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“Information security is becoming a boardroom topic:” Amit Malhotra, VP (Sales – India, Middle East & Africa), Seclore

Amit Malhotra, VP (Sales – India, Middle East & Africa), Seclore
Amit Malhotra, VP (Sales – India, Middle East & Africa), Seclore

Incubated at IIT Mumbai, Seclore, an Enterprise Digital Rights Management firm, over the last 18 months has heavily invested in channels and changed its business mix from a direct to an indirect model in India. In a chat with The Red Mark, Amit Malhotra, VP (Sales – India, Middle East & Africa), Seclore, talks about why companies like Seclore are becoming more relevant in today’s highly unsecured digital world.

Today, why do firms need the help of companies like yours more than ever?

As cybercrime becomes more sophisticated and more pervasive, the inherent threats from misuse of sensitive documents grows. The rise of BYOD, mobility and a huge volume of unstructured data cannot be handled by traditional means of securing end point hardware. Email conversations, chat and cloud- based file shares are creating colossal challenges for data protection and here, Seclore plays a huge key role.

Our focus on data-centric security ensures that any type of document will remain protected throughout its lifecycle, wherever it travels. Partnering closely with customers, we combine deep industry expertise and uniquely open and scalable persistent data-centric technology to seamlessly extend security beyond the perimeter of organization. The result is effortless, secure collaboration, in and outside the company, through advanced persistent data-centric protection architected to rapidly close remaining security gaps.

Seclore has been selling for 3-4 years now in India but the momentum has come in the last 18 months, why is it so?

We have observed a major shift in the customer’s approach over the last two years. Most companies today are looking for solutions that integrate seamlessly with their existing IT environment. Seclore has been agile enough to forge new OEM relationships to align its offering to the changing requirement of Customer.

Furthermore, Seclore over the last 18 months has heavily invested in channels and changed its business mix from a direct to an indirect model. Last but not the least Digital India campaign has gained momentum and more and more digitization is happening across govt departments. Seclore is actively participating with System integrators and VARs to gain a huge part of this pie.

What would you say is the awareness regarding information security in India?

Five years ago, security used to be a sub-function of IT. Security breaches wasn’t something which would get reported in the top management. Now, information security is becoming a boardroom topic. When you lose information, it is not just about embarrassment anymore. You lose money, customers, corporate reputation and in some extreme cases even lives. All this has resulted in the expansion of the market and displacement of the traditional security vendors and the security professional’s mindset.

Ransomware is increasing leaps and bounds. The ransomware epidemic is a reminder that the cybercrime economy is based on the principles of capitalism. Until organizations persistently protect information at the data level (and stop paying the ransom), these attacks won’t slow down. And, as companies increasingly utilize third party service providers to reduce costs, more and more information will be at risk.

How big is your India workforce and if any plans to increase it?

In the last three years, Seclore has grown from a 30-member team to an organisation that is now almost 200 people strong. We are witnessing exponential business potential in the India marketplace and we will continue to grow the team and scale our operations to meet our customers’ requirements and to deliver incremental business value.

Having already established offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Middle East, Singapore, and the US we recently opened a new Gurgaon office to serve as a major center for the growing needs of persistent file-centric security for the Indian central government & public sector, fuelled by their recent data security initiatives.

What is your biggest challenge in the market?

For decades, enterprises around the world have focused on protecting the perimeter and keeping data within the company. But, with security threats constantly expanding and collaboration beyond the corporate border being the ‘new normal,’ protecting perimeters and devices is no longer proving effective.

Companies are now thinking beyond the perimeter and adopting solutions that ensure data and files are persistently protected wherever they travel, including while they are at rest, in transit, and ‘at work’. Accordingly, more companies are adopting Enterprise Data Rights Management (EDRM) solutions. EDRM offers persistent, granular usage controls that manage, enforce and audit who can access a file, what the recipient can do with the file, from which device/location, and when.

A growing client roster of Global 5000 companies in the banking, financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical, telecom, government, and manufacturing industries rely on Seclore’s technology to persistent protect information wherever it travels and is stored.

What is your annual revenue and how much does India contribute to it?

We cannot disclose the financials, but let me give some indicative growth cues. The NCR region in India is one of the fastest growing markets for Seclore. Worldwide Seclore works with over 10,000 small and large companies. Although US customers account for only 25% of Seclore’s customer base, almost 50% of its revenue comes from that country. Rest of the revenues are from India, Middle East, APAC and European region.

Recently two quarters back, we reported a record 83 percent year-over-year revenue growth fueled by enterprise demand for persistent file-centric security. Today, more than 90% of all pure play Rights Management implementations are from Seclore.
Due to our single-minded focus on customers, every day, over 6 million users across 1000 companies in 29 countries “Seclore” their documents.

How would you advise firms to remain safe?

With an increase in enterprise mobility and BYOD, organizations are increasingly sharing sensitive enterprise data with outside parties, and these often lie outside traditional perimeters. In today’s hyper-connected marketplace, organization’s cannot afford to say no to enterprise mobility because doing so open them up to severe productivity limitations. What enterprises need is security without borders.

It is important to recognize that most of the sensitive and confidential information resides in what is termed as ‘unstructured data’. In practice, that means data that resides in emails, word documents, excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations is highly vulnerable to theft and espionage.

Companies need to adopt data-centric security solutions capable of securing their information and mitigate risks wherever those sensitive assets reside and travel. A growing number of organizations are implementing cloud-based security tools – ranging from analytics to advanced authentication and identity & access management – to manage persistent cyber threats.

Other solutions include location-based and time-based access controls. These should be device-agnostic and end-to-end monitoring and auditing along with persistent protection and seamless integration with enterprise systems.

Please, brief us about your funding scenario?

This year, we successfully raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore) in Series B funding from Sistema Asia Fund, Helion Venture, VentureEast and India Alternatives.
In April 2013, we had raised $6 million in Series A funding from Helion Venture Partners and VentureEast.
The company has been posting significant year over year gains in user base over the last three years and is poised for continued growth in 2017.

Going forward, what are your plans for future?

Finally, the world today is becoming flatter and flatter. Rights Management is the only technology that secures data wherever it goes, however it is accessed. Such security, which is independent of absolutely everything and has the potential to enable enterprises to achieve new heights in productivity through collaboration, and still maintain the highest levels of security and compliance.
We continue to be optimistic about our growth potential and business pipeline. Apart from that, we strongly believe that we play a critical role in market education. With widespread cybercrime and increase in ‘hacking for profit’ activities, the return on EDRM solutions is gaining acceptance rapidly and we want to be at the forefront of this shift in global information security practices.

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