Bitdefender is now available to users across the African continent thanks to an extension to the Cyber Security South Africa (CSSA) agreement with the security vendor. Simon Campbell Young, a co-founder of CSSA, explains that the company has a long-standing relationship with Bitdefender and has been successful in gaining wide market share in South Africa for the full-featured security solution.

CSSA is Bitdefender’s country partner for South Africa and its neighbouring countries, effectively acting as the vendor in these markets.

According to Campbell Young, this means CSSA owns the local rights to products and is thus responsible for marketing it, appointing distributors and managing both retail and commercial channels. “We stand in place of the vendor when it comes to appointing the channel and distributors,” he says.

Covering South Africa and its neighbours, CSSA has appointed a number of distributors, all focusing on different parts of the market:

  • Rectron distributes Bitdefender in the business-to-business (B2B) space, specialising in electronic delivery, in South Africa and the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region;
  • Pinnacle is the retail distributor for Bitdefender, in the business to consumer (B2C) market, and will soon start ramping up on B2B volume licencing as well.
  • TechWise looks after B2B distribution, focusing in the SMME (small, medium and micro enterprises) market, also working with B2C products particularly in the online space.
  • Tepsa operates primarily in the B2B market, looking after SMMEs and run-rate businesses. It is also a managed service provider (MSP) distributor for South Africa and SADC.
  • Credence distributes into the business-to-business B2B environment, focusing on corporates.

CSSA has been so successful in bringing Bitdefender to the South African and SADC markets that management believed the time was right to make a move into the rest of Africa.

To this end, building on its country partner relationship in southern Africa, the company approached Bitdefender to take on distribution for the rest of the continent, focusing particularly on the bigger economies, namely Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

“Because we already have a footprint in Africa, we were well-positioned to take on Bitdefender as a distributor,” Campbell Young explains.

Interest in the product is keen, he adds, with East Africa seen as a particularly promising market. “There is a positive regulatory environment, the region is strong on bandwidth and it has good infrastructure. We are seeing massive growth in that region.”

In West Africa, particularly Nigeria, SMMEs are driving growth. “We are seeing big growth opportunities in Nigeria. There are mainly small deals in the market, but the volumes are great.” Ethiopia, which has recently relaxed exchange controls, is also showing healthy growth.

Throughout the region, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is driving new opportunities and business growth, Campbell Young says. “And, because we have the footprint in Africa, we are in a great position to capitalise on the opportunities.

“In Africa, you can’t do business remotely; you have to be there doing the numbers. You have to present, and you have to be locally relevant. With the right commitment, he believes the potential for the African market is significant. “We expect 100% growth for Bitdefender in the rest of Africa.”

Bitdefender has traditionally been a technology-centric organisation, Campbell Young says, and this is a strong positive in the African context. “The product has always been technically excellent and it has just got better and better over the years, which is why we are seeing great traction in all the markets it operates in.”

CSA is ideally positioned to extend Bitdefender’s global success story into Africa, Campbell Young adds.

“Based on our success as the South African country partner, they have given us a huge degree of freedom in tackling the rest of the continent, allowing us to express ourselves as we grow the market for them.”

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