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Kaspersky's secret to success

Security firm's success is based upon basic small-town values--sell a good product at a good price and go the extra mile on service.

You would think that it would be virtually impossible to expand your market share in desktop security. Symantec and McAfee dominate this space followed by Trend Micro and CA, all big companies with lots of resources. As if the pool wasn't already crowded, Microsoft jumped in last year to really stir up pricing, distribution and product strategies across the industry.

As if supply-side issues weren't enough, demand-side attitudes are also changing. Lots of businesses and consumers believe that all desktop security products are commodities. Buy the lowest priced alternative and your worries are over.

Somehow, despite this highly competitive outlook, Kaspersky Lab is killing it. The company, with offices in Massachusetts and Moscow, just had its biggest quarter ever and sees more success on the horizon. In an age of pop-ups and targeted search ads, Kaspersky's success is based upon basic small-town values--sell a good product at a good price and go the extra mile on service.

This simple but effective strategy is working with:

• Retailers. Kaspersky products are now available in over 10,000 North American retail outlets. Once those green boxes are on the shelves, Kaspersky's security reputation alone seems to move inventory.

• Resellers. With every local distributor pitching Symantec or McAfee, selling Kaspersky gives resellers a way to differentiate themselves from the masses. Besides, resellers can make more on each copy of Kaspersky than they can with the big guys. More profit is always attractive.

• New markets. Kaspersky has been a staple in Eastern Europe and Germany but it is slowly penetrating Western Europe and developing markets like China.

Kaspersky has a lot of data demonstrating its product superiority. For example, it claims to respond to malicious code more frequently and effectively than other vendors. Maybe, but the company also realizes it can't sell diddly unless it gets in the door. Thus, the effort is in finding and opening as many doors as possible.

In an age of massive consolidation, media saturation, Web-based tools and marketing science, it is nice to see that good old-fashioned hard work, execution and relationship management can still win in high tech. For a company that specializes in dealing with the latest Internet threats, Kaspersky is succeeding by winning over customers one at a time.