MicroWorld: Two decades of Securing Enterprises

Date:   Friday , April 01, 2011

We are in an era where the amount of data being churned out is increasing multifold in corporate environment, thanks to undisputed connectivity of social networks and mobility devices like smartphones and tablets. The very structure of work environment is undergoing rapid change with workforces going mobile and accessing corporate network from remote locations with VPN and other devices. As these changes take place, hackers are also redesigning their tactics to target these networks. Today phishing and spam continues to increase on social/corporate networks as users migrate large portions of their Internet activity such as e-mail to these properties. Moreover in this era of mobile workforce, while it is of necessity that mobility devices be given access to company’s network, it is quiet a challenge to monitor every device that connects to the network and what information transacts.

“More than 12 banks had been phished in the past few years in India including ICICI and Bank of India. This is really a matter of concern. And that’s why security solutions enjoy maximum priority in the IT investments of companies. According to Gartner, the total size of the security market is worth Rs.650 crore and capitalization has been only Rs.300 crore. And this is the opportunity we want to tap in,” says Govind Ramamurthy, CEO and Managing Director of MicroWorld Technologies. Thus the company finds itself in a sweet spot by being a prominent player in advanced security solution specializing in AntiVirus, AntiSpam, Content Security and Network Intrusion Prevention solutions.

Founded in 1993, Mumbai headquartered Microworld, in the last decades has grown leaps and bounds, thwarted the competition and sealed its position in the antivirus front nationally as well as internationally. With its prime product eScan, the company has reached out to not only large enterprises but also SMBs and individuals across Tier 1, 2, and 3 cities.

Securing the Individuals, Enterprises and SMBs alike

Unlike the IT industry, the awareness for need of network security has been comparatively lower in SMEs/SMBs. While most large enterprises have embraced IT security as a part of the corporate culture, many small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) have been as unguarded as small-town residents who keep their doors and windows unlocked. Similar was the case with Crompton Greaves, a pioneer in the management and application of electrical energy with a diverse portfolio of products for both industrial and consumer segment. To meet high quality standards and to ensure customers receive the best in class, the company had been aggressively investing in R&D, product certifications, product quality, productivity enhancement and operational excellence. For long it did not see the need for a strong security solution but with the increasing rise of threats /malware, there came a dire need of having a highly secure network.

The need to secure all endpoints and maintain logs on files accessed/transferred to USB based devices was of utmost importance as information breach was not an option. Moreover, with the increasing number of machines, administrators needed a visual description that would help analyze the deployment status and protection status of all PCs within the network. In addition, installation had to be done without a break in workflow and without disrupting business continuity. It required a security solution that not only provided end to end secured network but also provided faster scan speeds, better detection rates of new generation malware along with effective removal of known/unknown malware.

From the myriad of products flooding the market, Crompton Greaves decided to deploy the corporate version of eScan. It was a perfect match as eScan used whitelisting and cache technologies that enabled faster scans and did not impact the performance of the managed clients apart providing from end to end security.

eScan implements a web based console that allowed administrators to securely login to the eScan management console from anywhere within the network using a browser. Using this newly implemented feature administrators can deploy and manage endpoints at remote locations; eliminating the need to physically attend individual machines. To further enhance client side deployment, eScan Web Console features a Client download link. This allows administrators to deploy and setup the client directly from the web console, ruling out the need to carry the installation file. In addition to this, the client setup file comes embedded with the server IP address, eliminating the need to manually enter the IP address of the server during client installation. Furthermore, client issues could now be resolved in a matter of minutes as administrators could now remotely connect to the desired machine and troubleshoot.

The automatic reporting feature helps administrators to generate a more detailed report of all managed computers within the network. In addition, the necessary reports can be mailed as and when they were generated, allowing network administrators to review only machines that are of importance. Furthermore, the implementation of the dashboard allowed administrators to view the deployment and protection status of all machines managed by the eScan Management Console. Using the dashboard, network administrators can not only view the overall status of the clients but also view the group they were currently assigned to. This not only allows network audits to be carried out with ease but also helps in deploying additional eScan clients when needed.

Furthermore, the default settings of the Antivirus and Endpoint security module are sufficient enough to keep all managed machines safe and secure from malware. Having said that, with endpoint security (EPS) enabled and by implementing the necessary policies, administrators can block applications from running and also put a curb on data theft by restricting usage of external drive. In addition EPS also maintains a log on all files that were modified and transferred to otherwise whitelisted drives.

Apart from the comprehensive next generation security, eScan also allows administrators to quickly secure and deploy machines on the network. With the implementation of the dashboard network administrators can review the overall status of all connected machines. In addition to gaining insight into application usage of clients, administrators can easily set policies to specific clients with ease.

