Enterprising virus protection

Enterprising virus protection

ARN: Who is Sybari?

JB: Sybari is a groupware antivirus organisation formed in 1995. The company was originally based on selling a Lotus Notes antivirus security solution. From there, it has expanded its Antigen product out into Microsoft Exchange as well. The company is based in the US and also has operations in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The regional HQ is in Singapore and this year an office was opened in Sydney.

How does the Sybari solution differentiate itself from others on the market?

JB: Most antivirus solutions vendors tend to have a heritage and primary focus around the workstation rather than the server. Recent research shows that as much as 95 per cent of all viruses that get into the enterprise environment are a result of the Internet or email. The unique technology with Sybari Antigen is that we don't actually use our own scan engine. We are what you could call an antivirus facilitator organisation. We use multiple virus scan engines to detect and disinfect viruses before they get into an enterprise environment. Our value proposition is that we focus only on the groupware environment. Enterprises really need antivirus protection out there in front of the physical environment to make sure that no viruses ever get into the environment at all.

How is the product marketed and sold around the world and what is the plan for Australia?

JB: The products are sold in America under a direct-selling model but in Europe, where we established two years ago, they went for a channel model and that is what we are doing in Asia-Pacific. We want to become 100 per cent channel focused in Australia. We recognise that a suitably motivated channel will give us extra feet on the ground as well as an ability to leverage their databases and salespeople. When you are only a small team like we are, you need those feet on the ground to champion your product.

Which customers are you targeting?

JB: The type of customers we sell to are generally 25 users and upwards. We're aiming for large-scale Exchange and Notes deployments with 1000-plus seats.

What sort of resellers are you targeting?

JB: The potential partners for Sybari are people that are already doing Exchange and Notes deployments to which Antigen could be an add-on. There are a number of types of operations that we are interested in selling through but they are mainly the bigger enterprise-style resellers that are really focusing on licensing and have the relationships with the institutions. We are also looking for organisations with a key focus around Web security and Internet security. ASPs and ISPs can potentially partner to set up systems to protect all their users.

What is the general state of the enterprise antivirus market at the moment?

JB: Viruses are becoming far more sophisticated and penetration is far greater than it ever used to be. Enterprise, government and educational institutions - and even smaller environments - are now looking for a different approach to traditional desktop solutions. The new generation of viruses such as Melissa, I Love You and Nimda are causing distress at the moment and that is where a groupware-style antivirus solution serves the environment best. Mainstream media coverage has definitely helped raise awareness of the need for regular attention to antivirus issues. Downtime within any enterprise is now seen as a major concern. Even though the market is very tough for IT at the moment, enterprises still have a budget for storage and security. The market is ripe for the security message at the moment. With every virus that gets out, there is more and more awareness.

How is Antigen priced and what sort of margins are on offer for resellers?

JB: If you compare our prices to Trend Micro or licensed volume of McAfee, CA or Norton you will find that the Sybari solution is surprisingly competitive. The margins are generous for the channel as well. We are going to have a tiered program with elite, premier and associate levels and the margins will vary and could reach up to 35 points, which is very healthy on this style of technology. Initially, all partners will be on the same level until we see what sort of commitments are coming back to Sybari from partners.

What sort of skills are required to sell Antigen?

JB: We want our channel partners to be trained up and that is something that we will be doing for them. The product is pretty easy and if you can download the 30-day full working copy evaluation off the Web site and install it then you are skilled up.

What sort of support is on offer for Australian channel partners?

JB: At the moment the Australian office is purely a sales and marketing resource. Potentially we will have a good technical support team here but our support for the region is based in Singapore. There is significant Web-based support and because we have support centres in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, we have them running on three different time zones that carry 24x7 support.

Photograph: John Biviano

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