We talk to David Bennett, director of EMEA consumer business

Company profile: Webroot

Webroot has had a busy old year, and we’re only eight months in. The first half of 2010 has seen the security software firm set up a new international office, made strategic acquisitions and expanded its upper management team with several new appointments.

Since its foundation in 1997, when it focused predominantly on the anti-spyware market, the privately held company has grown to employ over 450 members of staff worldwide, with plans to add many more in the coming months.

The firm appears to be flourishing in an environment that has caused many to struggle over the past couple of years. “Webroot has fared extremely well, our SaaS business has seen double digit growth and our consumer business is seeing a similar ramp. Webroot has also added over 50 employees during the last six months and just announced the purchase of BrightCloud, extending our IP ownership,” David Bennett, Webroot’s director of EMEA consumer business development, tells PCR.

The buy-out of web content classification and security services provider BrightCloud follows a deal to acquire leading corporate security firm Email Systems Scandinavia earlier this year, and is part of the firm’s “bid to drive innovation in cloud-based protection”.

“The acquisition will allow Webroot to deliver cloud-based web security offerings for both business and consumers alike,” says Bennett. The firm now plans to integrate BrightCloud’s technology with its own malware detection and security-as-a-service technologies.

As well as the acquisitions, Webroot also recently established a new international headquarters in Dublin, adding to its numerous offices in the UK, the US, Sweden, Japan and Australia. The new base in the Irish capital houses Webroot’s EMEA and Asia Pacific teams across areas including sales, marketing, engineering and customer support.

“The move into Ireland is a strategic one that will enable us to develop a strong foothold within the Irish IT security market and establish Webroot as a leader in Ireland,” comments Bennett. “Ireland is a key growth territory for Webroot; currently there’s no clearly established leader in security-as-a-service in the region. Webroot’s security-as-a-service solutions have already proven themselves to bring benefits of function, protection and reduced operating cost to businesses across the UK.”

The new office has been complemented by an expansion of the company’s partner programme, which it hopes will attract a number of new enterprise cloud security resellers.

“Webroot’s partner programme brings a whole host of opportunities and benefits to the Irish channel. It provides partners with the opportunity to increase revenue quickly and benefit from comprehensive training tools. In addition, our partners can leverage award-winning services from Webroot backed up by 24/7 technical and sales support,” claims Bennett.

Webroot has also bolstered its position in global market by making a number of executive appointments, including a new vice president of worldwide service and support, a vice president of corporate development and a vice president of North American retail sales the latter being former Symantec retail sales director Lee Allen.

Of course, all this investment in expansion would mean nothing if the firm didn’t keep up-to-date with the changing security landscape, which Bennett says has moved on hugely since the firm was set up. “Security challenges have exploded from what was a virus-centric business to a market where it’s the person and the hardware, rather than just the hardware, that’s under attack,” Bennett says.

“Attacks are driven now by monetary generation rather than a set of hackers looking to prove a point by accessing secure systems; the fastest growing business is now cyber crime. We are an increasingly connected world securing that is now more than just securing your device.”

But devices themselves are also providing real opportunities for security software vendors to provide additional solutions. The rise of smartphones and, more recently, tablets, means consumers are risking cyber attacks on their mobile devices as well as their home PCs.

“Tablets are great as they increase our ease of connecting to the web. The challenge is, as with the mobile phone market, that there are a number of operating systems. The real challenge is not just protecting the hardware by moving what was ‘PC security’ towards ‘personal web security’. Protecting users as they surf the web from malicious code is the real opportunity,” suggests Bennett.

As for the future, the firm intends to hire 50 new staff for the Dublin office over the next two years, helping it to grow even further.

“Webroot will continue on our global expansion, extending our business as a leader in security-as-a-service for consumers and SMBs,” concludes Bennett.

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