Internet security service provider MailGuard has opened a Sydney office and plans to boost its channel from 60 to 80 or more resellers.
Andrew Johnson, marketing director at Melbourne-based MailGuard, said the company had found it needed more feet on the ground in places such as Sydney to help it compete against main rivals such as Clearswift and MessageLabs.
"In particular, we are targeting growth in NSW. About 35 of our partners are in Melbourne and in NSW we have only about 10, but we have seen significant growth in the market out of NSW," he said.
Johnson said Sydney businesspeople seemed to really prefer to have service provider staff on hand locally. MailGuard had tried to serve Sydney with approximately monthly flights to the city but found that momentum gained from those meetings was easily lost.
"We've found, for the channel to work, we really need feet on the ground in Sydney. Surprisingly, we haven't found that so much in places like Brisbane, or even NZ," he said.
MailGuard's main focus was the SMB market, particularly businesses with up to 300 seats, although it did also have customers with up to 1600 seats. Its anti-spam, anti-virus and content filtering product was also provided as a service, Johnson said.
"Our clients usually have one or two, maybe three, IT people trying to manage everything for maybe a couple of hundred seats. Our aim is to solve their problem without adding to their workload," he said.
For one to 20 seat firms, MailGuard preferred to work with small integrators. In the 20 to 30 seat category, the vendor sought channel partners who went out and talked to clients, he said.
Three-year-old MailGuard -- a seven-person company -- does have a direct sales force, but only to assist its channel seal deals. The company also liked to sit down individually with its partners to work out how it could best help each reseller, he said.
MailGuard had been growing 100 percent a year, both in terms of revenue and client base. The vendor was worth about $1.3 million in revenue and had about 680 clients, Johnson said.
"We'd like to have 1000 business clients by the end of the year," he said.
Johnson said many SMBs ended up with consumer-focused anti-spam and content filtering products that blocked all the wrong messages or with corporate-focused anti-spam or content-filtering products that had too much functionality and a high price tag.
"Some are very corporate, so they do really pretty graphs you can give to the board," he said.
He said that MailGuard was more flexible than offerings from many rivals. Also, about 85 percent of the features MailGuard included were based on feedback from customers, Johnson said.
The Melbourne company had also offered a service since January, called SafeGuard, that gave customers a DVD backup of all their messages once a month.
"If we provide it to the client, we're doing it as a third-party in a write-once medium that can't be tampered with, so from a legislative [standpoint], it's perfect," Johnson said.
MailGuard was also coming out with a new product for allowed users to control web browsing, gather statistics on web browsing and bar certain web-based content in August, Johnson said.