An interview with Maxim Mitrokhin, Kaspersky Director of Operations, Asia Pacific region on the eve of Kaspersky's global launch of the 2015 edition
How big of an honour is it when one of the largest anti-virus software developers in the world decides to launch their latest anti-virus software in your country? Well, depends on how visible the country is on the global map. Kaspersky chose Bangladesh as the first country to launch the 2015 edition of their world-famous and fiercely dependable anti-virus software, and on the occasion called a Meet the Press event. Chief guest was the Asia-Pacific regional director of operations, Maxim Mitrokhin. Bytes caught up with him and Prabeer Sarker, CEO of OfficExtracts, the authorized distributor of Kaspersky Anti-Virus in Bangladesh, for a quick chat.
Kaspersky has been in operation in Bangladesh for quite some time now. How important is Bangladesh in Kaspersky's global plans?
Maxim: “It's not always about the numbers. There are several countries where the numbers are bigger in terms of sales and customers, but in Bangladesh's case, its about the love and acceptance we have from our customers, and it's about the size of our share in the market.”
In terms of the products on sale, is Kaspersky currently targeting any specific customer base?
Maxim: “Generally we have two customer groups: B-to-C and B-to-B. B-to-C is Business to Consumers (home users, individuals, etc.), which is where we have focused till now and one where we already have the larger portion of the market. The other group, B-to-B, or Business to Businesses, is a group we are expanding into currently, so we are looking into the prospects of engaging businesses, banks, and corporations with our products. But it's not the case that they are two different segments, we treat both customer groups as running parallel.
In terms of product development, does Kaspersky have any plans of opening up an R&D division in Bangladesh?
Maxim: “At the time being, no. Our main R&D operations is mainly based out of Russia, and a lot of the work being done is overseen by Eugene Kaspersky right now, so we don't see the need for expanding our R&D operations to other countries right now. Maybe in the future, if the need arises.”
Since Bangladesh is a large market for Kaspersky and the problems of a language barrier does exist, are there any plans to launch a translated version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus software here?
Prabeer: “China has local language versions of Kaspersky products, so it is nothing new. It would not actually be impossible to launch a Bengali translated version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus in Bangladesh, since Bengali is now included in the Unicode. But right now, we are not seeing any such activities. The possibilities are there, I will be fighting for it, because in Bengali we can get rid of the language barrier fully. Maybe small steps towards it can be taken, such as converting the Kaspersky logo into Bengali.”
Maxim: “One point that should be made here, our software runs in the background. Once you install it, it is designed to be forgotten about, till a threat is detected. So that limits the user interaction with the software, so anyone can use the software even if their language skills are not proficient enough. But, like Prabeer said, if there is demand for a translated version of the software, we will look into it.”
If we look at the case of Bangladesh, where the majority of the computer users are using pirated software right down to their operating systems, it is a bit odd to see that they are quite eager to buy original anti-virus software at almost whatever the cost. Do you think it's an issue, that these customers are potentially buying Kaspersky products to safeguard their PCs against illegal torrent downloads and the viruses that come along with pirated downloads?
Prabeer: “If I have a licensed gun and I use it to rob a bank, it is actually not the gun licenser or gun manufacturer's fault, to see it in that way. Ethics has a major role to play. Piracy is a major issue in Bangladesh, second ranked in the world in terms of pirated software usage with almost 91% piracy rate. As far as anti-piracy laws are concerned, we are a hundred percent in favour of the push to make original software mainstream, because our software works alongside regular updates of the operating system. The vulnerability of the PCs come from the pirated versions of the OS, so it is in our interest as well as the customers' interests that original software be used.http://www.thedailystar.net/bytes/kasperskys-the-limit-32181