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Consumerization of IT drives need for encryption

Big organizations get hacked too — and their sensitive data falls into the hands of hackers. But the stories that really get reported in the press are the ones that everybody likes to read – the most recent one being the incident about online cheating site Ashley Madison. Other widely reported hacks are Apple iCloud, where nude celebrity photos stored in personal digital lockers were accessed by hackers –- or the Sony hack in protest against a parody film on North Korea’s leader.

Now what if you or your organization were the next victim? How would it feel to know that someone is prepared to sell your business secrets to a competitor?

A survey conducted by encryption company WinMagic and Harris Interactive asked some 2,000 American consumers two basic questions: What kind of info is on your laptop? And what do you do to secure it?

71 percent responded that they secure their devices with antivirus and firewall. Only about 14 percent actually encrypt the device. And only 56 percent of respondents said that they password-protect their devices.

While this survey was conducted with consumers, you can expect similar results in organizations, where consumerization of IT has gained prominence.

Why isn’t everyone taking security seriously? Is it something that’s perceived to be too difficult or technical to implement?

WinMagic, a data security company based in Ontario, Canada, is trying to change that by making security seamless and simple.

Mark Hickman, Chief Operating Officer, Winmagic
Mark Hickman, Chief Operating Officer, Winmagic

Digital Creed met Mark Hickman, Chief Operating Officer, Winmagic to discuss how his company is trying to protect organizations from such hacks. WinMagic offers disk encryption technology and services.

“If you look at IT security, 10 or 15 years ago, it was highly restricted. They blocked sites, prevented downloads and had a lot of restrictions. The consumerization of IT changed all that. You can’t block social media channels today because the company is actually using that to engage with customers,” said Hickman. “With that has come this ability for end users in corporation to tell Security what they want and need.”

WinMagic feels encryption is the best way to secure data. “We want to make it so easy for the end user that they don’t even know the device is encrypted,” said Hickman. “You can’t lock out users. They expect to do what they want, when they want. The number one problem for CISOs is consumerization.”

WinMagic develops a full disk-encryption software, SecureDoc, which ensures protection of sensitive information stored on desktops and laptops minimizing business risks and meet privacy and regulatory compliance requirements of enterprises.

The private company has a global footprint and entered the Indian market two years ago. It has sales, marketing and support operations. It started to ramp up operations in the past nine months and is working with multiple tier-2 channel partners across the country.

“We see India as a rapidly growing market for Security solutions as privacy laws become more relevant and global compliances become more prevalent; globalised Indian businesses will have to adopt those standards,” said Hickman.

Hickman said India is an important growing market for WinMagic and it will build its business through the channel partner network. It would target sectors where compliance is important: BFSI, retail, healthcare etc.

WinMagic’s tier-1 partner (VAR) in India is Technobind Solutions. It will ramp up adding partners. And it has a program to train these partners in the sales and technical aspects. It has appointed multiple channel partners in the different regions across the country.

“We sold more solutions in the July Q3 quarter than we sold in the first two quarters. I expect our business in India to grow 300 – 400 percent in the next year, and then I would expect it to double,” said Hickman.

Its India operations expanded steadily over the past two years. Starting with just one employee in India, today it employs 12 people and it is looking to expand its team here.

Hickman did not specify how much WinMagic will invest in India, but said the company is committed to making more investments as its India business grows exponentially.

Some of its customers in India include one of the top four consulting companies, one of the biggest agri-machinery companies, a large IT/ITES player, some major Indian BPOs, and a luxury soap brand. So its client portfolio spans across diverse sectors.

WinMagic considers itself a horizontal solutions company that wants to help various companies secure their data. The top three verticals it will focus on are BFSI, IT/ITES and Manufacturing. Eventually, it will also focus on Government, Healthcare and Education.

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Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira is an Indian journalist based in Mumbai. He has 25 years of technology journalism experience, and he's well known in the Indian IT industry. He is the former Editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines in India and has written technology articles for India's leading newspapers groups such as The Times of India and Indian Express Newspapers. Brian also writes on Aviation, startups and covers topics directed at small and medium businesses. He also has event experience and once put together the conference program for CeBIT and INTEROP events in India. Email: brian9p@gmail.com Twitter: @brian9p Linkedin: https://in.linkedin.com/in/pereirabrian

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