IronPort Adds Virus Pre-emption, Courts Dell

IronPort partners such as Peter Kolb, director of data sales at Triple A Networks, a technology integrator in Arlington County, Va., praised this week's news that the vendor has added pre-emptive virus protection technology to its version 4.0 operating system for C-Series E-mail Security Appliances. But more pricing flexibility for the appliances is what Kolb would really like to see, he said.

"The new technology is something we were not seeing anything comparable to previously," said Kolb of version 4.0's new virus outbreak filter. "But for us to make a decent margin [on the appliances], we have to sell at list. Nobody wants to pay list."

Kolb added that talks between IronPort and Dell regarding a possible OEM deal for C-Series appliances could make it even tougher for partners to reap a profit.

Craig Taylor, vice president of technology at IronPort, San Bruno, Calif., confirmed that the vendor was in communication with Dell regarding a potential business relationship. However, Taylor said it is too early to tell whether a deal will take place.

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Version 4.0 adds a virus outbreak filter to the functionality of the C-Series product line. The new feature responds to security data sent around the clock from IronPort's SenderBase information service. The service monitors the Web for potential virus outbreaks and triggers the appliance to take proactive steps to protect the network, said Taylor.

Users running earlier versions of C-Series software can perform a free upgrade to 4.0 without having to replace the appliance, said Taylor.

Kolb became an IronPort reseller after using a C-Series appliance in-house for Triple A Networks' e-mail security needs. He said he tried several other hardware and software solutions before settling on IronPort. Still, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, he rates IronPort a 7 when it comes to being a quality partner. It's the margin issue that drags it down, Kolb said.

"With Cisco [Systems], for example, they may give you 35 percent off list, so you can sell at 20 percent if you want and still make a profit," said Kolb. "That could improve. And then if Dell grabs on to this, or more [IronPort] partners are added, the product could become somewhat commoditized, and it will be even harder to make money if the margin structure doesn't change."

IronPort executives said the vendor is putting the finishing touches on a new channel program that should arrive within the next year.

C-Series appliances are designed for large enterprises, ISPs and technically savvy midsize businesses. They start at around $10,000.