Dimitris Raekos, the General Manager of ESET Middle East, speaks to Arabian Reseller about the company’s key strategies for year ahead
How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
In terms of security incidents we could say it is following the course from 2017. What remains as a common denominator is the will of the attackers to “earn” as much as possible, at as many fronts as possible. Social engineering, encrypting & extorting, supply chain attacks, cryptomining, exploiting vulnerabilities and infecting victims with other malware types – all those malicious models are still present and brining attacker’s their income. ESET to anticipate all these challenges introduced a lot of new solutions for both SMBs and Enterprises.
What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
Companies are more concerned on their data although a mainstream data regulation similar with EU’s GDPR still doesn’t exist. We believe that more global data breaches will be reported and this will lead to much higher awareness in the region to take appropriate measures and secure sensitive data.
Did you face any challenges in 2018?
Security especially in large organizations can be complex and projects sales cycle increased due to decision procrastination and liquidity issues in certain markets. On the other hand SMBs are more price sensitive and we have observed certain price wars among vendors. We can say it was easier to work with existing customers and trying to cross-sell or up-sell rather than trying to get into new accounts.
What were your key achievements in 2018?
We managed to establish good foundations by adding new team members and by working closer with certain partners to achieve mutual growth and better level of customer support.
What promises does 2019 bring along?
Many projects that we have allocated resources during 2018 it is expected to have a positive outcome in the following months. In addition we expect our presales efforts and trainings of channel partners to drive our 2019 achievements.
Do you see opportunities on the market with Dubai Expo 2020 just around the corner?
Any major event like this is expected to create opportunities. As it is a work in progress it is already providing projects in different industries. Hopefully afterwards we expect more foreign and local investments to happen and more projects to be available.
According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
We don’t expect radical changes to the trends we see today. Machine learning is going to remain one of the significant technologies forming the industry and its technologies, improving predictive capacities of various security solutions, analytics of the data flows and also help with malware analysis. Strong and reliable encryption will also grow in importance, as this technology will be crucial in protecting data – data that in today’s world has become a new form of currency.
What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
We would like to continue expanding our business especially in countries like KSA, Jordan and Lebanon. In addition since summer we have a new range of enterprise products and we would like to win some more accounts in that space.
What milestones have you set for 2019?
We have a global retention rate of 90% on enterprise customers and this something we would like to achieve in the region too by allocating more resources in the account management. On the SMBs side we would like to see most to select our cloud managed security solutions. Last but very important we will work on mutual business plans with channel partners having the potential to increase their sales and achieve Gold level partnership.
What would you like to do differently in 2019, when compared with 2018?
We would like to improve team’s mentality by introducing new metrics and setting smarter KPIs that serve as the foundation of over-achieving sales targets.
Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products / applications to your portfolio in 2019?
During 2018 we added a lot of new products that we are still introducing into the market. However as IT security requirements are constantly changing we have new solutions in the roadmap.