Webroot Merges With Email Systems To Add SaaS

Webroot is beefing up its security capabilities in a major way after it announced an impending merger with Email Systems, a U.K.-based software-as-a-service provider.

"It's a natural evolution," said Peter Watkins, Webroot CEO. "You don't have to buy any software, you have nothing on the premises, you don't have to learn intricacies, and that has tremendous appeal."

The merger will enable Webroot to move into the SaaS space with a more comprehensive, multi-layered security strategy for enterprise organizations, particularly SMBs. The deal will allow Webroot to be able to provide new e-mail and Web Security solutions such as e-mail archiving, image scanning and encryption, anti-spam, anti-phishing and anti-virus services that protect e-mail, Web filtering and other Web-based communications. The company's e-mail and Web management protection and compliance services will be integrated with Webroot's antispyware and antivirus end-point protection solutions.

This multi-dimensional approach provides an attractive alternative to traditional hardware and server-based solutions, Watkins said.

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"It makes life so much easier," said Watkins. "For the vast majority of people, the economic benefits are far more compelling."

One advantage for businesses will be increased e-mail filtering capabilities, Watkins said, noting that about 90 percent of the total e-mail a business typically receives is in the form of spam. "You're paying an awful lot of your bandwidth for spam. Why are you doing that?" he said.

Email Systems' SaaS-based e-mail and Web protection capabilities will allow Webroot to send all the e-mail to one location where it will get filtered before reaching the receiver's inbox. "Your IT guys don't have to worry about anything. We do it all. If the volume of spam increases, it's absorbed by our data center and you never have to worry about it," said Watkins.

Email Systems, which has provided e-mail and Web protection, management and compliance services to businesses and partners since 2002, protects more than 1,500 businesses and 2.5 million e-mail boxes around the world. In addition, the company scans more than 1.2 billion messages per month. The merger will expand the company's own delivery capabilities to a much broader overseas audience -- which until now has mainly been European-based -- with an augmented reseller network.

"By joining forces, we are poised to provide one of the most unique and powerful security solutions in the industry," said Neil Hammerton, Email Systems CEO, in a written statement. "SaaS is a disruptive technology that we've seen grow to dominate business applications and expect to see the same with security."

While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the new organization has reaffirmed its commitment to being primarily channel focused in the SaaS space. Webroot also plans to retain all current employees while accelerating some new hires.

"In the technology world, you don't want to be the telegraph when the telephone is invented," Watkins said. "That's exactly the pivotal point you have here. We can do the extra benefits."

"We're very excited for strategic reasons as well as the plain old opportunity," he added.