Montreal’s ZeroSpam looking to build Canadian channel

David Poellhuber Zerospam

David Poellhuber, chief spaminator at ZeroSpam

Montreal-based e-mail security vendor ZeroSpam is looking to build up its channel presence on the home front – particularly outside of its base in La Belle Province.

Currently, the channel is ZeroSpam’s main route to market outside Quebec, and accounts for about 50 per cent of the company’s business today, according to David Poellhuber, chief spaminator at ZeroSpam. But he sees that figure growing to somewhere between 60 and 75 per cent in the near future as it expands its base of 50 VARs in Canada to a network of about 200 by the end of the year.

Something of an anomaly among small Canadian companies, many of whom look to the south and salivate at the much larger addressable market Stateside, ZeroSpam remains focused on Canada, with about 80 per cent of its business done here at home.

Poellhuber said Canada remains the target because that’s where its roots are and because one of the company’s biggest differentiators is that it can guarantee that e-mail is handled in country, making it one of the only outsourced e-mail security companies that can work with Canadian organizations concerned with cross-border data traffic.

“We’re looking for VARs whose business is offering great service to their clients,” Poellhuber said. “We tend to believe that we’re different in the type and quality of service we offer to the VAR or consultant in terms of customer support, efficiency, availability and security.”

In particular, Poellhuber said the company is looking for solution providers who believe in its belief that e-mail is a, if not the, mission critical application, and that organizations need that application to be a secure and reliable one.

“It’s all about security with a service level agreement,” Poellhuber said. The company offers monitoring of managed environments, including catch rate, availability of the solution and false positive rates in its SLA with clients.

Poellhuber said getting signed up with ZeroSpam is a fairly simple process – training can be delivered over about a thirty minute WebEx session, and the reseller agreement is a two-page document. VARs must agree to sign up at least three customers to the service to prove they’re serious, but there are no minimum number of seats at those customers.

Other differentiators include a focus on antiphishing, including a unique advantage for Canadian customers – because of the relatively low number of Canadian financial services organizations, the company is able to track where e-mail that purport to be from Canadian banks are coming from, and map that against a known map of major Canadian financial institution locations. That’s a lot easier to process in Canada than in the U.S., where there are hundreds upon hundreds of regional banks.

The company also offers options for group or individual quarantine of spam messages, including options to run both within a single organization – for example keeping top executives’ spam folders private to them for data confidentiality reasons, while other employees are centrally managed, allowing for reduced overhead and greater scalability.

For solution providers, the ZeroSpam solution can be white labeled for free by any partner with more than 100 mailboxes signed up, giving options in how VARs engage with the company and customers, and making ZeroSpam a potential part of a managed service offering.

The offering also includes disaster recovery capabilities that can be turned on when needed, but are otherwise not enabled. That service lets VARs offer at least a basic level of e-mail continuity in the event of disaster – a circumstance Poellhuber said the company’s partners see at least two or three times a month.

Right now, Poellhuber’s “bulls-eye” for partners is Ontario in general and the Greater Toronto Area in specific. A big part of the plan is participation in regional SMB-focused events, including last weekend’s SMB Nation event and this week’s SC Congress. “This is a new territory for us, and we’ve got very strong promotions going on to get Toronto VARs to come and see us,” Poellhuber said.

Those promotions include a six month free trial for all new resellers, which Poellhuber described as “the very best way to get engaged and see if [partners] like [ZeroSpam,] and a “show special” event at the Toronto-area events where each new reseller that signs up 100 mailboxes or more gets an iPad 2 from ZeroSpam.