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Shrenik Bhayani has over 17 years of sales leadership experience across the information & communication technology sector in the South Asia market. Mr Bhayani lists channel sales, distribution, business development to solution design, and support services among his areas of expertise. He also has a strong record of building channels and generating sources of revenue for a variety of system integrators, enterprises and SMB companies.

His previous assignments include serving as country manager for the India & South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) businesses at Unify India. Under his leadership, the business has been transformed from a more or less 100% direct sales to a complete indirect sales model. Shrenik has also held leadership positions in several other organization including Avaya and Orange Business Services. He holds an Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications from Mumbai, India.

Shrenik Bhayani is a seasoned ‘business professional’ and instead of exacting any ‘profession’ after using the adjective, a generalized term is used to magnify his ‘level of professionality in developing a whole game plan surrounding a product or service.

He is currently heading the operations of Kasperesky Lab for the South Asia region. That’s a position comes with lots of responsibility and adaptability, and of course a lot of travelling around the region. He recently came to Dhaka and Fintech team had the chance to meet with him.

Mr Bhayani came straight to the Kasperesky office in Mohakhali DOHS after attending some meetings with the C-Suits throughout the day. Such hectic schedule would have drained anyone else, but not Mr Bhayani. He answered all the queries that we made with patience of a monk. Here is the excerpt of the interview for the Fintech readers.

FINTECH: Can you shed some light on your career in brief? How do you come into the position of becoming the General Manager of South Asia region for the Kasperesky Lab?

S. Bhayani: I have over 18 years of leadership experience, primarily spending last 10 years of my life in channels and distribution. Earlier in my career, I had been a support engineer, then sales engineer and then I move into business development, channels and alliance. Before joining the Kasperesky Lab in October 2017, I was the country manager for the India & South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) businesses at Unify India. There, under my leadership, the business has been transformed from a more or less 100% direct sales to a complete indirect sales model. Before Unify, I worked in Avaya and Orange Business Services.

I did my bachelors in electronics and telecommunication and I am currently based in Mumbai.

Fintech: Now you are heading the South Asia operation of Kasperesky Lab which is primarily selling security solution and anti-virus. How important it is to have a specialized knowledge to run this operation? I mean do you need to possess both the knowledge of engineering and marketing to run it?

S. Bhayani: I have been with Kasperesky since last mid-October, so I haven’t spent much time here. Within this short period of time, it’s not possible to understand the ins and outs of the business selling complex specialized products like cyber security solutions and anti-virus. But I believe in my position I don’t actually need to do a lot of technical presentation. I need to have more business conversation than tech conversation.

But of course, knowing my products well is very important to me. My position also requires asking a lot of questions like—what is required to run the business and what is the logical way of making our products and services more essential to our customers and clients? I also need to ponder on the support that we need to extend to our channel partners in terms of doing business.

Yes, the technical understanding obviously helps me to get an idea of what is currently deployed and what are the new technologies that we are coming up with.

Fintech: Kasperesky is known in the Bangladeshi market for its anti-virus software. But it has lots of other products and services? Are those popular here as well?

S. Bhayani: Yes, there is no doubt that our anti-virus software has gained popularity in Bangladeshi market. That’s one of our products in the business-to-client (B2C) segment. In that segment, we also have some other products which are gaining increasing popularity. Those include Internet Security and Total Security. That’s just for the PCs.

We also have B2C product line for smartphones. We have internet security for Androids. We believe this product has great potential because the smartphone usage is increasing in geometric manner but unfortunately if you conduct a survey here in Bangladesh, you will see that nine out of ten smartphone users are not using any anti-virus software in the phone. While they don’t mind spending on the next version of Gorilla glass or an expensive phone cover on screen protections—all of which deals with external security, the customers here don’t think of spending on the security of the phone system. But I think that’s changing and that’s why I see great potential there.

Because when these people are made aware of the need of anti-virus in their smartphones, then there will be a lot of business in that segment.

We are also launching some new products in the B2C market. For example, we are launching Safe Kids in Bangladesh. Safe kids is not just about parental control, there are many aspects of how do you monitor the behavior of your kid using the smartphone. Our Safe Kids products will help parent doing that.

