is the very definition of machine learning. It knows intelligently on its own to flag something, or do further analysis in sandboxing.

“So if partners or customers ask if we have it, we can tell them ‘yes we do,’” he said.