Computer Crime Research Center


Casting a wide net for cyber crims

Date: February 05, 2008

STEVE Redman is pumped, and ready to save the world. The Hong Kong-based ex-Melburnian is four weeks into his new role as Asia Pacific president of security company McAfee.

He came from enterprise software giant EMC where, he says, he "tried to get pumped about document management".

"But in IT security, I can make a difference to the world. It sounds wanky, I know, but it's true. We're going to catch criminals. Cybercrime is often linked to physical crime. There are not many places in IT where you can potentially make a real difference."

From his Hong Kong base, Mr Redman will be at the frontier of IT security - in one of the fastest-growing markets for his products: but also close to some of the biggest security challenges.

He got a sense of the problem at last month's US Department of Defense Cyber Crime Conference, learning that the volume of cybercrime grew by 54% in the last year. And right on his doorstep is China, identified as a growing hotbed of cybercrime.

But he got a sense of the opportunity in the statistic that the PC market will double in the next six years, with much of that growth coming from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, two of which are in his bailiwick.

He's particularly excited about the opportunities in India. There, as in Australia, McAfee is No. 2 in the market behind Symantec. But the gap is closer, and the market much less mature.

Australia is a $300 million market for McAfee's corner of the IT security market: anti-virus, spyware and similar products. But India's is only $50 million, with a lot of maturing yet to do. "I want us to be No. 1 in both markets but realistically I'm not likely to do that in Australia in the next two years," Mr Redman says. "India is moving so quickly you can do it in two years."

Mr Redman has several strategies to snatch Symantec's crown. First, he wants to remove a perception that McAfee is a "me-too" of its bigger rival. "I don't want to be a 'me too' so we are going to change our 'go-to-market'," he says. "Symantec is 100% channel (selling through business partners). We are going to work with the channel but also go through the channel to the customers. There's an element of risk there, but customers like it. It's like the Cisco model: they have reps that represent their brand to the customer, explain what they do. "Our biggest issue is customer knowledge - everyone knows we are a leader in anti-virus, but we have products in two other markets (spyware and network security) that we want to push. "I'm strong in customer focus and that's going to be our focus."

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