Reputation-based e-mail security vendor Abaca has claimed the SMB sector is under-served in e-mail security and has launched a channel program it hopes will help fill the gap in the market.

The vendor’s hybrid hardware and software e-mail security solution, ReceiverNet, is based around the reputation of the person receiving the e-mail, unlike rival security systems that are based around the sender of an e-mail. “We look at the receiver and build a reputation around that individual, then we calculate whether the e-mail is spam or not,” said Bill Kasje, director of business development at Abaca.  He said what makes spam for one person might not make spam for another.

 “If someone has signed up to a newsletter from Macy’s, for example, they will want that, but it may not make it through a traditional spam filter. However, for someone else, a newsletter from Macy’s might very well be spam, but we will have established, by evaluating their e-mail usage reputation, what is spam to each user.” This, he added, is where conventional content-protect e-mail security can make mistakes. He said Abaca technology also does not need to open the e-mails to check whether it is spam.

Kasje said the company offers a 99 percent spam filter accuracy guarantee, something it is extending out to partners to pass onto their customers.

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Kathy Contreras, vice president of marketing for Abaca, said every single SMB in North America has a need for e-mail security. “This creates an opportunity for our partners – the SMB market is under-served right now,” she said. According to eMarketer research, there will be 9.5 million SMBs in North America by 2010.

The vendor has a direct sales force that intends to continue to run, “although this may change in the future,” Contreras said. The direct sales team is commissioned to sell through the channel, and partners are able to register deals, through the new partner program, “which should all help to minimize any channel conflict,” she added.

The Abaca Secure Partner Network program will offer three levels of VARs: Premiere, Preferred and Select, with members of the highest Premiere tier able to receive up to 40 percent margin along with MDF dollars. All partners will receive training and a partner Web portal for information and online resources.  Contreras said she is looking to have around 40 partners signed up to the program by the end of Q2. “We don’t want to add partners if we can’t support them properly and we are looking for 100 active partners by the end of the year,” she said.