Finland’s WithSecure looks to Malaysia, Southeast Asia for sustainable cybersecurity growth

CYBERSECURITY specialist WithSecure Corp (formerly F-Secure Business) sees great opportunities in Asia-Pacific, particularly in Southeast Asia where it has taken steps to accelerate its expansion.

The Finnish establishment is currently actively seeking new partners in the region to ‘fast track’ its expansion plans. It recently set up a regional sales office in Singapore and has forayed into the Philippines, according to its president and CEO Juhani Hintikka (main pic).

Nevertheless, Malaysia remains an important strategic market where WithSecure hosts its only Tactical Defence Unit outside of Helsinki.

“We have been in Malaysia since 2005 and do many things out of Kuala Lumpur for the global market,” Hintikka told a media conference recently.

He sees demand for WithSecure’s security-as-a-service (SaaS) not just from the large enterprises but from the mid-market as well.

“In many ways, our sweet spot is probably the middle market – we bring enterprise grade capabilities to mid-market customers,” he said, noting that WithSecure focuses more on the upper-end of the mid-market as these corporations would have the need for more advanced cybersecurity solutions.

Business prospect

Though its development focus is not on smaller companies, this segment is still important for WithSecure; some 120,000 of its 140,000 customers globally are below 50 seats.

“We’ve made it very simple for the smaller companies and for us. We have automated interaction … One of the good things about our product offering is that it’s very modular in nature – you can start small and then expand on the same platform,” Hintikka said.

Moreover, WithSecure also offers flexible pricing mechanism which gives the company lots of market flexibility.

Hintikka believes what sets WithSecure apart is its market approach. Acknowledging that nobody can solve every problem cybersecurity problem alone, it coined the phrase ‘co-security’ which is about solving complex problems through collaboration and complementing competencies.

Having a cybersecurity consulting arm within the company also gives it valuable insights, keeping it attuned to the every-changing cyberthreat landscape.

“We serve some very large companies which are very advanced and also the target for very advanced attacks. For example, in the financial sector which is the primary vertical for our consulting business, we serve six out of the 10 largest banks in the world for advance cybersecurity consulting,” revealed Hintikka.

“That gives us information on where the market is going and what kind of threats are coming.”

Opportunities in Malaysia

On the question on how WithSecure views the cybersecurity landscape in Malaysia, Hintikka said “on the general level, the same thing applies here as in elsewhere”.

“The largest enterprises here have probably done it (cybersecurity in place) to some degree. Next is the mid-market that needs to be protected,” he projected.

This is an area where WithSecure sees great opportunity in Malaysia. Its Malaysian-based regional director (APAC) Yong Meng Hong (pic below, right) noted that that cybersecurity awareness in the country had expanded greatly due to the work from home (WFH) culture and online home study during the COVID-19 outbreak.

(From left) Gopi Ganesalingam, Juhani Hintikka and Yong Meng Hong

He added that other than the commercial side of things, WithSecure also works with government agencies like the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) to tackle cyberattacks, scams, spam etc.

Meanwhile, MDEC senior vice president Gopi Ganesalingam (pic above, left) acknowledged that WithSecure serves as an example of a success story for Malaysia in attracting global brand names to work and lift the local ecosystem.

“WithSecure is today one of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies protecting critical business functions throughout the four corners of the globe,” justified Gopi.

“Being based out of Malaysia serves as testimony of how Malaysian talent complements WithSecure’s innovative approach to cybersecurity for the benefit of international companies.” – March 20, 2023

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