Compliance Call: Liquid Machines Recruits Partners

The Waltham, Mass.-based enterprise rights management (ERM) vendor on Monday unveiled a new partner program. Spearheaded by David Allen, newly appointed vice president of channel sales and alliances, the Liquid Machines Enterprise Rights Management Partner Program over the next year aims to add 20 to 30 VARs and ISVs. Ideally, partners should be able to tack the vendor's ERM technology onto larger solution sales, said Ed Gaudet, vice president of product management and marketing at Liquid Machines.

Liquid Machines' Document Control and Email Control products enhance the security of intellectual property and improve compliance by providing controls over who can access a particular file, Gaudet said. For example, Liquid Machines technology can help in compliance with HIPAA regulations, which call for the protection of medical records from unauthorized eyes. The products also assist with "forensic deletion" of certain content, such as stored e-mails from a company's finance department, which can--and should be--deleted after a mandated period of time, he said.

"Some companies just put passwords on files or add firewalls and set up subnets to provide the needed ethical wall between who should and who should not view certain content. But what they really want to do is control the content, and Liquid Machines makes that happen," Gaudet said.

The professional services expertise required to deploy Liquid Machines technology offers VARs a potentially lucrative opportunity, said Andy Swenson, managing director of security at Tribridge, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider.

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"We sell [Liquid Machines] typically as part of an overall solution. From our perspective, there are a lot of services around implementing it--how to define policies, levels of confidentiality," Swenson said. For a typical billing, the split between service revenue and the cost of the Liquid Machines product is about 65-35, respectively, he added.

Liquid Machines solutions work with data archiving products from KVS, Arlington, Texas, and accentuate Microsoft's Windows Rights Management Services. The products also will integrate with upcoming version 5.0 of Legato's Email Extender, Gaudet said.

For resellers, the Liquid Machines Enterprise Rights Management Partner Program offers improved product margins, free Liquid Machines software, marketing support, training, technical support and lead generation, according to Gaudet. The program is supervised by Liquid Machines' direct-sales force, which has incentives to work through program partners, he said.

Richard Ghastin, president of ExchangeTek, a VAR in Acton, Mass., said there's little overlap between the functionality of Liquid Machines and other digital rights systems that may be integrated into compliance-centric storage offerings from EMC or Computer Associates International.

"We are heavily involved in the compliance space and use multiple tools, such as KVS at the front end and IMLogic's IM Manager for capturing instant-message conversations," Ghastin said. "The Liquid Machines technology is pretty new to most companies. We've been adding it as additional functionality for customers already set up on the other technology."