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Safeboot kicks its way into Middle East market

Mobile data protection and access control solutions vendor Safeboot has entered the Middle East market by inking a distribution contract with Dubai-based security specialist Comsec. The pair will initially go to work on the UAE market, but the scope of the deal also includes other territories of the Gulf region where Comsec is present.

Mobile data protection and access control solutions vendor Safeboot has entered the Middle East market by inking a distribution contract with Dubai-based security specialist Comsec. The pair will initially go to work on the UAE market, but the scope of the deal also includes other territories of the Gulf region where Comsec is present.

Netherlands-based Safeboot already boasts extensive coverage of the European market, as well as South Africa, but believes the increasingly sophisticated security needs of customers in the Middle East warrant its arrival in the region.

“We have seen more and more interest come out of this region during the year and it has been one of my focus areas to get some activity started and look for possible partners,” said Daan-Jeroen Hakkert, channel manager EMEA at Safeboot.

He added: “A lot of companies like to be supported locally. If they have their head office somewhere else and a branch office in Dubai, they like the fact that they can walk around the corner and be helped with the same problems. That’s why we have chosen this local distribution model. For instance, we have a worldwide deal with Matsushita Panasonic and they want to roll that out here in the Middle East as well. This has to be done and supported by Comsec, which is another argument for having a strong presence in this area.”

Comsec is authorised to carry the core of Safeboot’s security catalogue, including its device encryption, content encryption, port control, USB and e-mail encryption solutions. Assad Haddad, managing director at Comsec, claims the products fit neatly into its offering: ‘Security technology is evolving tremendously fast and this is leading us to add more products covering new areas of the security portfolio. We are already a distributor for companies such as Crossbeam so this completes the picture in terms of having the vendors required to address the market properly.”

Safeboot — which counts vendors such as Pointsec and Utimaco as its chief opponents — draws more than 40% of its business from the banking and financial sector, and expects this vertical to drive its development in the Middle East. Hakkert also claims that the telecommunications sector is demonstrating a healthy demand for mobile data security solutions.

He added: “Now is the time for this market to harvest. Since 2002 we have grown at an average of 70% a year and if I’m talking EMEA then last year I doubled the business, and this year it will double again. The demand comes from a necessity because although the world is getting more transparent, companies still feel the need to keep their data –which at the end of the day is their advantage – inside. It is also driven by regulations. Publicly owned companies, especially in Europe, have to take personal responsibility for data loss if it impacts stock market value. CEOs don’t want to wake up in the night sweating because somebody has lost a laptop and now the stock market value of the company has dropped by a couple of million,” concluded Hakkert.

Safeboot boasts more than three million active licenses and 3,000 customers in more than 60 countries throughout the world. The company posted EBIT of US$10m on sales of US$24m in 2005, but expects to exceed that this year. It forecasts a US$14.3m operating profit on sales of US$36m come the end of 2006.

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