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Finland's F-Secure backs Nordic expertise

F-secure is betting on Nordic IT security skills as it buys Danish firm

Finnish security supplier F-Secure has shown trust in Nordic expertise as it eyes the European enterprise market. In early June, the company acquired Danish security consultation and vulnerability assessment provider Sense to bolster its enterprise cyber security expertise.

The company already has a major presence in the Nordic region, but wants to grow it further. The acquisition supports this plan.

The €15m to €18m acquisition (€3m is attached to a bonus-based system) sees F-Secure expand its security services offering to large enterprise cyber security products, as well as gaining almost 100 nSense customers in the financial, service provider, gaming and governmental sectors.

“We want to be the expert which gets called in worst-case scenarios,” Christian Fredrikson, CEO of F-Secure, told Computer Weekly. “[NSense] has the products and tools to scan any vulnerabilities in a company. If a company has been breached, they also have the forensic expertise to find out what happened, what has been compromised or destroyed and who was behind the attack.”

F-Secure will integrate nSense’s products, namely vulnerability-scanning tool Karhu, and services in penetration testing, vulnerability assessments and PCI DSS to its portfolio. It will also introduce new products, mainly for the large enterprise market.

According to Fredrikson, the acquisition was driven by strong growth in the enterprise market ,as well as F-Secure’s wider strategy shift to increase focus on information security. This change was seen earlier this year as the company sold off its personal cloud storage service Younited to US-based Synchronoss.

“Information security threats are becoming more stealthy, sophisticated and complex, and we need to be able to provide services that help our customers prevent potential threats from becoming security incidents,” said Fredrikson.

Jari Honka, senior analyst at Inderes, sees the acquisition as important strategic step for F-Secure. “So far, F-Secure has not been involved in security consultation and vulnerability assessment services to large enterprises. nSense already controls that market in Northern Europe that F-Secure will now integrate as a part of its services,“ Honka said.

The nSense brand will be absorbed into the F-Secure brand following the acquisition. The company’s approximately 70 employees, as well as offices in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Poland, will form the basis for a new cyber security services business unit.

Although F-Secure already claims to be the largest Nordic security software supplier, with more than 1,000 employees and revenue of €155m, it sees the nSense deal as an opportunity to further strengthen its home market position.

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“We are a major Nordic player and can and want to take a good share of the Nordic market,” said Fredrikson. “We believe we can still grow in the Nordics.”

But it is in the European cyber security market where F-Secure ultimately aims to take the lead. It is a market which remains up for grabs for a company acting early, according to Honka.

“One important factor to consider is that Europe is still lacking a ‘domestic’ cyber security services provider. Many European corporations or governments no longer feel safe to take such services from Russian, Chinese or US providers. They would rather buy it from Europe,” said Honka.

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