Respected Russian anti-virus vendor Kaspersky Lab announced Friday that it is opening a U.S. operation. Kaspersky has significance to the industry that goes beyond just being another security vendor.

The Russian company has gained respect in Europe for the quality of its software, the high level of its support and its ability to respond to new threats very quickly.

But as nice as those factors are, and they are very nice, the reasons for U.S. VARs to welcome this company really go beyond that.

The most important points are that Kaspersky’s AV (anti-virus) software is not Windows-centric, and that the company works closely with a very broad selection of OEMs to bring anti-virus capabilities to a wide variety of applications.

This means that if you plan to provide a Linux-based appliance to a customer, for example, you can make sure that the appliance includes AV.

It may not sound like a big deal, but suppose you’re selling one of your customers something mission critical such as a PBX? You sure wouldn’t want that getting a worm or a virus.

And in fact, one of the factors that makes Kaspersky Lab important to VARs is that its product is not aimed at consumers as is the case with many AV products. While Kaspersky does have a consumer version available for download, its focus is on the enterprise.

For this reason, the company provides products for Windows and Linux workstations; Windows, NetWare, Linux, BSD and Samba servers; Exchange, Notes and Unix mail servers; and gateways including Checkpoint. You can see the integration opportunities.

In addition, because you can offer your customers applications that use the Kaspersky AV engine, you can offer another layer of protection for products ranging from Multitech to Sybari to GFI. It’s hard to find a single source for this breadth of solutions from other vendors.

But in the long run, there’s more to Kaspersky’s move into the United States than just lots of choices for VARs. After all, other AV vendors provide plenty of options, and while they may not mirror what Kaspersky provides, they do offer a lot in other areas.

When the company’s U.S. branch settles into its headquarters in Woburn, Mass., Kaspersky Lab will become part of what may become a wave of overseas companies seeking opportunities in the United States.

While Kaspersky has been successful in Europe and Asia, it hasn’t done as well in the United States. In part that’s because of competition from companies such as Symantec and McAfee that know the market very well indeed.

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However, it’s also been partly that Kaspersky hasn’t had a particularly high profile in the United States, and that’s something that a U.S. operation should solve. The fact that the company has a narrower focus than its competition, and the fact that it offers a broader range of products within that area of focus, means that in its niche, Kaspersky can be a major player.

Of course, the company can’t begin to take on the broad enterprise security management offerings of Symantec and McAfee, but for many resellers, that’s not as important as offering a single solution to a multitude of needs. Need AV for whatever you’re implementing? You’ve got the answer.

It’s likely that such moves into underserved markets in the United States will appeal to other companies from overseas as well. For VARs, this can be critical, because until now, they’ve been forced to select products that might not have solved the problem. Or they had to choose from several products when a single vendor would have been better. Kaspersky is one of the first, but there’s no question that others will follow, and the news for you and your customers couldn’t be better.

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