10 October 2022

Dagma: three and a half decades of development

Dagma, a distributor of IT security solutions, is 35 years old this year. The company currently employs nearly 200 people, and is among Poland’s leading cybersecurity providers. In autumn 2022, it introduced two new products into its range, Gatewatcher and Holm Security. This article was originally published in the Polish tech and business magazine CRN.

In late September, an official gala was held at the Katowice International Conference Centre, which included an award ceremony for stand-out business partners, as well as a look back at the major milestones in the history of the company. The attendees could also enjoy a live performance by Kasia Moś. An important part of the event was the official anniversary celebration and the associated retrospective.

New manufacturers in the portfolio

In the last decade or so, the security systems market has undergone a major shift. Many new solutions have emerged, but the same also can be said about new threats.

More than a decade ago, when I first joined Dagma, security software was very specialised. We had antivirus software, firewalls and antispyware, and the best-selling software was always that which came packaged in bright, eye-catching boxes. Today a single solution includes all of that and more. To call the ESET security package an antivirus programme would be selling it short

Paweł Jurek,
Deputy Director for Development at Dagma

In addition to ESET, the Silesian distributor has in its portfolio products by such developers as Acronis, Safetica, Senhasegura and Stormshield. In October, these five companies will be joined by two new developers: the French Gatewatcher and the Swedish Holm Security. The French company is a provider of hardware and software solutions for protecting critical networks in large enterprises and government organisations, while Holm Security offers a platform for infrastructure vulnerability verification. The platform’s users can find out just how resilient their organisation is to attacks, industrial espionage, sabotage and other threats.

We’re expanding our range of products to meet new network and data protection requirements of businesses and institutions. We’ve noticed that businesses are increasingly interested in EDR, XDR and NDR products, as well as network audits. This is why we’ve been introducing new layers of security, because in today’s world, a UTM system or an antivirus package is not enough. Besides, in addition to products like Gatewatcher and Holm Security, we’re expanding our range of corporate solutions

Paweł Jurek,
Deputy Director for Development at Dagma

Westward expansion

Last year Dagma debuted on the DACH market, which comprises Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Dagma GmbH was established in 2022). The Polish distributor set an ambitious goal for itself.

We’re aware that it’s very difficult to enter the German market, but we want to set ambitious goals for ourselves. If we can succeed in the DACH region, the returns will be great, and much higher than what we could expect in Bulgaria and Lithuania, with no disrespect to either of those countries, of course

Anna Piechocka,
Managing Director at Dagma Bezpieczeństwo IT

First and foremost, the Silesian company wants to conquer new markets thanks to its highly skilled staff and value-added solutions. And although the prices will also be important, they are not viewed as the greatest advantage in the fight for German-speaking clients. A positive sign of things to come is the fact that Dagma has already been successful at acquiring its first customers in Germany.

From computers to value-added systems

Dagma had its beginnings in the late 1980s. In 1987, three graduates of the Katowice University of Economics pooled their savings together to start a business focusing on international trade. At first they were looking for a profitable niche which they could successfully fill on the still-undeveloped domestic market. Interestingly, in its first years of existence, the company focused on selling ‘regular’ computer hardware.

Before we began offering cybersecurity solutions, we had already had access to very good suppliers from China and Taiwan. We sold hardware, and operated kind of like a logistics company. But after some time, we had enough of that due to frequent exchange rate fluctuations and shrinking margins. Eventually we decided that we had to focus on selling products with added value

Anna Piechocka,
Managing Director at Dagma Bezpieczeństwo IT

The big breakthrough came in 1992, when Grzegorz Sikorski, co-founder and management board member, clinched a deal with the British company S&S International, the developers of Dr Solomon’s Antivirus Toolkit. However, back then, selling antivirus software on the Polish market was quite an ordeal. This thankless task was carried out by Anna Piechocka.

Whenever I would call a company and offer them our anti-virus software, I would get a very funny response, with some clients wanting to put me through to a doctor’s office. But after a while, we managed to make our clients realise what an antivirus programme does. After that I would often hear that while Dr Solomon’s was an interesting and functional product, hey had never caught a computer virus, only the flu

Anna Piechocka,
Managing Director at Dagma Bezpieczeństwo IT

Ultimately, however, promoting antivirus software on the domestic market bore fruit. Dr Solomon’s Antivirus Toolkit became popular among smaller businesses and large corporations alike, including Unilever, which purchased nearly 400 licences. A curious situation occurred in 1998, when Dagma was about to sign a contract for providing several thousand licences to a Polish bank. But in the meantime, S&S International had been absorbed by McAfee, leading to the bank withdrawing from the deal, claiming that it could not purchase any products from a company that was in the process of being acquired.

Unfortunately, the partnership between Dagma and McAfee was not the smoothest, and both companies decided to bring an end to it. The Silesian distributor’s next partner was the American developer Webroot. Dagma successfully introduced its products in Poland, but the Americans ended the partnership after two years.

That was strange because our sales results were very good at the time. Suddenly someone at the developer’s head office found some documents according to which our distribution agreement had not been approved by a high-ranking executive. Webroot withdrew from the partnership, and the person who signed the agreement on their part was laid off

Anna Piechocka,
Managing Director at Dagma Bezpieczeństwo IT

Although the partnerships with American security system providers were not the most effective, joining up with the Slovakian company ESET proved to be a great success: its antivirus software is currently used by more than 5 million Poles.

ESET really lets us grow as a value-added distributor. We enjoy a great deal of freedom, which allows us to pursue interesting and innovative projects. One of ESET’s executives once told me that if I don’t find something fun, if it doesn’t make me happy, then I shouldn’t do it. And that’s the motto we live by

Anna Piechocka,
Managing Director at Dagma Bezpieczeństwo IT

Original article: https://crn.pl/artykuly/dagma-trzy-i-pol-dekady-rozwoju/2

Marcin Mazur
public relations i content marketingu specialist

Do you have any questions?
Contact me:
mazur.m@dagma.pl
32 793 12 48