Malwarebytes, Upguard and Cisco the latest to tap into buoyant Australian security market

New office openings support efforts to secure local security expertise, cozy up to security-conscious enterprises

Australia’s burgeoning cybersecurity market continues to attract investment as security vendors ramp up their local presence to woo businesses searching for increasingly sophisticated malware solutions.

The launch of an Australian presence by endpoint-security stalwart Malwarebytes – which has spread technical staff between Sydney and Melbourne as well as appointing senior management to head the division – is a direct play for the local business market, where new ANZ regional director Jim Cook says brand recognition has already helped the company build a loyal customer base for its kernel-level malware detection and remediation technology.

“Australia has traditionally been a pretty good market even without people here,” he told CSO Australia. “But the reason to have people here is to push the brand awareness and visibility from our traditional SMB and consumer space, into the enterprise market.”

Malwarebytes is focusing on Australian businesses with 500 to 5000 seats and has shifted from having a “mishmash” of market channels to a two-tier distribution and channel model that will “formalise” the company’s approach to the local market.

The company is just the latest in a string of firms that have expanded their investments in the Australian market, where businesses are investing heavily in cybersecurity given growing awareness of the risks of data loss, the looming risk of public embarrassment due to impending breach-disclosure laws, and a broad understanding that skilled security staff are becoming harder and harder to find.

Cisco Systems last week joined the queue by opening an expansive new office in North Sydney, following on the heels of similar investments by the likes of security vendors Mimecast, Trend Micro, and Cylance.

Also joining the party is Upguard, an Australian business-resilience startup that moved to Silicon Valley soon after its establishment five years ago. After years of growth that has been pegged at 300 percent year on year and seen the company raise over $27m in funding, an investment by Australian insurer IAG convinced the company’s management to invest in the region by opening a Sydney office.

The office, which opened this week, will be managed by former Alcatel-Lucent executive Gerry Sillars and former Commonwealth Bank general manager Dan Bradbury, and supported by sales and engineering expertise to support the company’s local growth. Among the items on the company’s to-do list: developing a range of cyber insurance products and building an Australian development centre.

"We've always remained connected to the Australian market, where it all began for us," said co-CEO Mike Baukes in a statement. “But with more and more companies back home recognizing that robust cyber risk management is critical to their survival and success, we want to ensure we are set up to manage the demand. We're excited to expand our local presence and continue taking advantage of homegrown talent."

That talent is rapidly gaining a who’s-who of employers to choose from as the market continues to soak up local skills as fast as universities and training centres can produce them. And no matter where they end up, they’ll likely be involved in efforts not too dissimilar from that at Malwarebytes, which is plundering a library of malware detecting and stopping technologies to launch highly scalable, business-focused tools for repairing malware damage – and stopping it altogether before it causes any damage.

“Our expectation is that everyone in the enterprise space should understand that Malwarebytes is a business-ready product,” said Justin Dolly, who joined the company as its first-ever CISO in the middle of last year.

As well as opening its Sydney office, the company this week announced the acquisition of Italian anti-malware, anti-exploit, anti-rootkit, cloud AV and sandbox startup Saferbytes.That company’s Deepbiz threat-intelligence platform reflects the types of capabilities that Malwarebytes will bring to the enterprise market – and will, Cook hopes, help it establish its enterprise credentials in the local market.

“The fact that we can remediate [malware attacks] so well continues to inform all of our detection techniques,” he said, highlighting the “significantly growing area of concern” posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the value a product design philosophy that includes tight integration with complementary technologies – both those that the company acquires, and others that customers already have in place.

“There’s no single technology that can tackle all of the security threat,” he explained. “There’s too much surface. So we’ve gone out of our way to make sure we integrate and play well with others. We find that by being incredibly nimble and fast, we can stem the tide of ransomware.”