Managed Detection and Response Powers F-Secure Growth

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According to Juha Kivikoski, F-Secure’s Executive Vice President of Enterprise & Channel Sales, the company’s biggest business today is corporate security, especially in the line of managed detection and response (MDR).

Last week, the Finnish cybersecurity firm’s unaudited financial statements revealed that revenue from corporate security increased by 48% to EUR 29.8 million in Q4 2018, culminating in a full-year increase of 33% to EUR 95.9 million.

“Before 2014, F-Secure’s business was 100% concentrated on endpoint protection. From 2015 onwards, F-Secure began to focus more on advanced security technologies,” said Juha at the F-Secure Asia-Pacific and Japan Partner Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand, last month.

Juha explained the growth of the corporate security segment as being due to cyberattacks becoming more focussed and advanced, increasing government regulations leading to the higher need for compliance, cyber-attacks from nation-states, the move into the cloud necessitating the need to secure data in transit, and digitalisation.

“MDR, especially, will become the core business for F-Secure. Many of the organisations are looking outside. They are thinking ‘Hey, we can’t manage our environment ourselves; we need to have some partners; we need some people who do security as a profession.’” Juha said.

Security consulting is another fast-growing area, with an increasing need for cybersecurity consulting that is not just academic and advisory in nature.

“In the last 3 months, 57% of all orders have been coming from these technologies, such as vulnerability management, MDR technologies, cloud protection, and of course consulting has also been playing a great role,” Juha further noted.

F-Secure’s extended portfolio of solutions allows it to offer a comprehensive range of solutions that cover the two markets it concentrates on. This portfolio includes leading-edge endpoint protection technology, vulnerability management (Radar), anti-phishing behavioural system (phishd), endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions, and MDR solutions (Countercept and RDS).

Mass attacks are handled by F-Secure’s endpoint protection, which is how it protects its customers from known attack vectors.

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Juha envisions that moving into the future, every customer buying endpoint technology will be buying EDR as well, with both technologies being brought together in a bundled solution. For the more advanced threats that can get through the endpoint protection, F-Secure has two elements to its solutions, including MDR. The first is technology that sorts through tens of millions of reported incidents around the world, and the second is the human understanding to assess its impact.

The managed services segment, in particular, is growing very fast, because it’s very expensive for companies to manage cybersecurity themselves.

“Building something similar to F-Secure’s rapid detection centre, where we analyse all the incidents we receives from our RDS solution, would cost USD2 million annually. Such services are marketed at high-profile companies who face a large number of cyberattacks,” Juha explained.

2019 promises to be another good year for F-Secure, with the company projecting revenue from corporate security to grow by over 30% compared to 2018. Indeed, revenue from corporate security is expected to grow above 15% annually during its strategy period 2018-2021.

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CEO Samu Konttinen was particularly pleased with the number of deals signed in several countries with regards to the company’s MDR solutions.

“Our customers choose us because of F-Secure’s AI-powered Broad Context Detection technology, unique threat hunting capabilities, and our ability to respond to attacks in real-time. This enables our customers to react to attacks faster and enables swifter recovery from them. As a result, customer satisfaction and renewal rates with existing installations have been very high. We continue to win new customers in demanding verticals such as finance and defence,” he had said in last week’s statement.

He was also upbeat about the company’s consulting business’s performance. “Our global presence in cybersecurity consulting is a real strength when serving international customers.”

F-Secure has 7,000 partners globally through which its products and services are available. Its current strategy is not to grow its number of partners; rather, it is to focus on increasing the quality of its partners from being simply resellers to service and solution providers.

Indeed, many of F-Secure’s partners are building their EDR capabilities, and many partners are building their service capabilities by using F-Secure’s MDR solutions. These partners complement F-Secure’s capabilities with their own service offerings, providing high value to their customers, while building a high-profit business for themselves.

“Our partners appreciate our partner-centric solution design and the unique “elevate to F-Secure” functionality, which allows them to directly work with F-Secure’s cyber security response teams in more demanding incidents,” Samu pointed out.

Here in the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) region, it is estimated that APJ contributes 20% of F-Secure’s business-to-business interest.

“We are in a geography of 16 countries, 3.8 billion people and GDP of $26 trillion, covering 25 million kilometres. Europe only has 20% of our area’s population, which is why there continues to be opportunities for us to grow tremendously,” said Keith Martin, the company’s Regional Director.

During the event, Keith emphasised the company’s ‘win-win’ philosophy for both F-Secure and partners.

“You – our partners – are an extension of F-Secure. In our region, we only have 37 sales and marketing staff but we have grown tremendously due to our partners’ efforts. And that’s how it should be – for us all to grow together.”

“What I really want is for our partners to expand on what they are doing and to expand their cybersecurity business. Your partnership with F-Secure is a strong platform for you to grow into the future,” added Keith (right, in pic below).

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