Fintech: The Business-to-Business (B2B) segment of Kasperesky is witnessing a growth worldwide. What is its condition in Bangladesh?

S. Bhayani: On the B2B side, we do business with large corporations and governments as well. We have been very strong in the end point market. Now before letting you know about our condition of B2B in the Bangladeshi market, let me tell you some aspects of the segment.

You have to understand that a lot of the new technologies get deployed in the market for over a period of five to ten years and cyber security landscape too get changed a lot in the same period. Cyber criminals are more matured now and they are plotting new attacks on the system all the time. So we have to evolve with our products and services. Our channel partners are also scaling up to deliver those qualities to the end customers.

The point is when you go for a B2B product or a service, if you don’t have the skillset in terms of implementing the right product and if you don’t have a coverage of service which you can deliver to the customers in terms of getting the whole value and delivering a great experience to the end customers, it does not really mean anything to your business client and you will lose your business there.

In B2B segment, we are little late in terms of our entrance if you compare it to other similar service providers. This is because we don’t acquire companies like most others; we build products of our own.There are not too many companies who have built their own products. That’s why we are very confident that on the B2B space, our products can do great wonders.

In Bangladesh, we already have a strong but sort of a silent presence in the B2B segment. Around 35 percent of our business here is in the B2B. In my recent visit, I talked with a number of customers and I have realized that there is a great need for the security of the organizations. Couple of customers that I met, they have already conveyed the message that they would allocate more budgets for the security of their organizations. So of course, I would say there are great potentials for Kasperesky in the B2B segment.

Fintech: Why there is a need for comprehensive security solutions for the businesses? What sort of products or services Kasperesky have for the B2B segment?

S. Bhayani: In a world where no network is completely secure, the businesses need to look for intrusion evidences proactively. A lot of corporations have experienced targeted attacks during the past year, with some malware staying undiscovered within corporate infrastructure for months. Hidden attacks are spreading in the network due to security teams often being overwhelmed when manually processing the sheer number of alerts generated by modern security solutions, while the most crucial incident indicators get lost in the noise.

Besides, even if an alert is noticed, understanding advanced threats requires strong threat analysis skills such as reverse engineering, malware analysis and digital forensics, which not all companies are lucky enough to possess.

To help companies go beyond reactive malware protection and to automate threat hunting, Kaspersky Lab has introduced a comprehensive endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution that features multi-layered detection and automated remediation across the entire network. I believe EDR is going to be the game changer.

We have a platform called KATA which is Kasperesky anti targeted attack platform. KATA uses multi-layered threat detection – including a granular assessment of activity occurring on a customer’s corporate network and endpoints – to help protect businesses and organizations against sophisticated threats and targeted attacks. KATA includes network, web and email sensors, as well as optional endpoint sensors that together help to detect threats – not just at the entry points – but wherever they arise within the customer’s IT infrastructure.

We already have a version 2.0 for it and we are coming up with version 3.0. That’s a big game changer for us as well.

Fintech: Does Kasperesky think of exploring more avenues in the security solution market?

S. Bhayani: Industrial cyber security is another new arena where we are exploring. There are increasing threats that people see coming in terms of cyber-attacks on large scale infrastructure. People are targeting power plants, power grids and refineries. There are even state-sponsored attacks on such establishments. We do have solution for industrial cyber security. We are working very closely with the government of India. We had couple meeting with the Bangladesh government as well. I hope we will be able to introduce this service here.

Also there are alternative model which I believe will evolve. For example, there are model with service providers in terms of offering it as subscription service. I don’t think there are any cyber security service providers who are providing service on subscription basis for the end customers in Bangladesh.

To explain what it is: let’s say GP or Robi comes up with an idea that if their subscribers use Kasperesky anti-virus in their phone, then they will charge Tk 50 for it in a month. When it goes on a subscription mode, it’s going to be way easier to handle any security threat of system breech because it will be backed by a proper support service. I think this subscription based security service has good potential in Bangladesh. ■

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