Security solutions sales expected to climb
This year is going to be a good year for security solutions providers as more local organizations are expected to pump up their investments in security. Telecommunication providers, government agencies, as well as big and small companies in the financial, retail, transportation and manufacturing industries seem to have finally realized the value of security in their respective organizations.
"There has been an overwhelming response among local companies when it comes to security. We noted that even small and medium companies have become zealous in developing an IT security strategy of their own. Organizations are taking decisive actions -- from the simplest installation of anti-virus software to the more thorough deployment of a consolidated security solutions," Computer Associates International Inc. country manager for the Philippines Lysander "Lei" Salcedo told members of the press in an interview.
For instance, Salcedo disclosed that his company is currently engaged in implementing numerous security-related projects. And these are in addition to the substantial number of leads CA is pursuing with regards its eTrust offering.
"We expect at least 25 percent of our 2003 annual revenue to come from our security portfolio. But with the way things are going, I am almost certain that I can exceed that figure," he said.
In 2002, CA's security product eTrust accounted for only about 10 percent of the company's annual revenues. This year, with no less than one fourth of its revenues coming from security solutions, CA's eTrust has emerged as the strongest revenue earner for the company's local operation.
"The government, for one, is dead serious about security. Numerous agencies have already approached us, and we're currently ironing out a security strategy fit for their specific needs," Salcedo said.
Apart from the public sector, telecom providers, and the financial industry -- CA's traditional customers -- the retail, transportation and manufacturing sectors are now helping fuel the local adoption of security solutions. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are also increasingly becoming more receptive about security, especially now when more security solutions are becoming more affordable even for smaller firms.
"Security solutions are not cheap -- and that is probably the reason they were not that popular before. It takes a lot of convincing on the part of the CIO to make the CEO approve any investment on security. But now that data and information have become so valuable to the organization, security investments have somehow become easier to justify," Salcedo said.
"For instance, now that the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) scare has restrained a lot of business travels, a lot of communication has to be coursed through electronic correspondences. Of course, if I am the sender of the data, I want only the rightful recipient of the information to get hold of whatever document I send out, and vice versa. There is no way I can do this, unless I deploy a security solution," he said.
With CA's FlexSelect licensing program, even smaller firms can actually set up their own security infrastructure with minimum cost, Salcedo noted. FlexSelect is a subscription-type licensing program that allows the customers to, in effect, lease a CA security solution. Customers need not pay the whole cost outright as they can subscribe on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis.
According to Salcedo, the original intent of the program is to make CA's security solutions affordable to the greatest number of users, in the greatest number of markets. Also, customers are not tied down to one technology, allowing them greater flexibility in implementing their own security strategy.
"At the moment, FlexSelect is gaining a very favorable acceptance among SMEs, and I feel that we will tremendously increase our user base with this program," he said.
With this anticipated growth, CA will be investing heavily on the training of its strategic partners this year. Currently, the company has about 10 system integrator partners strategic alliances, and three distributors.