Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying the only two sure things in life are death and taxes and I would hazard a guess that if you manage corporate email you could modify this phrase slightly to read the only two sure things in life are spam and outages. Just as corporations hire armies of tax experts to help them prepare returns and armies of doctors are hired to keep us healthy, corporate email decision-makers should consider calling email experts to help them deal with email, one of the more important tools in a corporate technology arsenal.
At Interop a few weeks back I sat down with Michael Hamstra, Director of marketing for AppRiver and we got into a discussion about his company which has been providing SaaS solutions since 2002 - initially helping companies with their spam and virus protection. In 2007 the company launched a hosted Microsoft Exchange offering and now has just shy of 70,000 hosted exchange boxes, 35,000 customers and filters more than five million mailboxes.
An interesting statistic is that the company processes 5 billion messages per month meaning the average corporate email user gets 1,000 messages per month or about 33 per day. In order to keep the mailboxes junk free AppRiver updates virus and spam signatures
2-4 times continually each day.
An interesting point Hamstra mentioned is that his company offers unlimited storage for email users and can do so with relative ease because they don't need to store the spam and viruses.
Moreover he told me his business has evolved due to the increasing use of malicious senders adding infected web links in email. Subsequently the company now offers customers the ability to surf securely by reducing malware and additionally can set up different groups and policies which block certain groups from categories of websites such as sports gambling, gaming, porn, ecommerce, etc.
Moreover to make email even more useful the company has partnered with Voltage Security (news) to ensure that emails can be easily kept secure through encryption. In addition there is a partnership with Global Relay in place which helps customers handle compliance requirements for HIPAA, etc.
In short Hamstra explains that AppRiver is a hosted Exchange company which is now covering all aspects of security. This of course includes disaster recovery.
But security is only part of the story as the company has also decided to use the Akamai network - one which is designed for high-bandwidth applications such as streaming. Why? Well because in my opinion the speed of email response is becoming more and more important as a business differentiator. They use the Akamai network and packet triplication, which is a method of sending information through three diverse routes via the Internet. Whichever packet reaches the destination first wins this three-way race. Once determined, that route is chosen.
Hamstra explains this has worked well for the company as they have been profitable from their inception and add 100-150 customers per week and a 97% retention rate.
Andy why not? The intersection of spam/malware elimination and SaaS is a logical growth area. Why? To take off on another Ben Franklin statement - a spam/malware message not saved is productivity earned. In the end, its all about the Franklins you save.