The IT security market is maturing significantly and so are the cybercrimes, says Christian Fredrikson, the president & CEO of F-Secure, a leading cybersecurity company based in Helsinki, Finland. “As there are more advanced threats, more is the requirement for security solutions.” Fredrikson joined F-Secure on this position in 2012. Previously, he worked at Nokia Siemens Networks, where he was responsible for global sales of the Network Systems business unit. Under his leadership, F-Secure has transformed from a pure anti-virus company to a cybersecurity vendor, with more and more people turning to F-Secure—the company to fight back on cyberattacks. In a recent interaction, he talks to Sudhir Chowdhary about the company’s strategy and new trends in the security world. Excerpts:
How is the security market doing globally and how does F-Secure fare in that space?
Globally the security market is maturing significantly and so are the cybercrimes. When we speak of India and the global market, there is a huge difference in the dynamics in terms of regions, consumers and the B2B segment. The expected growth in B2B security business overall is roughly 3-4%. We grew at 8% in last quarter. We are growing faster than the market in our chosen segment. We are also recruiting heavily to deliver our services. As there are more advanced threats, more is the requirement for enterprise security market and hence it becomes a big opportunity for us.
To what extent do you think enterprises across the globe are security conscious?
Yes, attacks are getting so tough that they result in grave damage. Further to attacks like with Sony Pictures, you have to understand that you will get fired as a CEO or CSO if you do not
understand the importance of security today and implications in its absence. What’s protected and what is not. What happens when you are hacked? What should be your reaction? How fast can you recover? What analysis and assessment are you making in your company? If you do not know answers to these then you are not doing your job. Hackers are destructing and destroying your company and I believe that there is an awakening. Companies are paying attention but there’s a long way to go.
Talk to us about some of the key development at F-Secure?
Last year we did some significant strategic developments. We have been a consumer-focused company with 27 year old history in security business and we are the ones who focus on higher security techniques. We sold our storage business last year and are continuing in our expansion into corporate and bigger enterprises vertical like finance sector, aviation, online gaming sector.
Moving from an antivirus and PC consumer security market, we have established strongly in cyber security space. We have introduced ‘F-secure Sense’ which is a hardware device which secures your smart home with one device, now and in the future. Sense creates a secure network for all of your connected devices to monitor and protect them through one simple interface. With privacy and security both at home and on the go, you have the freedom to unleash your smart lifestyle. It’s a revolutionary innovation in security industry which will guard life bugs, microwave, printer or everything that connects to the internet.
Going into enterprises, we are building advanced threat protection solutions like cyber security alarm with sensors signs like motion sensors. These sensors basically raise the flag of alarm when somebody is trying to intrude into the network. We have not only defiance but offense capability. We understand how hackers move, we know their behaviour and therefore we have a rapid response. So this is the big expansion in our portfolio.
How important is the India market for you?
We have just started in India. We doubled our growth last year and we are expecting double growth this year as well. From the growth rate point of view, it is fast and India is certainly contributing but it would take some time before it’s seen in our numbers.
Typically how has the consumer involved?
Consumers are more confused now because cyber space is so complex. They have evolved but they indulge in exposed platforms like social media and all of that they do without the fear of being hacked. Our job here is to make it easy. Consumers tend to go for free offerings in security which could cause them a lot. As a security company, we are assisting them in their evolution with extremely high-end best technologies.
Don’t you think security is going to be big key issue in IoT world?
Especially in the IOT world, we would require solutions which protect multiple devices. There would be multiple devices by 2020 which would be connected and security players need to come up with solutions which provide the next level of protection. We at F-Secure have already started working towards it and F-Secure Sense is our first step towards it.