Combining Storage, Email As A Service: eFolder Acquires DoubleCheck Business

The acquisition, which was completed Sept. 1 but only disclosed this week, brings together technologies developed by two companies that were founded as solution providers but branched out and developed products they sold exclusively through other indirect channel partners.

EFolder started as the software development arm of SafeNet, an Atlanta-based solution provider, and eventually developed an online backup service that is offered to solution providers, which can either resell the service or brand it as their own.

EFolder is currently growing at a rate of 25 percent per month in terms of revenue and channel partners, said Jan Spring, vice president of channel development for the company.

NMGI, Hutchinson, Kan., was founded in 1983 and developed the DoubleCheck e-mail management application in 2001, eventually selling it on a channel-only basis.

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With the acquisition, eFolder gains the DoubleCheck technology, a team of DoubleCheck developers, NMGI's DoubleCheck customers and access to its channel partners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DoubleCheck Email Manager is e-mail filtering software that can be integrated as part of a server appliance or delivered as a service. It can also be delivered via a Software-as-a-Service model, or as part of a channel partner's other services.

DoubleCheck offers e-mail security via the MacAfee antivirus engine. However, said Steve Harper, president of NMGI, the seven-year contract with MacAfee expires in September, and the antivirus engine will be replaced by technology from an as-yet unnamed vendor, which will also include additional features such as antiphishing and antispyware.

The acquisition of the DoubleCheck business will enable eFolder to offer a more complete set of services to its channel partners, said Kevin Hoffman, eFolder CTO.

"We see this as a perfect fit with all the services eFolder offers," Hoffman said. "Customers have been asking us about e-mail security, which led to discussions with NMGI. Our partners love to work with us and like the idea of dealing with a single vendor."

One of those partners who loves the idea is Laura Steward, director of health-care services at SL Powers, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based solution provider.

Steward was CEO of Guardian Angel Computer Services in Norwalk, Conn., until this summer, when that company was acquired by SL Powers, and at her new position continues to work with both eFolder and NMGI.

Steward praised the acquisition of DoubleCheck by eFolder, especially since eFolder already offers e-mail archiving, which provides a perfect fit for DoubleCheck's e-mail management and security capabilities.

"When I saw the e-mail from 'Harpo,' I thought, 'Oh my God, what are they doing?'" Steward said, referring to NMGI's Harper. "Then I thought, that makes perfect sense."

It is a big advantage for solution providers to be able to go to a single vendor for the technology to build a services offering around storage, e-mail archiving, and e-mail management and security, Steward said.

"Before, if we had a problem, we had to deal with a couple of different vendors," she said. "Now we can get it all from one vendor. The DoubleCheck team has always offered the best service. Combined with the marketing of eFolder, it will blow away Barracuda [Networks]."

EFolder plans to integrate the DoubleCheck service with its existing data protection and e-mail archiving services into a unified monitoring and management interface, Hoffman said.

Eventually, DoubleCheck will be as integrated as eFolder's e-mail archiving service. "When we introduced our e-mail archiving service, we integrated it with our backup management service so that customers only need two clicks to do e-mail archiving," he said.

With the acquisition comes a team of three developers that will help eFolder with the acquisition. Those developers also bring experience in integrating software with hardware to form appliances, giving eFolder an opportunity to expand its entire services offering with more single-function or multifunction appliances, Spring said.

EFolder and NMGI declined to disclosed the size of the DoubleCheck business, but Harper said eFolder gains "hundreds of resellers and thousands of customers."

There is some channel partner overlap between eFolder and DoubleCheck, but for the vast majority of partners from both sides there is an opportunity for them to pick up new services as a result of the acquisition, Hoffman said.

"We will bring new e-mail services to our partners and offer our storage services to the DoubleCheck partners," he said.

For NMGI, the sale of the DoubleCheck business gives the company a chance to return to its roots as a solution provider and managed services provider, once it finishes the transition of customers and partners to eFolder, Harper said.

The sale also gives NMGI the chance to explore new opportunities, he said.

"Because of my partner, we are tied to the CPA community," he said. "We're working on some CPA document technology we expect to have out next year. We can fund the development thanks to our friends at eFolder."