Mailprotector cuts channel partner costs in half with new encryption technology

Mailprotector has doubled down on exclusive commitment to the channel under new channel chief Ted Roller, and is now introducing a new encryption technology which both improves security and cuts costs. It does this by leaving the encrypted emails on customer premises while putting the key to de-encrypt them in the cloud.

David Setzer

David Setzer, Mailprotector’s CEO

Mailprotector, which provides SaaS email security through partners, has announced it is adopting a new encryption technology which allows partners to offer greatly improved security, while also cutting their costs.

The company has had an interesting odyssey. When it started up in 2000, it was an extranet developer, which developed its own email filtering system for its own customers.

“In 2002, we put an administrative interface on what we were doing with email security, and by 2003 it had subsumed everything else and had become all our work,” said David Setzer, Mailprotector’s CEO. “We are a completely horizontal solution. While some enterprises use us, our focus is on the 20-100 seat space.”

There has been plenty of competition in the space over the years, but Mailprotector believes they have a couple competitive advantages. One is a laser-like focus on the email space.

“We are email only, and it is the only work that we do,” said Ted Roller, Mailprotector’s channel chief. “We have several different disciplines but we aren’t in phones, or backup. We are pure play email only. David made the decision to do what we do well, and not be distracted.”

Their other advantage is that they have never been dependent on venture capital money.

“At one time we competed against a lot of companies like MXLogic, Reflexion, and Postini, which were all acquired,” Setzer said. “Companies like ours take a growth route, which is typically a VC route, and they typically have an exit route when they are bought. Their development team is then gutted and they become an X mark on a line card.”

“We have no venture dollars,” Roller said. “We have no angel dollars unless you consider the owner an angel. This lets us focus entirely on the owner’s vision.”

The company sold to channel partners from the start, although a complete commitment to the channel came later.

“We sold to anyone who would buy and channel partners were part of that,” Setzer said. “At that point, we gave them a better deal.”

While the channel role consistently increased over the years, the focus didn’t consolidate completely until Roller came on board as channel chief. Roller is essentially a professional channel chief, who works with companies looking to establish or strengthen a channel, gets the channel plan organized, and then moves on to the next client.

“I ask them questions starting with leadership, channel goals and capabilities, and that’s a week-long process,” Roller said. “The idea is to identify if they are ready to build a committed channel. Most companies are NOT ready. For those that are, I give them a business plan to get there. These are things to clear up on the operational side of the business help them get ready or very close to ready.”

Roller indicated that MailProtector had no obvious red flags for channel readiness, but that some work still needed to be done.

“Historically, before I came on board, channel engagement was strategic, but MailProtector was still a well-kept secret in many quarters, “he said. “Events like CompTIA’s and ASCII’s didnt know who they were.”

“We made a commitment to the channel and to be channel-only,” Setzer indicated. “We had an idea what we wanted to do. Ted filled it in, and developed a business plan to do it.” MailProtector now has approximately 440 partners globally, most of which are MSPs, but they also have many VARs.

Having made a complete commitment to the channel, Mailprotector is now sunsetting their old encryption solution, and giving partners a new tool to improve both the effectiveness and profitability of the way the solution handles encryption.

“We are announcing a fundamental change in the way we deliver encryption.” Roller said. “Today, every popular encryption system is in a situation where the cloud product both holds the email and manages encryption keys.” The new solution, ForcEncrypt, is more secure, keeps all encrypted data on the customers’ sites, and costs a fraction of the cost of fully cloud based encryption.

“What we are doing now is encrypting the data inside an email message relayed over SMTP and stored in each customer’s site, while leaving the storage keys in the cloud,” Setzer said.

“One big advantage is that you don’t have to migrate content to look backward at encrypted email,” Roller said. “The only thing in the cloud is the keys to open the email. With the key in one place, and the data in the other, if someone gets to the data at the local site, they can’t read it. Conversely, if they get the key, they can’t do anything with it.

“Another big advantage is that it is a whole lot less expensive to communicate in an encrypted fashion this way,” Roller added. “It gets rid of the cost problem that has always been there with encryption. It will lower the partner’s cost by over 50 per cent.”