Establishing a formal Australian presence may have seemed like a long time coming given the strength of the Bitdefender brand, but the company’s new local head says the opening of a Melbourne office reflects a strategic decision to use Australia as the hub of its ambitions to expand across the Asia-Pacific market for enterprise security services.
Having bought out its Australian partner SMS eTech last September, Bitdefender has this month opened an office in Melbourne’s big-business hub of Collins Street – planting its roots in the heart of a financial and business services community that is increasingly spending up big to build out enterprise-security infrastructure.
Australia has long been in the company’s top 6 biggest geographies worldwide, with many of the company’s sales coming from IT and security executives who have long been using its products at home, Bitdefender Australia regional director Vaughn Madeley told CSO Australia.
“The growth has been phenomenal, and this is quintessentially the right timing for us,” he explained, citing “very healthy, double-digit growth numbers.”
Yet the broadening of the company’s business meant that “our objectives are a little more strategic outside of the revenues now,” Madeley added.
“Phenomenal” brand awareness meant that “the antivirus space will just continue to grow and continue to tick along,” he said, “but we have a strategy to move into other parts of the enterprise space.”
Tight integration with virtualisation hypervisors was a key selling point, since it allows security policies to be extended into private, public and hybrid cloud environments while maintaining consistent visibility across the enterprise.
This week, Bitdefender also launched its Advanced Threat Intelligence offering, an analytics service that underpins all manner of related security services.
Finding and hiring skilled security staff, however, had proven as challenging as the market continually reports.
Bitdfender currently has “like 45 headcounts” open but Madeley admits “there does seem to be a shortage of skilled sales and technical people.”
“It’s challenging,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there vying for the roles – but people are being smart in terms of not looking at the old players, but looking at the new, up and coming opportunities and what they will represent in terms of the growth of the business and scale of the opportunity.”
The company has been bolstering its enterprise credentials with moves such as the acquisition of the RedFox network security analytics platform, which has been rebranded to sit within Bitdefender’s growing range of security tools.
“Along with looking at the endpoint, we’re also sliding up into that network layer,” Madeley explains. “That means a different scale, a different skill set, and a different go-to-market model than what we would have with in-country partners.”
That Australia was helping lead that charge reflected its long history as a “testing ground”, he added: “you establish here and move out to other areas. It’s all part of the bigger picture.”
The company already has established country partners in countries like Japan and South Korea, he said, but the Australian investment “gives us the launching pad and ability to get an established base, and then scale from there.”
Bitdefender has also extended its global Partner Advantage Network (PAN) program to resellers in Australia and New Zealand, supporting a broad channel push that will bolster the range of solutions and services available to the company’s more than 500 local partners.
Madeley would not say whether the Australian expansion would also be accompanied by an investment in local data-centre capacity, although the company does maintain a regional network of points of presence (POPs).