Communications and security vendor Kerio Technologies is announcing next week a new version of its messaging server and Web admin portal, Kerio Connect 7.4, which will arm its reseller partners with the ability to manage client’s mobile device fleets from an iPad.
Optimized for small- to medium-sized businesses and touting full capabilities for applying mobile access policies, setting up user mailboxes and troubleshooting server issues, Kerio Connect 7.4 gives resellers a one-stop mobile access point for remote client management, explained James Gudeli, Kerio’s vice president of business development.
"As far as what we’ve heard from our channel partners is that these are people that don’t sit around their desks that much," Gudeli told CRN. "They’re on-site with clients, and [with Connect 7.4] they can be at one client site and fix an issue for another client right there."
Gudeli said that Kerio, which is both a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a member of Apple’s Mac Developer Program, chose to optimize its Connect platform for the iPad, as opposed to other tablets on the market today, because of the device’s growing popularity in the enterprise, and particularly among IT professionals.
"We think that the iPad is really transcending Apple in terms of its perception as an OS," Gudeli said. "It really is an internet consumption appliance; it’s beyond just the Apple vs. Windows story. And it works in such a way that most IT people are interested in having it. Even a year ago, we started seeing a lot of Microsoft MVPs walking around with these things."
As Kerio worked to improve its Web administration portal for its messaging servers in general, Gudeli said it became clear that the iPad needed to have a place in that strategy. So with Kerio Connect 7.4, all of the tablet’s coveted navigation features remain in-tact. Resellers can use the iPad’s touch interface to scroll through lengthy lists of log files and seamlessly “tap” between different contextual menus.
"You really don’t have to do any kind of typing at all with it," he said.
In addition to a new mobile user interface, Kerio Connect 7.4 allows resellers to more efficiently implement user access policies. These policies allow resellers to control access to email services, including Kerio WebMail and Microsoft Outlook, and configure connectivity permissions for email protocols including ActiveSync, IMAP, and Exchange Web Services.
The new platform also helps resellers manage the growing number of mobile devices being used at client sites. Kerio resellers can use Connect 7.4, which offers support for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, to define individual user access levels to corporate information and email accounts. If a client, for instance, wants temporary employees to only have desktop access to the server but wants its CEO to have access to a desktop, smartphone, and tablet, a reseller can use Connect 7.4 to administer and keep track of these settings remotely.
The new admin platform also comes equipped with integrated anti-virus and anti-spam engines, and it is available as either an on-premise server or cloud email solution through a Kerio hosting partner.
NEXT: Resellers On The Road With Connect 7.4
Tom Bridge, a partner at Technolutionary, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider and Kerio reseller, told CRN that the convenience of being able to perform administration tasks for his clients from his own iPad is the biggest enhancement seen with Kerio Connect 7.4, which is preceded by Connect 7.2.
Bridge explained that most of Technolutionary’s clients tend to fall within the SMB category, between 20 and 50 employees. Most of these organizations are large enough to face "real" IT problems, he continued, but lack in-house IT departments to offer support. As a result, serving as clients’ go-to IT admin tends to be a "sweet spot" for the company.
With Connect 7.4, Bridge can fill this role on-the-go, for multiple clients.
"The iPad interface for Connect 7.4 is a huge benefit for us," Bridge told CRN. "I can whip out my iPad, it’s LTE-connected through the Verizon network, and I can hop into the admin interfaces of any of our client servers without necessarily having to start up a VPN connection or get off their network and switch gears and things like that."
Bridge also said that, as a reseller, he’s excited to see more providers like Kerio turning to the iPad as an admin tool. It affords greater portability than a traditional laptop, and tends to be more accessible too.
"There are so many times I take my iPad places and don’t take my laptop," he said. "So to be able to add a user or re-provision or check the spam filter logs to see what’s going on without pulling out my laptop, connecting to my Wi-Fi… it’s just a huge benefit to us."
Kerio’s Gudeli explained that Kerio Connect 7.4 is targeted primarily at resellers working in the small- to medium-sized business space. But for those working with larger clients that do have internal IT teams, partners have an opportunity to re-sell the platform as well.
A standard license for Kerio Connect 7.4 is $465 for the server and five users. Additional users can be added for $30 each. Kerio partners receive a discount based on their partnership level; Preferred and Certified partners receive a 25 percent discount, and Authorized partners receive 15 percent.
Each license comes with one year of included software maintenance, which Gudeli said serves a source of built-in recurring revenue for Kerio partners.