Today with the rapid technological advancements, securing digital assets is very challenging for any organizations across industries. Securing the endpoints to prevent any kind of data breach is the priority for organizations amidst increasing cyber-attack incidents. Mitsigo is one of the fastest-growing companies offering unified endpoint management solutions in India. Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, Digital Terminal recently interacted with Apu Pavithran, Founder and CEO, Hexnode|Mitsogo. Mr. Apu briefly shared details about the current market landscape, growing demand for endpoint management solutions, business growth plans and much more. Read below the excerpts:
Rajeev: How do you see the technology market growth in India? How has been your growth since your business establishment in the Indian market?
Apu: Since the launch of the campaign ‘Digital India’, the country has witnessed digital empowerment, and the government sector has been in a venture of equipping themselves digitally. With the government on a quest to transform all their services online, they have been tasked with digitalizing the personal information of approximately 1400 million people. This vision has opened up job opportunities for a lot of people. The campaign is expected to generate about 65 million job opportunities by 2025. Also, a sizable portion of the Union Budget for the FY 2022-23 has been allocated to the IT and telecom sectors. The talent pool in India is diverse, and this has attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India's software and hardware sector. Currently, the IT sector contributes only 8% of India's GDP, and it is projected to reach $19.93 billion by 2025. India’s digital pool accounts for about 75% of the global digital talent and considering the budding population, there is still room for growth.
Based on recent reports, with the existing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, around 50,000 IT positions, including R&D and engineering, back-office operations, data processing, and customer support, may temporarily be relocated to India. Also, many tech giants like Amazon, Zoom and Deloitte have established multiple hubs in the country, and are actively recruiting both fresh and experienced people. FY22 saw higher recruitment rates than FY21, with the top three Indian IT businesses, TCS, Infosys, and Wipro, offering over 1.05 lakh jobs. The technological infrastructure in India is expanding and recruitment drives will increase even higher.
Talking about us, Hexnode entered the global market as an MDM solution nine years ago. However, back then, about 90% of the demands were from the United States, so we initially focused on the US market.
Now, when we consider the future of the UEM industry in India, about 53% of businesses are still a long way from digital transformation in India. However, with the pandemic outbreak, digitalization that would have taken at least a decade to happen became the only solution for corporates to thrive. UEM solutions saw wide adoption among various sectors, including education and the supply chain. We had to scale our workforce with the growing demand, and recently, we opened a new hub for Mitsogo in Chennai.
Rajeev: What are your major products and verticals? Do share your customer base strength in India.
Apu: Our flagship product is Hexnode UEM, which is a unified endpoint management solution with a global customer reach. To put it simply, UEMs help businesses manage their mobile phones, laptops, PCs, IoTs and XR devices belonging to every operating system– basically, any device that is used for work. Using Hexnode, IT Admins can ensure that their corporate devices are not compromised by employees accidentally installing bad applications or opening malicious websites. Furthermore, IT can restrict the work devices from connecting to external storage devices, Bluetooth devices or unauthorized networks. Especially with hybrid work where the corporate devices are scattered in diverse global locations, UEM solutions assist the IT admins in monitoring and controlling the endpoints in real-time.
Our previous works were mostly based outside the country. We have just taken our first step towards focussing on the Indian market. So, currently, we do not have a substantial customer base in India. But, ask me this question in another year, and I may be able to give you a good number.
Rajeev: What are the major factors that differentiate your company from your competitors providing similar solutions?
Apu: Compared to other similar products in the market, we have a pretty simple user interface that is easy to understand and navigate through. Also, we designed Hexnode to make the process simpler and in fewer steps – for e.g., UEM solutions support mostly all operating systems, so a business that has Apple, Windows, and Android devices can use this one solution to manage them all. In addition, where other major products require separate policies or configuration profiles to manage separate OSes, we can do it with one policy. I know this is a bit technical, but consider it like this: other products put apples, oranges and grapes in separate baskets, but we put them all in one basket – which makes it easier for the admin.
We also have one of the best tech support teams in the market, with a response time of 4 minutes. The tech support team guides IT admins throughout the process 24*5. In addition, we have a strong knowledge base to support customers with their queries.
Hexnode has a budget-friendly plan for its subscribers. This has helped us garner attention from both SMBs and Fortune 500s. Our least expensive plan begins with $1.08 per device per month. We also offer a trial period to the leads to get familiarised with the product and see if Hexnode works for them before subscription.
Rajeev: How can enterprises secure all end points from hackers, especially given the culture of BYOD and work from home?
As a part of cyber hygiene, there are a few basic steps every enterprise must follow. For E.g., implementing a strict password policy, restricting the use of public Wi-Fi, adopting MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), updating software and patches, and encrypting discs will help businesses ensure device security.
Many of us are quite aware of the threats malicious websites pose. A UEM’s capability to blacklist or whitelist them as per an organization’s need will prevent employees from opening them. Also, concerns over employee productivity could be addressed by blocking App Store and distributing apps that are only necessary.
Yet another issue that we can handle at Hexnode is the restrictions and configuration IT admins can apply to network connections like Wi-Fi, VPN, Firewall and others. Again, all these steps can be done in a single go through UEM solutions like Hexnode.
BYOD still remains a topic of debate. However, many organizations and individuals fail to realize that the concept of containerization resolves the dispute between privacy and security. With Hexnode, policies can be pushed to the work profile alone, thus ensuring that work and play stay separate.
Now is the period of zero trust, and sooner solutions like IAM (Identity and Access Management), UEM and passwordless authentication mechanisms will collaborate with ZTNA solutions. Adopting such solutions will make it hard for hackers to get past the shield.
Rajeev: How are you growing your business in India? Please share about your channel network or sales model.
Apu: Until now, we focused on the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East because of the high demand in these markets. However, as I mentioned earlier, the pandemic has propelled digitalization within the country. As a result, the healthcare, educational and supply chain sectors have witnessed a surge of mobile devices, and the need for a device management solution can no longer be ignored. With the change in trend, we have extended our focus to the Indian market this year.
About 50% of the large and middle-sized businesses have a digital transformation plan in place. With the competitive edge digitalization offers, its adoption in the future is expected to rise even higher. A large part of the corporate society is still in a formative stage, developing roadmaps to be followed in the future. SMEs that integrated themselves with technology have witnessed higher revenue. This has paved the way for others to follow the trend of digital adoption.
As our first plan of action, we plan to raise awareness of UEM solutions in the Indian market. Many businesses are still unaware of the security UEMs can assure. Through our Indian focussed marketing and PR campaigns, we intend to drive more customers and channel partners to Hexnode.
Rajeev: What will be your target for the year 2022? How do you plan to achieve these set targets?
Apu: We have already taken our first step toward extending support for IoT and XR devices. Also, we are in the midst of being ISO 27001and SOC 2 certified, along with a few others. The UEM market is competitive, and new features keep rolling out daily. We are in the process of answering the needs of our customers and expanding the utility of our product.
We also have plans to release our new product: Hexnode Do. Hexnode Do is a SaaS app management platform that will provide a unified platform to manage and secure different SaaS applications.
Reseller partnership, ISV partnership, OEM partnership and Distribution programs are some of the partner-building programs we currently have. Apart from our current partnership base, we intend to expand our presence globally. We have more than doubled the number of partners we had in 2021, and we plan to raise the bar even higher.
We have our third annual user conference, HexCon22, coming up. Unlike our partner conference, Hexnode Partner Summit 2022, which was a closed event, HexCon 22 will be open to our partners, clients and the general public. It is an event where we discover new cyber security trends, learn about the latest product features and connect with decision-makers. So, keep an eye out for the registration site, which will go live on our site.