Last summer PineApp, an Israeli company that makes e-mail security appliances, decided to stick a toe in the Canadian market, servicing the few VARs it collected here from its U.S. headquarters.It was a mistake the company realized after only three months. “It was expensive,” recalls Steven Curry, vice-president of channel sales, because border delays meant trouble upholding the firm’s instant replacement warranty.
This month PineApp took a step toward remedying that by signing a Canadian distribution agreement with Channel Management International (CMI), a small Gatineau, Que., specialty distributor to bring in the manufacturer’s Mail-SeCure series of devices.
In addition to bringing in the appliances, CMI will provide pre-sales and first-line call support, said company president Karen Letain.
She promised to launch a full marketing campaign to promote the Mail-SeCure line to its 24 value-added resellers, and to find other channel partners across the country.
One Toronto VAR who’s been selling the line for several months thinks it was worth investing in.
Cecil Young of SBG Technologies came across Curry at a trade show in the city last summer and asked for a loaner to help a customer who’d been bombarded with spam.
“After one day he said, ‘I’ll take it,’” Young recalled.
Since then the products have “been selling pretty good,” he said.
One drawback, he added, is the price. The Mail-SeCure line runs from US$2,000 to US$45,000, which can be a lot of money for small organizations, said Young. A $3,000 appliance is the same price as a server, he said.
However, he also said that the Mail-SeCure’s performance makes it worth it.
The Mail-SeCure comes in four flavours, ranging from the introductory Series 1000 for up to 50 users to the 5000 Series for more than 10,000 users.
There are no per-user charges.
PineApp makes the devices’ software, while the server hardware is made by either IBM or Sun Microsystems, depending on the model. They incorporate anti-virus protection based on five AV engines (including F-Secure, Kaspersky and PineApp’s heuristic engine), and a spam filter that includes zombie detection and watches for image-based spam.
The software includes mail traffic and policy management on the 1000 series and load balancing on the other models.
The Series 1000 and 3000 hold up to 80GB of storage on IDE disks, the 4000 has an 80GB SATA disk, while the 5000 holds two 72GB SCSI discs in a RAID configuration.
PineApp, which sells completely through the channel, has a two-tier partner program, called gold and silver.
Both levels get the same 30 per cent margin on the appliances, but gold partners are eligible for certain spiffs and promotions. They also have to be trained on the product and can therefore call themselves certified by PineApp.
“What makes us better and a faster product to sell is PineApp does 20 to 30 more things than a typical anti-spam appliance,” said Curry. “We are a true e-mail security appliance. We protect the network from all e-mail threats and we do it in one device at a very competitive price and very high margins for the channel.”
Curry said PineApp chose CMI rather than a larger distributor in part because it carries fewer products than the others, he said, and demonstrated it can still be effective in a country where the customers are concentrated in a few geographies.
Meanwhile, Cecil Young is pleased that the company has a Canadian distributor. “It may help us get the appliances faster,” he said.