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BlackSpider spins Middle East channel web

E-mail security services vendor BlackSpider has signed up Tech Access as its exclusive distribution partner for the Middle East.

UK-based e-mail security services vendor BlackSpider has signed up Tech Access as its exclusive distribution partner for the Middle East. John Cheney, CEO at BlackSpider, claims that its remotely hosted e-mail security system offers Middle East resellers high margins and the potential for recurring revenue streams.

“BlackSpider sells a service, not a product,” explained Cheney. “We protect customers e-mail security by scanning all of their inbound and outbound internet e-mail to ensure that it is free of threats and conforms to the e-mail security policies they wish to deploy. The service is hosted remotely and allows us to block messages before they come down onto the corporate network and start tying up bandwidth and storage space.”

BlackSpider currently hosts its infrastructure in six datacentres around the world and plans to start working with a co-location provider in the Middle East by the end of the year. Customers purchase the solution on a one, two or three year basis and pay according to the number of e-mail inboxes on their network. Typically customers pay between US$2 and US$3 per user per month.

The business-to-business service, targeted at organisations with between 25 and 50,000 mailboxes, is sold exclusively through the channel. Tech Access will look to recruit partners with a background in IT security and a solid existing customer base. According to Cheney, the BlackSpider service-based solution offers partners the opportunity to build long-term relationships with customers.

“Tech Access already has good channel coverage in the Middle East and a network of resellers that can take BlackSpider to market,” he added. “We offer new users a free 28-day trial of the service so that they can fully understand the total cost of ownership benefits associated with outsourcing e-mail security to a third party. We actually have a 97% conversion rate when it comes to companies using the free trial and then becoming paid-up customers.”

“Tech Access can help us make a market in the Middle East. The vast majority of companies have bought product-based solutions to address this problem, so there is a level of market education required. It is an exclusive agreement with Tech Access and we are giving them a clear runway to establish themselves in the market,” Cheney continued.

BlackSpider’s service puts it in competition with the product-based solutions offered by major anti-virus vendors that are typically located within a customer’s IT infrastructure as opposed to being hosted remotely.

“Over 1,200 companies now use BlackSpider and this includes major organisations such as Panasonic, TNT and EasyJet,” added Cheney. “All of these companies were previously using a product-based solution to perform this function. What they now recognise is that we offer a higher level of protection because we handle 20 million e-mail messages a day in total and that makes it much easier for us to detect anomalies.”

BlackSpider uses a combination of its own technology and third party anti-virus engines from vendors including Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky to protect customers from e-mail security threats.

“These vendors do offer product solutions and that is where our competition is," said Cheny. "We are competing with the Trend Micros of the world. I think companies are starting to realise that is more efficient and cost-effective to outsource rather than perform this function internally. It frees up the IT security staff to focus on more strategic issues.”

An Arabic version of the BlackSpider software, which produces end-user reports on the number and type of e-mails blocked, will be ready within two months.

“This is a fast-growing market space. We expect 60% annual compound growth and the model provides resellers with high margins and recurring revenues. The Middle East customers are now more willing to adopt a services-based model and the economy is picking up fast,” concluded Cheney.

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