RSA increases regional focus

Security vendor plans on muscling in on Middle East market.

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By  Sean Robson Published  April 4, 2009

Security vendor plans on muscling in on Middle East market.

RSA is looking to deliver more consulting services and achieve better integration with EMC to meet growing demand.

In the midst of the current financial crisis security vendor RSA is confident that the situation presents itself as one with real opportunity for growth and success.

"Security is rising up the stack of priorities. No doubt that the recession will impact the security industry in terms of its growth but I see a very strong pipeline of projects," declared Chris Johnson, vice president EMEA, RSA.

Security is clearly a high growth market place and we wanted to optimise that growth.

"I would say we as RSA are going to be competing for dollars and winning them perhaps over the more traditional things. Customers are now looking for optimisation and to capitalise on technologies like virtualisation to reduce cost this means that security becomes a higher and higher priority," Johnson added.

The RSA vice-president was in the region meeting with both partners and customers to discuss the challenges facing the security market as well as RSA's strategy going forward. Johnson said that many customers are very nervous about the loss of intellectual property, especially in the current climate, with concerns that intellectual property disappears with people who lose their jobs.

"Security is definitely on the rise and it is probably about exploiting the opportunity, not from a technology basis but helping security become more a part of the security furniture going forward rather than point solutions," continued Johnson.

EMC acquired RSA in 2006 and since then the security arm has moved to the very core of what the storage major does while using EMC's undoubted strength in the market to leverage its offerings.

"Security is clearly a high growth market place and we wanted to optimise that growth and one of the core strategies was to identify the hubs of growth, the Middle East absolutely comes up as one of those hubs. I am in the region because we have some great customer relationships with EMC and we are now seeing a huge demand from the same customers to talk about security," said Johnson.

A common theme that Johnson has been hearing from thought leaders as he travels across the region is the desire to have security managed centrally. In addition, he believes that the market is moving away from product-based approaches and quick fixes to solutions with increased longevity.

"The move to security operation centres is a big theme at the moment; this comes as a result of the need to have all the security capability managed all in one place. Customers are asking us not only to help them combat security threats like fraud and data leakage but simply to help them understand the problems as a lot of organisation cannot grasp the entirety of the problem. In government we are increasingly getting involved at very senior levels to help them educate their own sub departments about the threats and challenges of security," Johnson said.

According to Johnson, this all indicates an overall shift away from a product-based buying approach. Johnson says that the users are seemingly switching to an approach based on who the big players are with the deep pockets and a continuing R&D strategy.

"This is very much our strategy at the moment, we have a very strong parent company which is information related so we are very connected in terms of the strategy with the parent. EMC has deep pockets and is a very prudent company. So we expect to be around a long time and that is what customers want. The smaller niche players may not survive this," Johnson pointed out.

The latter part of 2008 saw an increase in the number of malicious attacks and security breaches worldwide and this year promises to be equally as challenging if not more so. There are a number of new risks that enterprises must now account for Johnson warns.

As many companies look to scale back on investment or freeze growth Johnson says that RSA will continue to grow and develop in the Middle East. "We invested a lot in the second half of 2008 to scale out the team here. What we are doing is leveraging EMC. For instance, EMC has built up a big infrastructure consulting team in the region and we are now very much linked in with those guys ," said Johnson.

The coming year is set to test these goals in a real way.

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