IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Zix Introduces Integrated Cloud Productivity, Security, and Compliance Platform

Called Secure Cloud, the new offering adds products from Zix’s email security and archiving portfolio to a previously introduced Microsoft 365 ordering and billing platform from AppRiver, the cloud distributor Zix acquired last year. By Rich Freeman

Zix has introduced a new platform designed to help MSPs deliver “secure modern workplace” solutions featuring integrated cloud productivity, security, and compliance applications.

Named Secure Cloud and available immediately, the solution integrates products from Zix’s security and archiving portfolio with a previously introduced Microsoft 365 ordering and billing platform from AppRiver, the cloud distributor Zix acquired for $275 million early last year.

The system comes in response to feedback from AppRiver partners looking to wring more profit from Microsoft 365 deals by attaching complementary data protection and retention products to them, according to Dave Wagner, Zix’s president and CEO.

“They said, ‘we love this experience with AppRiver, but we’d like the opportunity to sell more IP,’” he notes.

Included in Secure Cloud, which cost Zix some $20 million to build, are an underlying set of tools and services called the Zix Secure Platform and an integrated family of security, compliance, and productivity solutions called the Zix Secure Suite. The security portion of the suite augments AppRiver’s existing advanced threat protection services with features like email encryption, time-of-click URL checking designed to protect users from potentially dangerous websites, and attachment sandboxing, as well as the ability to cleanse mailboxes of malicious emails that made it past those defenses earlier.

There’s also an enhanced implementation of AppRiver’s multifactor authentication service and tighter integration with Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory. The platform is modular too, according to Wagner, so users can customize which technologies they roll out to individual customers and users.

“It’s complete mix and match,” he says.

The new platform replaces the AppRiver platform’s interface with an all-new, mobile-friendly UI that first appeared back in February. That feature, too, came in response to partner requests, according to Wagner.

“They really wanted the user interface to get modernized and refreshed and be available on any device,” he says. 

White-label, self-serve provisioning functionality lets partners automate Secure Cloud rollouts, Wagner adds. “It provides a custom-branded portal out of the box with very rapid, hands-off implementation, so that our customers can create a lot more value for their end customers with less work.”

The entire package draws on artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, Zix says, and is backed by a team of flesh-and-blood threat analysts and compliance experts. Channel pros who need it can draw on outsourced help desk assistance as well.

“Most our partners want to do their own support, but we have some small partners who we’re able to help with weekend and nights service,” Wagner says.

Secure Cloud integrates with the ConnectWise Manage PSA solution currently, and will support Datto’s Autotask PSA as well beginning in June.

Pricing for the solution is built around a tiered discount structure that rewards partners for higher sales volumes. According to Wagner, however, even the least generous of those rate levels pays far better margins than selling Microsoft 365 alone.

“Delivering a commoditized Microsoft solution is not nearly as appealing to most of our partners as delivering a secure modern workplace with differentiated capabilities on the security and compliance side, which make the end customer safer, more secure, and differentiate our partners and ultimately drive them more profitability,” he says.

The launch of Secure Cloud marks a significant milestone in the realization of Zix’s strategic vision for AppRiver, in which the distributor serves as a vehicle for fusing email security and advanced threat protection with Microsoft 365, and then sell the resulting solution through AppRiver’s network of MSP partners.

“It’s really been transformational for the company,” says Wagner of the AppRiver acquisition.

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