During the recent ESET Press Tour in Bratislava, we received an update about what the security company is currently doing and what the plans for the future are. Last year we were also present, and then, it turned out that the company had a clear vision about where it wanted to go in the future: to become a challenger of the big cybersecurity companies. In the meantime, the company has succeeded, claiming to be number four in the world and the number one in Europe. This year there is still a clear vision for the future. Furthermore, the Press Tour was certainly also about the research itself, and a lot of new discoveries and research were shown. Reason enough for an update on the current state of affairs at the Slovak cybersecurity company.
It soon became clear what was the theme of the Press Tour after we saw countless new malware discoveries and other revelations from ESET’s researchers: ESET’s research expertise is of quite a high level, and the media should know that as well. A significant part of the revelations related to nation-state actors, cyberattacks from certain countries aimed at institutions in other countries. For example, it was shown that the CozyBear collective, also known by other names such as The Dukes or APT29, was still active. Since 2017 they seemed to have disappeared from the radar, but ESET discovered that only their working methods had changed. This group, which is linked to Russian security forces, has among other things gained access to the systems of the American Democratic Party. ESET was not afraid to attribute the attacks to Russia in clear terms, which indicates how confident the company is of its own research.
As far as the company’s solutions are concerned, it is, of course, active in endpoint security for consumers, but ESET can also help business customers. Earlier this year, for example, it introduced a new enterprise portfolio to combat constantly evolving cyber threats. At the event in Bratislava, it also became clear that ESET researchers are involved in a wide range of tasks, from fighting malware in private endpoints to discovering data leaks in large gaming service providers. The company also announced that it has several large enterprise customers, and is also active in Android security. In short, ESET secures a number of different attack surfaces and can, therefore, serve a wide range of customer groups. In that respect, it says enough that the company services 600,000,000 users worldwide.
Expertise goes hand in hand with ambition
The thorough research and expertise used to contrast with the presentation of the company. Nowadays, however, there is no sign of this anymore. Michael van der Vaart, CTO at ESET Netherlands, explains that ESET was founded in the communist era. This background, in the early 90’s, sometimes caused some delays in marketing and PR, but in the meantime this is no longer an issue. The vision for the future of the company was clearly put on the map in the keynote speech of the event. The number of employees has now grown to 1700, and there are plans to build new headquarters. This big agglomeration of offices should not only serve as a center for ESET in Europe, but also worldwide. A start-up incubator will be integrated into the complex to promote innovation and creativity in the European cybersecurity business. In addition, a clear goal has been set to reach the top three in the cybersecurity market worldwide.
In short, ESET wants to build on the central position it already has in Europe, but also use its position to promote cybersecurity innovation and research in Europe. The latter is, in our view, a welcome addition in the EU, as ESET’s experience with European legislation and regulations can be of great value for start-ups and scale-ups in cybersecurity.
ESET is on its way to realising their vision of the future. As we saw last year, ESET works with a kind of franchise system, in which they work together with local branches. In this way, ESET is represented at several places in Europe. From the discussions with Van der Vaart, we notice that the cooperation between the head office and the local branch is going well. He states that ESET is not afraid to show its expertise, which is in line with our impressions after the presentations at the event. According to Van der Vaart, it is important that this strong presentation continues to take place in order to consolidate ESET for the public as one of the world’s top players.
In short, ESET’s research, expertise and global presence are impressive. Almost all of the discoveries we heard were significant for the broader world of cyber security, due to their (potentially) great impact on society. ESET’s vision is clear and we are curious to see how the company will develop as a European cybersecurity hub. Projects such as the new offices will certainly contribute to this development. At Techzine, we are therefore very curious as to how ESET will look in the future.