Security in the age of digitalization is no more limited to the physical world we live in. As internet consumption grows worldwide, the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve. In India alone, there were 11.5 lakh reported incidents of cyberattacks in 2021, according to the country’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Team also confirmed that India was amongst the top three most-targeted Asian nations by the cybercriminals last year. These facts have underlined the need for innovation in cybersecurity and rapid adoption of IT and network security solutions to mitigate the consistent, looming threats in the digital world.

Being one of the eponymous cybersecurity brands from India, Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. knows about the threat landscape better than most. “Data breaches have become normal as cybercriminals are increasingly targeting servers and data centers, where a large amount of data is stored. Data breaches give better results to the attackers as it requires minor concentrated activity – hacking at the backend infrastructure,” explained Sanjay Katkar, CTO of Quick Heal. But consumers need to be in the know to be sure that their particulars like e-mail addresses and passwords are not compromised in a data breach. And innovators like Quick Heal are consistently working to meet such demands.

“At Quick Heal for consumers, we have developed a feature which allows the users to check if their personal information like e-mail/passwords has been compromised in any known global data breaches. This helps them know if their information is compromised and allows them to take the necessary steps to change their passwords,” informed Sanjay. Keeping the internet consumer in mind, Quick Heal today offers essential features, including data theft protection, webcam protection, anti-tracker, and file vault, which gives consumers much-required data privacy protection.

With a wide range of products focused on computer and network security solutions, Quick Heal’s current portfolio of cloud-based security and advanced ML-enabled solutions stops threats, attacks, and malicious traffic before it strikes.

The company has truly gone from strength to strength, delivering quality products consistently to ensure the security of all users ever since it was established by Kailash Katkar (MD and CEO) in 1995. Today, Quick Heal is synonymous with the word ‘anti-virus’ worldwide, but very few people know about the story of how the company got its start.

Origin and Growth

The year 1990 was pivotal in the history of cybersecurity as it was the year that saw the creation of the first polymorphic viruses (they are file infectors and can create modified versions of themselves to avoid detection while keeping the original algorithm). The ascendance of polymorphic viruses meant that early anti-virus software, which were purely signature-based, produced many false positives and used up a lot of computing power that slowed down computers. Anti-virus scanners evolved to address this and a new menace at the time – cybercriminals. Soon, it became clear that anti-virus software was a must to protect the public.

Kailash Katkar had started his career as a technician in a calculator and radio repair shop in 1985, having dropped out of school after Class 10. In 1991, he opened his own repair shop in Pune and then got his first big break when New India Insurance came on as a client. But Kailash knew that computers were the future. So, he founded a company (CAT Computer Services) that provided computer repair and maintenance services. It was here that he discovered that most computers that came to him were infected with viruses. He asked his younger brother, Sanjay Katkar, to focus on the anti-virus field as he felt there was an opportunity to be tapped in this space. Together, they launched the first Quick Heal product in 1995. The following year they went all-in into the anti-virus segment. And rest, as they say, is history.

But Quick Heal’s journey to becoming one of the most iconic brands in cybersecurity wasn’t seamless. Both the co-founding brothers had to toil and exercise a lot of patience. “I did not stop the computer maintenance business immediately when we started the development of Quick Heal. We continued doing hardware maintenance business for 3-4 years, as it supported our initial finances – as anti-virus product development needed proper investment support,” recalled Kailash Katkar, MD and CEO of Quick Heal.

The company had a tough time generating revenues initially as people were not very keen on spending on security. Besides piracy, which was rampant at the time, the competition from the international players was palpable. “Frankly speaking, our AV products were not able to break even till 1998-99, and during those days, the hardware maintenance business supported us,” added Kailash.

Things changed in 1999-2000, as their anti-virus product started doing well in the market. In 2002, the company shifted to a 2,000 sq. ft. office, and a year later, the company opened its first branch in Nashik. The company took on the name of Quick Heal Technologies in 2007. And there has been no turning back ever since.

Onwards and Upwards

Over the years, Quick Heal has competed with cybersecurity giants such as McAfee and Symantec. The Pune, Maharashtra-based cybersecurity brand even gave these companies a stiff run for their money in the US and worldwide, and continues to compete with them in 2022.

Today, being one of the biggest cybersecurity companies in India, Quick Heal has a diverse range of products for consumers, servers, and cloud computing environments. The company also develops security software for small and medium enterprises and sells its products directly to customers. Meanwhile, the company’s enterprise products operate under the brand name ‘Seqrite’.

To top off its reputation as one of India’s best homegrown cybersecurity companies, Quick Heal also posted an impressive 14% revenue growth in Q3 FY22, and the PAT was up 6%. “We would be ending the year with higher double-digit growth in our enterprise segment and marginal degrowth in the consumer segment as we had to recover from the business challenges faced during the restrictions phase of the second COVID wave during the initial part of the year,” commented Kailash, on Quick Heal’s Q3 performance.

With India’s burgeoning number of smartphone users (over 750 million), cybersecurity players in the country have a huge task on their hands. For those who don’t think highly of spending on mobile security, Quick Heal has released a free version of Quick Heal Mobile Security. The company also has a paid version that comes with advanced features like Safe Banking, Remote Device Management, Web Security, and phone boost.

But what’s next for Quick Heal?

“We plan to grow our business in the international markets, especially in the developing countries where the conditions are similar to India, due to the customer demands and the channel network. We see good demand for our enterprise products in Southeast Asia, Africa, and some European nations,” revealed Kailash Katkar. He concluded by saying that the company hopes to see good progress for the company in these regions in the coming years.