An Interview With Zakir Rangwala, Country Head at ESS Distribution

2nd March 2016 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |

“Keeping a strong, security-focused product portfolio along with strong and growth-oriented channel policies helps ESS Distribution achieve good returns from year to year.” –Zakir Rangwala, Country Head at ESS Distribution

Zakir Hussain Rangwala, Country Head at ESS DistributionESS Distribution provides a wide range of security solutions in Indian market designed to protect small, medium and large businesses, as well as individual users. The company offers a range of advanced IT security suits, data backup and recovery solutions, document recognition and data capture software, and various other solutions helping businesses of all scales organize the data and the intelligence effectively. The sales are executed through a vast network of Channel Partners across India. Since 2007, ESS Distribution Pvt Ltd. had been supplying ESET products in Indian market.

In an exclusive interview with Mouseworld Now, Zakir Rangwala, Country Head at ESS Distribution, Distributor of ESET products in India, privides sone critical insights into ESS Distribution’s business priorities and strategy for the Indian market. Edited Excerpts…

Q. As a leading provider of IT security solutions, what kind of distribution model do you adopt in India?

ESS Distribution provides a wide range of security solutions in Indian market designed to protect small, medium and large businesses, as well as individual users, and it is also first and trusted distributor of ESET brand in India. We have been promoting ESET consumer and enterprise solutions in the country since 2007.
The company is headquartered in Navi Mumbai and has large Pan-India presence through branch offices and representatives in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and other major cities. All our products and solutions are promoted in India via large channel network.
Our sales re divided in three verticals: Paper License, Retail boxes & Online licenses. In paper license business we have an established network of over 200 direct channel partners that includes medium and large system integrators and value added re-sellers.
In retail business, we divide sales and operations into four major regions – North, East, West & South that are further divided into major cities and districts. We generally appoint at least one distributor in every major area. We make sure that our channel policies in retail vertical reflect company’s strong beliefs in ethical business and commitments to its trusted distributors and partners and their respected channel network. Over these years the total network of partners working with ESS Distribution reached around 3000 companies across India with companies like Modi Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. in Delhi, Rachaita Infosoft Pvt. Ltd. and Amity Infosoft Pvt. Ltd.in Gujarat being some of our long-time partners.
Q. What is the USP of your products? How do you manage to maintain growth in face of stiff competition in the space where you are?

As we have learned in the past, the experience that users have with security products
eventually leads to the choice. People and companies want solid, reliable and user
friendly security solutions that can provide quality protection from malware as well as
the minimum impact on the performance. These are the kind of security solutions ESS
Distribution offers both in consumer and enterprise segments.

In India, ESET brand is famous for its flagship consumer products, ESET NOD32
Antivirus and ESET Smart Security. Last year ESET has launched new versions of ESET
Smart Security and ESET NOD32 Antivirus in India. These Version 9 products have some
completely new features that improve user experience and provide even better security,
especially for those users using their devices for extensive browsing, social media and
financial transactions. The updated versions have a redesigned graphical user interface
to improve usability and performance and are also compatible with Microsoft’s newest
operating system, Windows 10. Best of all, they continue to maintain the lightweight
footprint and high levels of protection for which ESET products are renowned.

Among enterprise clients ESET is known for its wide range of enterprise products such
as ESET Endpoint Antivirus and ESET Endpoint Security, ESET Endpoint Security for OS
X and ESET Endpoint Antivirus for OS X, ESET Endpoint Security for Android, ESET File
Security for Microsoft Windows Server and of course ESET Remote Administrator,
ESET’s remote management console, at the core of the business product range.

Q. What is behind the success of brand ESS in India so far?

Keeping a strong, security-focused product portfolio along with strong and growthoriented channel policies helps ESS Distribution achieve good returns from year to year. But the real answer to the question what helped ESS to succeed so far is first of all, our employees and secondly, our partners. Although we deal in software business, and I can spend hours discussing the unbeatable features of our software solutions, it is people that make software, sell it and support it. All credit goes to them.
I would like to emphasize that since the very beginning we have been following reseller
distribution pattern faithfully and although we do monitor policies constantly, so far we have not seen any reasons to change them. Any company promoting its brand and
services in the local markets in such a big and diverse country like India cannot grow
without having support of trusted partners, and that is what we value and nurture
despite adverse trends and developments in the industry. We value experience and
expertise that our partners have and that is why ESS Distribution is focused on
developing strong and long-term relation with partners.

As we offer many diverse security and business intelligence products and solutions in Indian market, we pay a lot of attention to providing sufficient sales and technical support to our partners across segments. It is especially important in case of SIs and VARs working with enterprise clients. We continuously invest in stepping up our own technical strength, increasing the number of technical support experts and advancing expertize. We also focus on providing more detailed technical training to our trusted partners, which is particularly important at a time when our product portfolio is being expanded in all categories and segments. Educating partners is essential for business growth of all the channel.

Q. As a leading brand, what major trends do you see in the Security space in 2016 in the Indian market?

Traditional cyber-threats are still a significant risk for both consumers and organizations, as well as governments and organizations. However, in past two years we have seen the shift towards Advanced Persistent Threats, or APTs, an overall different type of attacks tailor-made for particular victims. This will continue in coming years and India has to be prepared despite lack of information and evidence from Indian CERTs and other agencies.

Internet Of Things (IoT) will continue attracting cybercriminals as more and more devices storing crucial data are being connected to the Internet while the range of “things” being targeted by malware writers is becoming more diverse. While Windows will remain preferred target for malware writers, other platforms, Android especially will attract more and more attention that will result in growing number of attacks on Android devices.

Malware for smartphones and tablets will increase in order to get access to people’s data, contacts, passwords. In this regards, and in India particularly, we will continue seeing the rise in number of attacks on online payment systems and net-banking that today are widely used by people and businesses for managing their finances. We also may see evolvement of attacks targeting cloud services as cloud adoption by consumers and especially enterprise users for storing and sharing valuable and confidential data motivate cybercriminals focus on cloud service platforms and providers.

Q. Service support is considered the bedrock of success for any business. What kind of Service support ESS provides to its customers?

In security software, business service support is something more than just solving client’s problem. Your expertise and knowledge, your actions or their absence can influence someone’s live, in the sense that it may result in data loss or privacy being compromised.

At ESS Distribution, we have successfully combined the quality and simplicity of the products that we offer with paying extra attention to further performance of the infrastructure in whole. Be it SOHO or SME customer or a large enterprise, for any
category switching to a new security provider is painful and time-consuming. We ensure that we provide our existing and potential clients with such solutions that do not complicate the process further and help upgrade IT security without unnecessary costs.
Needless to say that with systems’ becoming more complex as well as cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, service and support staff face continuously escalating demands from the clients’ and partners’ end. We are constantly working on adopting better standards and strategies to advance our IT support department and its performance and to evolve support management. I am pleased to say that our technical experts are very self-motivated to learn and improve their skills and knowledge daily which is essential for organic growth of businesses and for growth of every single employee along with it.

Q. Any promotional activities adopted by ESS? Any threat from product piracy?

In end-user segment we mainly creating end-user awareness through online promotions, various social media campaigns, on-ground activities. Educating end-users is no less important than educating our partners’ technical stuff, and we have been doing it for year now using various channels from media to outdoor activations and online promotion. We particularly believe in the power of young people to bring many changes in the IT sphere, in our country especially, for that reason we are actively participating in educational events, conferences, we are partnering with young IT entrepreneurs to deliver knowledge in cyber-security to a larger audience.
Q. What is your key market strategy in India? Where would you like to see brand ESS five years hence?

We have always been focusing on expanding our network of trusted channel partners as well as our geography. Currently, corporate, government and educational segments account for about 60 per cent of ESS Distribution business. As a result of many years of our collaboration with channel partners across India, we, along with our partners, are proud of having secured many government organisations, large educational institutes as well as some of well-known Indian retail and FMCG brands.

Today we are also focusing on expanding our services to a wider range of business segments. We are looking at expanding to such segments as banking, telecom and retail, as we do have a great experience working with these particular segments in other countries, including Russia and CIS countries.

Five years down the line we see ourselves as one of the largest providers of advanced and innovative security and business intelligence solutions to Indian enterprises. We aim at significant positions in SME and SOHO segments as we realize that small business networks face the same threats as large enterprise networks, but have very limited budgets for IT expenditures and we select such products and solutions that can cater to this segment specifically.

Businesses in India are making many positive steps towards establishing stronger IT infrastructure security. We can see that investments in IT security are increasing constantly while many companies also ensure stronger BOYD and other security policies. At the same time IT security trends evolve form protecting devices to securing data or intellectual property, and the enterprises should constantly revise their security policies and adopt more sophisticated risk management solutions that allow them not only taking preventive measures but ensure real-time monitoring and control of the security situation. We believe our technological expertise and understanding of the industry, of clients’ needs and requirements will help us play the leading role in the progress of the IT security software segment in India.

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