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AhnLab Knocks on the Door of Global Online Security Markets with Global Technology

AhnLab Knocks on the Door of Online Security Markets with Global Technology


[천(CHEON)] I thought that the work of a doctor was meaningful and that I would make a good one, but I also thought that since I was the only one who worked on items related to computer vaccines in Korea, it would make things even more meaningful.

After Doctor Cheol Soo Ahn, who was a medical student in 1988, provided the world’s first vaccine against the brain virus to people who needed them for free, the AhnLab, which was established in 1995, is becoming a global combined security company based on the world-class technology that has been accumulating over a twenty year span.


Doctor Cheol Soo Ahn

Meanwhile, Korean information security markets also accomplished rapid development, entering 900 billion Won in 2009, and breaking 1 trillion won in 2010 after increasing 20%. This is the yearly growth rate of 6% on average. Especially, examining the effectuation of the Protection of Personal Information Act, the increase of security threat of advanced persistent threat (APT) that becomes more persistent, and the spread of mobile environment, it is predicted that it will continue its explosive increase during 2011 and even after.

Along with the growth rate of Korean sales, the export in foreign regions is also growing. Actually, the security market is one of the markets that are really hard to get in to for a foreign vendor because of its conservative characteristic, especially public companies and government offices. Even with this difficult condition, the amount of export of Korean security companies is gradually increasing. According to KISA, the amount of export in 2010 exceeded 52 billion won, which is 20% more than the amount of export in 2009, 42 billion won.

The challenge of foreign market of AhnLab, which started the certification of a Chinese branch in 1998, started in full-scale as the exclusive department formed in 2000. Afterwards, it established Japanese corporate body in 2002, Chinese corporate body in 2003, and established the spyware analysis center in China in 2007 as the first security companies in Korea, and in 2009, it established security control center in Japan. Also, it constructed Honeypot, which is the spyware collection and response system, in America and Mexico. It is more meaningful in the aspect that it was the overseas expansion in the concept of fundamental technology investment, breaking away from the overseas expansion centered on the product sales. Based on this continuous investment, it broke through the sales amount of 10 billion won in foreign countries for the first time in Korea, marking a new milestone for overseas expansion.


Specialized security product and development of service strategy

AhnLab selected the specialized security products, such as transaction security solution AhnLab Online Security, AOS, that protects the safety of the exchange of all information, which is processed through online such as online banking and E commerce, and HackShield that is the online game hacking prevention security solution for the prevention of personal information leak and illegal action within the online game as the core strategy products, and it makes remote security control service and SOC as the main power of the overseas business. Also, it is just before entering the large sales place as of now, continuously knocking on the North American market for personal product, which could be said as the largest battlefield of software, with V3 ICSA, VB100, and Checkmark, which acquired world’s major certification.

AhnLab, which entered in B2C market in America in full-scale with the launch of English version V3′s new product in 2009, started to target personal market, setting out to providing product and securing stable distribution network through sales contract with www.notebookshop.com, which is the Notebook PC specialty store located in southern California, in Oct, 2009. Recently, it is giving effort for entering large sales place in full-scale as it proceeded the supply V3 internet security 8.0, which is the personal combined security product, with Wal Mart, Office Depot, and Office Max.

European region is developing the business, focused on the online game protection and internet banking protection, through the collaboration with partner companies. It already supplied AhnLab HackShield to German online game company such as Sevenone, Burda, Gamigo, and GameForge, and its strategy is to expand its influence in European region based on this referece. HackShield possesses the most patent technology among Korean online game protection solutions, and it is supplying to 20 countries in the world, applied on about 190 games inside and outside of Korea, such as Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, America, and Europe. Also, from this year, it is attempting to supply AOS, concentrating its ability on the marketing for East European region’s internet banking security market.

In Asian region, it established corporate bodies in Japan and China, making it as the center of securing China as research development and global partner, and for Japan, it is making it as the foot hold for strengthening the global competition and service system. For this, it established ASEC organization in China from where the most spyware originates in the world, and in Japan, it established CERT, strengthening security control service. As a result, it conducted consulting for Chinese stock information provider company, and also it signed project contract for the construction of the security control center with the Jiangsu government in Taeju City, China. Also, even in the government office market, which is evaluated to be the hardest market to enter, it is expanding reference for expanding the market by supplying security products to Indonesian National Police Agency, Ministry of Finance, and PGN.


Assignment for entering overseas market

Many companies including security companies are shouting for global entry, but as it is mentioned before, entering overseas market is not easy because of its unique conservatism. Especially, as it is shown in Iran Bushehr nuclear power plants accident, the threat of cyber war is revealed and APT attack targeting companies or government office is becoming real, so it is expected that such phenomena will become severe.

In this kind of situation, ‘one’s own technology’ becomes the foundation for knocking on the foreign market. For example, it is very important for vaccine to reflect many spywares after collecting them fast. All technology regarding this becomes the competitiveness of the relevant company. There comes difficulty for the security company, whose core engine is imported and pays loyalty every year, to expand its place to the foreign market. Also, as AhnLab rejected the selling offer of famous foreign vendor company, pride and sense of responsibility for its company are very important as well.

Secondly, it is reading the trend. Currently, the security threat is becoming complex, organized, and criminalized fast. Also, APT threat, which persistently seeks to attack until it succeeds into breaking the target’s all weaknesses, has appeared. If a company does not read the trend that changes every minute and hour, it cannot be prepared for it, and as a result, the red light comes on for entering the global market. Also, it applies to the entire SW companies as well as security. For example, AhnLab covers all areas where spyware can spread such as personal PC, network, webpage, and USB, and based on these technologies, it is harvesting good grades with E-commerce, AOS security product for internet banking, and HackShield for online game protection product.

Lastly, long term investment is important. As it is mentioned before, security is very conservative. This means that it is hard to make accomplishment with short term investment. Each decider of each company must continuously invest in the marketing that understands the technology and foreign market, which becomes the foundation, rather than hurrying for fast profit. If they secure reference with this kind of continuous investment, the door to the global market could open easier than the expectation.

Nowadays, borders are disappearing in all areas, but especially the security threat is becoming omnidirectional, organized, criminalized, and sometimes becomes social and political issues. AhnLab is planning to become a global combined security company by continuously providing technology and service that cover all security areas such as V3 antivirus product group, which was developed with pure Korean technology, and consulting-solution-control with its own ability, adjusting to the world’s spyware and hacking rend.



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About the author by Chang Min Song

Head of the department in Ahn Lab Communication team. Over six years of career in foreign company PR, and currently, in charge of foreign PR and social network in Ahn Lab.

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