AppRiver Readying Partner Program Changes

AppRiver, an email hosting and cloud-based anti-spam and encryption vendor, maintains a mix of direct and indirect sales, but Channel Chief Brian Haynes said that clients brought into the fold by partners are lasting the longest.

Haynes told CRN that AppRiver has a 92 percent customer retention rate year over year, and partners bring in more than 70 percent of the company's customers. "[Clients are] more sticky with our partners than they are when our direct team brings them in," Haynes said. "Seems to be that trust factor created between the partners themselves and their clients that helps maintain that, and the stickiness is a great thing."

[Related: Phish Food For Thought: 10 Ways To Identify A Phishing Attack ]

AppRiver is readying significant changes to its partner program, rolling out a certification program around its Hosted Exchange and email encryption services. Haynes is working to transition the company's channel program into broader tiers where partners are incentivized beyond sales volume, he said.

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"If it is just about revenue, that is an easy thing for anyone to get into, but if it's multifaceted it helps flush the quality partners to the top," Haynes said.

AppRiver also is adding head count, according to Haynes, who said the company now has 10 people dedicated to the channel. AppRiver sees growth opportunity in international expansion and has added data centers in Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong and London. The company also maintains locations in Dallas and Atlanta.

AppRiver's partner program consists of an Advisor Plus level in which it provides billing and support. In the Reseller level, margins range between 28 percent and 40 percent depending on whether partners are on the Standard or Gold tiers, which are based on sales volume. The company provides 24/7 U.S.-based customer service, and a white-label program enables partners to add their brand to the email and Web security service, Haynes said. Partner interest in the company is growing because it doesn't require significant investment in infrastructure or development costs, he added.

Kenny Golds, CEO of Hollywood BES, called the AppRiver partner program changes a positive sign that the company is remaining dedicated to its support focus behind its strong infrastructure. Golds told CRN AppRiver has been reliable while its engineers build out new features and services, remaining open-minded in a very competitive business.

"We offer white-glove service to our clients in a lot of different areas, and we often get involved in everything and anything they do online," Golds said. "Nothing is totally secure but the way AppRiver has created their infrastructure, it provides a lot of peace of mind for ourselves and our clients."

AppRiver is in a mature market, according to research firm Gartner, where buyers require the protection to filter out spam and dangerous phishing attacks but are becoming more price-sensitive. Some vendors provide on-premise gateways and SaaS-based services for anti-spam, anti-malware, outbound content inspection and email encryption. AppRiver competes against a mixture of network security and traditional endpoint security vendors, including Barracuda Networks, Cisco Systems, McAfee, Proofpoint, Symantec and Trend Micro, among others.