We have started deploying almost 90% of our resources in India: Sunil Kripalani, eScan

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Sunil Kripalani, Senior Vice President (Global Sales & Marketing), eScan
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Security service provider eScan has been committing a large part of of focus on the India market. Sunil Kripalani, Senior Vice President (Global Sales & Marketing), eScan, shares how the India market has evolved over the last decade and the efforts being put by the
company to capture the burgeoning market opportunities here in the country

With a goal to do significant business in India, eScan has been tremendously driving its efforts in the country, penetrating into newer regions across the country. “We have taken a big team from the security industry. Currently our focus in India is increasing drastically. Everything including partner engagement and partner ecosystem is prime focus for us. We have launched our Touchpoint Reward Network more aggressively for our partners; this reward programme gives a margin of about 10 per cent to the partners over and above the margin they get upon sales of the products. We have developed an app for this programme,” informs Kripalani.

Currently, the company’s focus is not just on primary sales, but more on secondary sales. In retail and SMB, it is focusing a lot on activation and partner training programmes – partner training across tier 2 and 3 cities has also increased tremendously, according to Kripalani. “We are active in partner engagement, activation programmes, aggressive channel schemes to ensure that our products go to the last mile. Earlier we had many distributors and regional distributors who bought big volumes, but the activation focus was less. Whereas, now with our focus on activation, our last mile efforts have increased significantly; our schemes and penetration for tier 3 and 4 partners is increasing day-by-day, resulting in more turnover – from the channel, retail and SMB front,” he says.

From the enterprise space, eScan has started engaging with certain SI partners for enterprise customers. The company aims to convert enterprise customers into eScan users not by selling product and features, but by understanding their pain areas. With every eScan licence, we provide remote monitoring management.”

The company has now come up with Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), which will be launched shortly. It is also coming up with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and eScan Remote Monitoring Software. Kripalani informs that eScam has numerous solutions in the roadmap for enterprise use.

Speaking specifically about the India market, Kripalani states, “Once we get the oppotunity to show enterprises what we can do, I am sure they will definitely shift to eScan.”

eScan now plans to work more with SI partners who deal with infrastructure projects. For instance, recently the company did a project with Airtel in Kerala. “We want to have more engagements with tier 3 SI partners, because the big players work on infrastructure projects, but they aren’t aware of eScan. Last year we spent about ` 12 crore on marketing in India; this year too, we will be spending significant amount on marketing. However, we have not touched the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot of customers with more than 5,000 users in India, but still there is a long way to go, as we started focusing on the India market late,” he elaborates.

India story
Being associated with eScan for about 18 years now, Kripalani started its worldwide business. However, during that phase, he observed that Indians opted for assembled machines and anti-virus came free of cost. Security was also not a major issue then; however, the use of internet has increased today, making anti-virus a small part of security – it has now become a macro issue. Kripalani explains, “Only over the last five to six years, the market in India has opened up drastically. Earlier we provided customizations for companies outside India. However, the scenario in the country has changed now; people realise that security has become a field where they can’t afford to compromise. Every enterprise is now thinking of multi-layered security – gateway, endpoint, Sandbox. None of our customers were adversely affected by Ransomware, because about three years ago, we came up with enhanced technologies which prevents Ransomware attacks. Additionally, we came up with automatic backup at the endpoint, instead of gateway. Due to this, our critical customers were not affected by Ransomware.”

Admitting its late entry in the India market, Kripalani cites an advantage that eScan didn’t have to educate customers on security needs – customers were already acquainted with security’s importance due to existing players then. Kripalani says, “Now we have to inform customers about the additional solutions we offer, in addition to offerings by existing players. We don’t have to create a need for security, customers know what they don’t have. We are very strong on Linux too; there are numerous enterprises who go for MailScan (our content securoty offering and anti-virus for gateways). These customers have Linux at the gateway and Windows solution at the endpoint, and we provide a combination of these. Now we are also doing customization for data centres.”

According to Kripalani, with changes and enhancements, eScan solutions have evolved due to suggestions from partners in Germany and other developed markets such as the US; and the company is active in deploying these best practices in the India market as well. Whereas in terms of differences between Indian and international partners, he feels that systems and IT infrastructure is superior in global markets. Citing an example, he says, “One of our partners deploys bandwidth and security solutions for rural district co-operative banks across India. It has deployed only eScan solutions all across. We made several customizations and update size smaller, for it to work on the primitive infrastructure in rural districts.”

Opportunities and strategies
Cloud is being extensively adopted aross India, thereby giving fillip to cloud security; however, with lack of skillset, training and enablement is crucial for solutions providers. Commenting on eScan’s efforts in this areas, he informs, “We have been offering on-premise solutions. For instance, the UAE is an advanced market; but we are very strong in the interiors of Africa, we have different teams for various regions of Africa. These regions still don’t understand cloud, they don’t want to risk their data on third party cloud. So we need to have an on-premise product. We have already come up with two solutions on cloud, but are also coming up with all of our products and solutions on cloud, resulting in a mix of on-premise and off-premise.”

Amidst emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning, being adopted by enterprises, eScan has solutions catering AI and is coming up with IoT solutions shortly. As part of its roadmap, the company plans to penetrate deeper into this space. Kripalani believes VAPT will give them a bigger edge as the solutions will be more affordable.

Over the years, tier II partners in the country have also scaled up. Currently 100 per cent of eScan’s enterprise business comes from tier II and III partners. In global terms, 95 per cent of its sales happens through partners. At present the company is working with various system integrator partners in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru – wherein it the maximum number of customers. Whereas, eScan has deployed smaller teams in other markets like Chennai, Hyderabad and Kerala. “We are a partner-driven company. We are definitely trying to upscale our business with tier II partners by arranging more training for them. We have also come up with incentives for sales team of partners.” states Kripalani.

Alongside enterprise, eScan is also tapping the government segment aggressively. It has formed a focus team dedicated to the government segment.”

Shedding light on the company’s expectations from the channel partners, he adds, “We can provide everything to our partners – margin, training, pre and post sales support. However, we expect opportunities from them. We have also started working closely with many pharmaceutical companies,
ATM machines. We are a technology company and customization is our biggest strength, followed by support, affordable and comprehensive solutions.”

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