Kaspersky ramping up Canadian crew amid growth

Jason Stein, vice president of channels for Kaspersky North America

Jason Stein, vice president of channels for Kaspersky North America

PHOENIX — Business in Canada has been good to Kaspersky Lab, and it will increase its investment in the Canadian market, the company said at its Trusted Advisor Summit North American partner conference here Thursday.

Currently, the company has four employees in Canada, spread across the nation — an enterprise sales person, a technical person, a large account reseller manager, and a member of its research team. Jason Stein, vice president of channels for Kaspersky North America said it’s looking to double that footprint in the near term, looking to add people in channel support, engineering, and marketing.

“We want to do a good job of giving as much attention to Canada as is deserved because it’s a growing market for us,” Stein told ChannelBuzz.ca. “The Canadian market has been amazing.”

So much so that Stein held up Canadian growth from his main-stage presentation. So why is Canada hot for Kaspersky right now? Stein said a big reason has been that the Canadian market is becoming more accepting of broader security options, going beyond the traditional endpoint antivirus of the past and embracing other products in the Kaspersky line card.

“You can’t just protect endpoint, LAN, and WAN today, you need layers to protect all the devices, and all areas, and w’ere good at that because everything’s based on one source code,” Stein said.

Stein said the Canadian business is up across all partner segments and customer verticals, with “a big uptick in MSPs” — the company introduced a managed services program a year ago, and since then, has signed up 1,000 MSPs worldwide, and more than 400 in North America. 

“We’re seeing more technology partners starting to focus more on security in Canada, and we’ve been a beneficiary of that,” Stein said, noting that the company’s channel ranks also benefited from the merger of Synnex and Westcon Comstor — the latter was not a Kaspersky distributor in the past. Westcon brings a new group of channel partners, and a deep background, and partner base, in security.

The company’s Canadian business has also benefited from less political pressure than it’s faced in the U.S. Over the last year, the company has tackled what it refers to as “the geopolitical issue” Stateside, with the U.S. government deciding to not purchase the products of the Russia-based security vendor. That, and related fear in the media about Kaspersky’s products, have been a major issue at the conference, and one the vendor has tackled head-on. In Canada, although there were rumblings of regulators eyeing what the U.S. was doing, Stein said it’s been business as usual.

“We haven’t had any negative information coming from Canada, we haven’t had any concerns,” Stein said. “They’ve been willing to work with us in a number of capacities, and we’ve had a number of government engagements. They’re all playing nice and excited about the prospects we have.”

While partner ranks have been expanding, Stein said the company wants to remain strategic in its partner growth to avoid taxing internal resources, and very possibly to keep the “close-knit” feeling of the Kaspersky channel community. The company will grow slowly, and try to keep resources available to Canadian partners at pace with that growth, he said.

“We want to be more strategic versus doing a land grab,” Stein said. “We’ll let our competition do that.”