Malware protection big business in Cork

3 Feb 2016

Malwarebytes announced it received a $50m investment recently, with global business booming. What does that mean for the company’s Cork operation? Well, new office space and room to expand, of course.

Yesterday (2 February), we brought news of Malwarebytes’ recruitment drive on the back of a $50m investment from Fidelity Investments. At the time, the impression we got was Malwarebytes was struggling to get the bodies needed to satisfy what is significant growth.

That, it turns out, is not quite the case. Cash-flow positive for 31 consecutive quarters, growing by the month and attracting investment funds of first $30m and now $50m, it seems that the company that started way back in 2008 is on the up.

Global growth

While issues with its products have become known in recent weeks, expansion continues apace – and it’s continuing globally.

With a primary market in the US, Malwarebytes opened up an EMEA HQ in Cork about a year ago. Looking at sales and marketing for the product, it has seen growth comparable to that of the company’s global performance.

Staff in Cork is largely support roles, with engineering in Europe primarily going through a Tallinn office. With expansion felt across the board, an office move is now underway in Ireland, with Malwarebytes soon to take up residence in Albert Quay to help with the company’s growing EMEA operations.

“The office move was very practical,” explains Anthony O’Mara, VP at Malwarebytes EMEA. “When we set up we were in a Regus office. We outgrew that pretty quickly and moved around and when we saw the offices at Albert Quay become available we went for it.”

Future proof

Currently employing around 35 people in Cork, the move will allow the company to expand to near 80 people should the need arise, with O’Mara claiming he’s “future-proofing” for expected growth in the future.

And the growth, it seems, could prove an industry-wide thing, with O’Mara noting that the younger generation of online users has a different view on privacy and protection to those of an older generation.

“What are the consequences of what I do online? Everyone looks at that differently,” he says. “The younger people, we see they have a different view to that of older users.”

Of course, in an industry awash with competitors and free versions of software, conversion is a big thing – something O’Mara says isn’t as difficult as an outsider might think.

O’Mara explains to me that free versions of cybersecurity software often offer you the full weight of a company’s protection, “for one clean sweep of your machine”.

“The premium, paid-for options offer continuous coverage, as well as enhanced options, too. Our business is growing across enterprise and customer and, when you look at what we do, it’s not too difficult to find customers willing to pay. We’re loved by techies, too, which is very good to say.”

It’s not easy

Of course, given the industry, not everything is positive all the time. For example, Malwarebytes itself is in the midst a bit of a problem, with issues found in its own premium service.

A security researcher found “several vulnerabilities” last November and, while Malwarebytes sorted out some of the concerns straight away, a patch to fix the remaining issues is still about a month away.

“While these things happen, they shouldn’t happen to our users,” said founder Marcin Kleczynski in a detailed blog post on the issue.

Calling the discovery an example of the “harsh reality of software development”, Kleczynski said premium users should enable self-protection under settings until a patch is found.

This is an example of how consumers and companies are continually operating in a minefield, with capabilities and vulnerabilities swirling around the web, waiting for the right people to find the right time to attack.

“Consumers still need to be aware,” says O’Mara. “It falls down to the same simple things. Keep your software updated, get good protection and steer clear of any social engineering scams.”

That, and hope your security provider can roll with the punches. Something Malwarebytes is trying to do right now.

Malware image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic