Content, Content, Channel partners, MSP

AppRiver Acquires Roaring Penguin for Email Security Services

AppRiver CEO Michael Murdoch
AppRiver Co-founder Michael Murdoch
AppRiver Founder and CEO Michael Murdoch

AppRiver has acquired Roaring Penguin Software to dive deeper into email security services, and AppRiver CEO Michael Murdoch hints that additional moves are coming.

The AppRiver-Roaring Penguin deal comes roughly six months after AppRiver received private equity funding from Marlin Equity Partners. In an interview with ChannelE2E at the time, Murdoch vowed to explore a range of growth opportunities worldwide.

AppRiver supports a large base of MSPs that monetize Microsoft Office 365 and associated cloud services. Roaring Penguin should align well with that strategy, considering the email security firm has a long track record with MSPs. Among the potential deal synergies:

  • Roaring Pengiun's anti-spam techniques will integrate with AppRiver’s existing email security platform and build on the strengths of both, the companies assert.
  • Roaring Penguin’s machine-driven, statistical analysis methodology for identifying unwanted messages will make AppRiver’s proprietary MessageSniffer engine more effective, the two companies say.
  • AppRiver’s platform adds human cognition to advanced technology that will, in turn, improve the performance of Roaring Penguin’s filtering, the firms add.
  • AppRiver also gains a beachhead in Canada, from which it can expand its Office 365 business, the companies indicate.

Empowering MSPs for Cloud Services

AppRiver launched in 2002 primarily as a spam- and virus-filtering company, but the firm has since expanded to offer a suite of cybersecurity and productivity solutions including web malware protection, email encryption, secure archiving and email continuity services. That expansion has generated plenty of MSP traction. The company has surfaced on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private businesses in America for 11 consecutive years.

By contrast, Roaring Penguin Software since 2000 has focused on fighting spam at the mail server, with the company's MIMEDefang and CanIt product lines. More recently, CanIt anti-spam solutions have scaled to support customers across North America and Europe, filtering mail servers for organizations that range in size from five to 100,000+ mailboxes, Roaring Penguin indicates. The company was founded by Dianne Skoll and Bill White, though White recently retired from the company.

In a prepared statement, AppRiver's Murdoch described the Roaring Penguin deal and hinted more moves are in the pipeline:

 “This acquisition is the first of a series of initiatives aimed at establishing AppRiver as the global go-to cloud cybersecurity and productivity company for SMB customers and the channel partners who serve them. The combination with Roaring Penguin gives us the ability to establish a leading Office 365 business in Canada, and the integration of Roaring Penguin’s anti-spam technology with SecureTide allows us to further differentiate our product offering. With our enhanced SecureTide product, expanded geographic presence and new Nautical platform, we believe we are well positioned to help our partners succeed in a cloud-centric world.”

Roaring Penguin's Skoll offered his perspectives as well:

 “We did our homework before making the decision to join forces with AppRiver. The company’s reputation for incredible customer service, combined with its long track record in the security space, reassured us that our partners and clients will be well taken care of.”

AppRiver and Roaring Penguin have notified their customers about the deal, which is expected to be complete by mid-year. Officials of both companies expect no disruption of service during the ownership transition. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MSP Security Services: Demand Surges

Together, AppRiver and Roaring Penguin will also address surging MSP demand for managed security services. Most of the major MSP software providers -- particularly ConnectWise, Continuum, Datto, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP -- are pushing hard into security services either through R&D, M&A or strategic alliances. Similarly, endpoint and firewall companies like Sophos and SonicWall are opening their arms to MSPs and MSSPs.

It's a safe bet AppRiver will continue to raise its visibility in the security market, backed by private equity funding that may fuel additional M&A deals.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.