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AcXess Brings Continuity-As-A-Service Through VARs To SMBs

AcXess is looking to develop a channel to bring business continuity as a service to small and midsize businesses that traditionally have not been able to consider ways to stay in operation in the wake of natural or manmade disasters. The company provides SMBs resilience for their critical IT infrastructure in the form of a managed service so that they can continue to operate in case of a disaster.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based startup provides SMBs a resilience solution for their critical IT infrastructure so that they can continue to operate in case of a disaster, said company President Tom Elowson.

The company does not provide co-location facilities-- Instead, it manages backup infrastructures in ATT co-location for customers so that they can access their business applications and data in the event of a disaster.

While several companies currently target SMBs with storage as a service, AcXess is looking to bring a full range of business continuity capabilities to such clients.

Because AcXess provides this capability as a managed service, Elowson said the cost is typically half of what a customer would pay if it implemented a similar business continuity program on its own.

AcXess seeks such customers via solution providers who deal with SMBs daily but who may not have the necessary expertise, Elowson said.

"This is typically not a core business of channel partners, but it is a top-of-mind objective for CIO-type people," he said. "Business partners who try to do this on their own find this to be a capital-intensive business. So they can turn it over to us for 20 points off of the gross billings."

The company initially targets Citrix solution advisors, but is recruiting from a broad array of solution providers who want to get into the MSP space, AcXess said. Elowson, along with AcXess Chairman and CEO Tony Zalenski, have over the years worked with Citrix from the solution provider, customer, and technology partner sides, he said.

"Our focus with Citrix has been so successful from the development and channel side, so we are providing our business continuity as a service through the Citrix channel," he said. "We chose the Citrix Solution Advisors because we have built a very scalable architecture to run hundreds of thousands of clients in the ATT data centers. We want scalability in sales as well, so we are going after the channel."

AcXess, which was formed in January of 2005 and which went live with its services only three months ago, plans to launch its Channel First program in August, just in time for the hurricane season, Elowson said.

The program includes a business impact analysis certification which gives solution providers a group of methodologies and templates to allow partners to asses the weaknesses of a customer's business continuity infrastructure, if they have one, Elowson said.

"The business impact analysis enables partners to learn what business continuity means and how to help customers set up a full business continuity plan, include the customer call list [of people to call in a disaster]," he said. "Whatever the VAR charges for the consulting, 100 percent is theirs to keep. They are actually gaining a billable consulting skill by training with us."

For its first year, AcXess was self-funded, but recently received some venture capital funding from Aspen Capital. While Citrix has invested time and marketing resources in AcXess, it did not provide any funding, Elowson said. "We didn't want investment from Citrix," he said. "We didn't want to be tied down to one platform."

AcXess on Thursday said it completed a reverse acquisition of Innovative Software Technologies, a publicly traded shell company that in the past sold corporate development training software. Elowson did not reveal terms of the reverse merger, but said that bridging funding of about $500,000 was invested for the acquisition.

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