Esoft inks first Canadian distributor

Mont Tremblant, Que. – Network security developer Esoft Inc. of Broomfield, Colo., has inked its first Canadian distribution partner: Interwork Technologies, an Ottawa-based value added distributor.

Interwork specializes in security and carries anti-virus, firewall and intrusion

detection products from Symantec, Trend Micro, BorderWare, Hummingbird and Caldera. “”We bring quality players to the Canadian market,”” said Ken Lewis, territory manager, Canada for Interwork, at the CompTIA Breakaway Solution Provider conference held here.

Esoft decided not to partner with top distributors such as Ingram Micro Canada, Tech Data Canada and Synnex Canada because they believe Interwork will help them perpetuate the company’s message (simplifying Internet security), said Paul Koo, Canadian sales manager for Esoft.

Koo also said Interwork has an extensive list of contacts in the marketplace and a specific security focus. “”We could have partnered with a general distributor, but they have no idea about encryption, for example, and general distributors do not meet our needs. They need to answer VAR questions and provide consultative services not part numbers,”” Koo said. “”(Interwork) knows what to say. They are specialists, not order takers. They can do product comparisons with security for the resellers,”” he added.

Interwork employees are trained by the individual vendors to gain specific security expertise that is then passed on to the more than 2,000 security VARs that Interwork has cultivated in North America, said Andy Bennis, director of sales for Interwork.

The VAD has only 15 vendor partners under its wing, all of which play in the security market. With Esoft, Bennis said it gives Interwork an opportunity to grow even further into the small to medium business space in Canada, especially in companies with 250 employees or less. “”This area is growing quickly because they can’t afford an IT department. (With an Esoft solution) the reseller can act as the IT department,”” Bennis said.

Besides firewall/VPN hardware appliance products, Esoft also offers a variety of software products. Called SoftPaks, they include: Anti-virus, Firewall Policy Manager, Internet Server, Joydesk, Modem Communications, Sitefilter, SmartReports, Spamfilter and Webmail.

The SoftPaks are available through a subscription. “”Our approach is to minimize tasks for the IT manager and help them make quick decisions. IT is overwhelmed and they need simple tools for security,”” said Reid Hislop, director of marketing at Esoft.

IT managers have planned work and non-planned work scheduled into their day, Hislop said. If a new virus hits, for example, the IT manager can call up an anti-virus SoftPak to stop the virus from spreading.

Without SoftPaks, Hislop claims IT managers can spend a lot of time doing product research, writing up a business proposal, installing the anti-virus software and communicating with staff that was hit by the virus. “”If they need anti-virus patches, it is resident on the server and available when needed,”” Hislop said.

Esoft’s solutions are targeted at small to medium-sized enterprises typically between one office to five offices. However, Woo said that Esoft does have one enterprise of more than 100 offices.

Key vertical markets for Esoft are branch offices for school districts, insurance companies and even auto parts companies. As for margin opportunities, Esoft VARs can expect 15 to 30 per cent for those who sell at list price, depending on software and services.

Woo added that some VARs have been able to sell above the list price and are making even more margin. Also, the SoftPak subscription service revenue enables VARs to have a recurring revenue stream without devoting any resources to it.

How it works is the user selects anti-virus, for example, which they can pay for with a credit card directly to Esoft. Esoft then sends the reseller, who services the client, a cheque for the sale. Or the user can simply take the software and get charged later by the reseller. Esoft’s firewall hardware solution ranges in price from $1,000 for 10 users to about $4,500 for the Pro Product Enterprise with unlimited users. Its SoftPaks are US$125 for 10 users.

Currently Esoft has 100 VARs of which 40 are active in Canada. The company wants to expand the number of VARs they have, but only if they provide security consulting. “”We are picky about the partners we want to deal with,”” Woo said.

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