Having deployed eScan for five years now, Shirish Pai, Senior Manager (IT), Crompton Greaves, is extremely pleased with the products performance and stability. “We have been satisfied with eScan as a security solution in Crompton Greaves Ltd. It has been installed for more than 5 years and has worked flawlessly. The software has evolved with time and various new features have been added to tackle new threats in the wild. A special mention about the support team – they were quick and efficient to resolve the initial issues as well as the small teething issues with eScan. They are proactive and even go off the track to provide solutions for any security related issues,” he says.

The Innovation

The core difference between MicroWorld and other companies in the segment is the innovation it brings with in its approach at securing the network. MicroWorld Winsock Layer (MWL) Technology developed by MicroWorld is an innovative technology which can work between the Winsock Layer and application layer. MWL allows MicroWorld products to stop unsafe content at the transport layer itself, before it enters the application layer, and thus protects Information Systems effectively. MicroWorld is the sole company to have developed MailScan for more than 32 different types of mail servers and is available on both Linux and Windows platforms. It also developed customized solutions for different kinds of mail servers. “For tackling Spam and Phishing, MicroWorld employs a unique technology named Non Intrusive Learning Patterns (NILP). This adaptive mechanism can analyze each email according to the Behavioral Patterns of the user and can take an informed decision there after,” Rammurthy explicates. Today the products from MicroWorld have passed several rigorous tests conducted by reputed, and independent evaluators of the security industry.

Recently, the company has released a new version of MailScan range of AntiVirus, Anti-Spam and Content Security solution for Mail Servers – MailScan 6.1 and eScan Version 11 for corporate use. Employing an array of intelligent filters and equipped with artificial intelligence based NILP technology, the product offers protection against Virus, Spam and Phishing mails along with comprehensive content Security, claims the company.

“At a time when more and more mission critical operations are fast moving on to web based models and emails becoming the lifeline of businesses, comprehensive protection for Enterprises becomes the key to Business Continuity and Operational Stability,” says Ramamurthy. The company is well on the track to consistently deliver Security Solutions that one can rely on, by continuously improvising and innovating its Technology and Solutions. “You always go the extra mile and no matter how it seems, I greatly appreciate you”—Needless to mention, this is what most of the customers’ say on MicroWorld’s products.

Securing its footprint globally

When the company started, the Indian antivirus industry especially the SMB segment was not as evolved as it is today. Every assembler or every small system integrator (SI) was selling hardware with free antivirus. So, clients were not ready to pay for antivirus. But the company understood that the scenario internationally was completely different. This instigated it to focus on the international market. The company went ahead and started its operations in the US and since then has subsequently expanded its footprints in Germany, Malaysia and South Africa, penetrating the world market. Today, it has its presence in more than 90 countries and the software is available in more than 16 languages.

Thought the company was not very aggressive on the domestic market, since last five years, there has been tremendous activity. Today with the increased awareness of IT across all sectors, India has become a prime market. “People have started using Internet to a large extent. With Internet threats creeping in, people have realized the importance of antivirus and security. Thus, we have started building up the channel and channel confidence and today have large team focusing here,” Rammurthy explains.

He feels that the company’s biggest strength nationally and internationally is the technology, followed by its ability to customize product as per the market needs. It is essentially focused on partner-driven sales, emphasizing increasing its engagement with channel partners and resellers. The company recently rolled out 26-city road show to cover all the major towns of India, including metros, A-class and few B-class towns.

What is next?

MicroWorld as an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) is part of the partner programme of major software and hardware giants, such as Microsoft, Intel, IBM Corporation, Citrix, Suse Linux and Red Hat, amongst others. It works in tandem with them to ensure that MicroWorld’s products provide comprehensive protection to all systems running these platforms and solutions.

The company also has a range of OEM and customized Information Security solutions for companies interested in licensing its technologies. There are three types of OEM opportunities available for companies interested in becoming MicroWorld’s OEM partners — Re-Branding, Co-Branding and Bundling. Some of the OEM partners include Hardware Manufacturers, Software Developers, UTM Vendors, Networking Vendors, Email Gateway and Proxy Server Manufacturers, Distributors and ISPs.

Continuing with its legacy of innovating and tapping potential market and opportunities, MicroWorld is currently in the phase of launching several new products over the next three months. For corporate and SMBs, it recently launched eScan version 11 which has enhanced features and is extremely user friendly. The company also introduced eScan remote support for customers through which it can remotely connect to the customer's computer and provide support immediately. The company will shortly launch the eScan version for mobile phones, Mac systems and other Android-based devices. “Smartphone is the next big thing in corporate environment and we hope to tap this opportunity immensely. Followed by Android, we will launch products for Blackberry and other OS,” says Rammurthy.

Today, 300 people strong and a vast footprint across all segments, the way the company is accelerating it hopes to cross the Rs.100 crore mark soon. With its consistent growth over the years as a testimonial, this target does not seem farfetched to achieve.