Andreas Bechtold, President Europe, Infinigate Group: “Cybersecurity is not a standalone topic anymore. Cybersecurity is all about integration, embedded security. And we must think about operating. It is not just a product or a solution, but also a matter of how to operate the Cybersecurity environment in a very safe and effective way.”
November 2023 by Valentin Jangwa, Global Security Mag
Andreas Bechtold, President Europe, Infinigate Group, met at it-sa Expo&Congress (HOME OF IT SECURITY) in Nuremberg, explains the impact of Infinigate in the Cybersecurity ecosystem, while Julia Strykova, Digital Marketing Manager at Nuvias, shines a light on the group’s charity actions.
Global Security Mag: Thank you for your time here at it-sa. Could you please, introduce yourself, and tell us about your journey at Infinigate?
Andreas Bechtold: My name is Andreas Bechtold, President Europe at Infinigate. I live in Munich. I am married and I have two sons who are still studying and not in IT or the Cybersecurity Industry for now. I have started at Infinigate in 2000, on the 1st of September, as Business Unit Manager for Security. So, I’ve been enjoying working at Infinigate for more than 23 years. Historically, Infinigate has a portfolio of many products, including Cybersecurity. Web servers, Application servers, and other products are also in our domain of business.
I was also the Sales Manager for the security division for 3 years. Then we did a strategic move, because Infinigate’s security division was growing faster than the other Business Units. For a Distributor, when you are not one of the broadline players, it is important to have a quite clear profile in the market. So, in 2004 and 2005, we went through a transition period, deciding to slow down or cut out the other Business Units and develop the Security Business Unit more. At the end of 2006, we were then a 100% IT Security and Security Networking Business.
At that time, I had the opportunity to become the Managing Director for Germany in early 2005 to March 2020, we were 25 people with around 17 million of annual revenue. I handed over the Business to the current Managing Director, Robert, with 550 million annual revenue and more than 300 employees.
Being the Managing Director for Germany, I worked more than 15 years with Infinigate’s Founder and Owner, David Martinez. As Infinigate was growing across Europe and making acquisitions, the new CEO (Klaus Schlichtherle) offered me a group role as President Europe Infinigate, which I’ve been running for about 3 years and half across 17 countries. During our fiscal year 2022-2023, which ended in March 2023, Infinigate has acquired Nuvias, Vuzion and Starlink. We are now about 1300 employees and around 2.4 billion revenue.
Global Security Mag: Infinigate is doing well and is attending it-sa. What are your expectations here, as a Value-Added Distributor ? What is the outcome that you have being seeing so far ?
Andreas Bechtold: Infinigate has been attending it-sa since year one, in 2009. We are Partner and Exhibitor. I am also a member of the it-sa’s Exhibitors board.
In DACH (Deutschland for Germany, A for Austria, and CH is short for Latin Confoederatio Helvetica for Switzerland) region, it-sa is a key event for Cybersecurity. It is important to support this kind of event from the beginning, in the German market, one of the key European markets. For Partners, Vendors, End-User customers, it-sa has a high-rate of visitors, and is focused on Cybersecurity, which is a key topic, one of the things making it so attractive.
Infinigate’s booth is more than 600 square meters size. We have here many of our key Partners and Vendors because we are providing them a platform. It is one of our value-added service in the marketing area. We manage all the organization, catering and administration matters for them, and they just need to come and attend, as everything is prepared and even the coffee machine is ready. They appreciate that service from Infinigate which helps them just focus on their business, and interact with visitors and prospects.
As a Distributor, the outcome for us is absolutely about networking, and we are the man in the middle between the Resellers, the Vendors and the Customers / Prospects. It is an easy way to connect people to each other, and the profiles can be better assessed in live. We connect the right people together. We can show our Partners the kind of services offering that we provide. All the messages, newsletters and feeds sent to social networks are a tool, but it is much more effective to talk to people face to face. So, it-sa is really the right platform to be effectively connecting business people for 3 days.
Global Security Mag: So Infinigate will be attending it-sa every year, right?
Andreas Bechtold: Yes, it-sa is growing and planning to add up another hall next year, as the interest of the Vendors, Resellers, Distributors, Technology Partners, Providers, End-Users, Customers and Prospects, is also growing based on the fact that it-sa’s focus is on Cybersecurity.
Global Security Mag: And what is Infinigate’s strategy to keep on growing?
Andreas Bechtold: At Infinigate, we have 3 main pillars. The first one is integration. We are currently integrating our last acquisition, Nuvias, which is planned to be finished by the end of our fiscal year in March 2024, so we will have a solid footprint in the market, merging the massive knowledge, experience, and comprehensive vendors portfolio. The second pillar is the organic growth that we are planning to continue having with other targets Merger & Acquisitions for our market growth in the Cybersecurity domain. The third pillar is the internationalization of our Infinigate Cloud business model. We acquired a UK Company called Vuzion, a Microsoft indirect Cloud Provider doing its business since many years, and that extends our footprint in the Cloud business market. Vuzion was just acting in the UK, so under the Infinigate’s Cloud umbrella, we will internationalize that business with a presence in other countries for the next fiscal year, even if that won’t happen overnight.
Many of our vendors have solutions for securing Microsoft Office 365, Azure, servers’ environments. Combining those with the very specific secure Cloud Vuzion services will be perfect for us to offer a secure Cloud bundle platform for our Partners, with a lot of services around.
Global Security Mag: What is your key message for our readers and CISOs? Andreas Bechtold: Cybersecurity is not a standalone topic anymore. Cybersecurity is all about integration, embedded security. And we must think about operating. It is not just a product or a solution, but also a matter of how to operate the Cybersecurity environment in a very safe and effective way.
Global Security Mag: Julia, could you please tell us about Infinigate’s Charity actions? Your last Charity Gala was last September, right?
Julia Strykova: Yes, our last event was the Charity Gala Infinigate and Nuvias in September at the Hotel Atlantic, a historical location in Hamburg. Almost 200 people came, and we managed to gather more than 80 000 euros for different social organizations.
It is not the first time that Infinigate, along with an acquired company, is involved in a Charity action. 3 years ago, our first Charity campaign was an action for clean water. We had the opportunity to buy bottles of water for our company and for every bottle that you buy for your office, 20cents go to an organization helping children in Africa get clean water. So, by drinking water at your office, you could support people struggling with getting clean water. That was the beginning of the Charity initiatives at Infinigate’s Group. We then tried and succeeded in combining event management and awareness for people in need. We recently held 2 summits with talks about Cybersecurity. We brought a real Casino to the event location and for every talk held on our booth, our participants would receive a chip, with an amount of money to be used for playing at the Casino, then having to decide whether to use the money for playing further or to donate the amount for social actions. We managed to gather about 5 000 euros. So, this is how the story of Infinigate’s humanitarian actions begun, before the great Charity Gala, all while doing business in IT & the world of Cybersecurity.