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Barracuda eyes Indochina markets

Barracuda is looking to expand its local presence and headcount in fast-growing emerging markets of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

The emerging markets in Southeast Asia are proving to be a resilient source of growth for cyber security suppliers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Computer Weekly in an interview, James Wong, Barracuda’s newly minted regional director for Southeast Asia and Korea, said countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos continue to invest in cyber security, particularly security hardware.

“In the Indochina countries, we’ve seen an increase in demand for appliances, and as they come to grips with the pandemic, we expect to see an increase in cloud adoption,” Wong said.

But for now, cloud adoption in some of those markets remains in its infancy. In Cambodia, for example, most organisations – apart from those in education and financial services – are still running business applications on-premise, said Ou Pannarith, director of ICT security at the country’s ministry of posts and telecom.

Pannarith, who spoke at a recent Cloud Security Alliance webinar, attributed Cambodia’s low cloud adoption rates to the lack of skills in the country whose universities have not equipped computer engineering graduates with enough knowhow in managing and migrating cloud workloads.

Another barrier is the lack of major cloud service providers that have established operations in Cambodia. Pannarith said this has created challenges for organisations that require technical support from cloud operators who may not be able to respond as quickly.

While the presence of major cloud players in those markets boils down to investment decisions and government efforts to attract cloud investments, Wong said Barracuda will keep investing in its customers and partners to address the skills gap in Indochina.

“They are already moving from hardware appliances to virtual machines, and more towards a virtualised environment,” he said. “We’ll continuously work with them to adopt cloud solutions.”

Wong said Barracuda has been educating customers on its product portfolio rather than pushing products for the past six months. It is also providing tools that enterprises can use to ascertain if their applications and e-mail systems have been compromised.

To gain a bigger foothold in Indochina, Wong said building up a strong partner ecosystem is key as many enterprises in the region see partners as trusted advisers in technology buying decisions.

“We have very close ties with key partners; we constantly invest in them, equip them with the latest technology, and we’ve been helping them to solve business challenges with the hope that they will bring us closer to customers,” he said.

Moving forward, Barracuda is looking to expand its headcount and local presence across the region, “because once you reach a certain threshold of customer base, you need to have someone on the ground to work with partners directly”.

Wong said Barracuda is also keen to forge deeper relationships with telcos that may be offering cloud-based security services. “Telcos have had their own challenges – they’ve had to pivot and change their business model. We are looking at this as an opportunity to engage them,” he added.

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