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Japanese Internet hosting company Ride has completed implementation of New Zealand's SMX email security solution, provisioning 40,000 new users at 7,000 companies around Japan.

SMX CEO and Co-founder Jesse Ball says the sale is the largest for SMX to date in Japan and signals the beginning of a significant change in the attitude of Japanese businesses to cloud services following major data losses suffered during last year's earthquake and tsunami.

"This sale is highly strategic for SMX in the Japanese market. It is a lighthouse sale for us because it demonstrates how quickly and easily a large number of customers and users can be provisioned, at a cost and at a level of email filtering accuracy that can't be matched by traditional email filtering solutions," Ball says.

"Ride is a subsidiary of Radix, which is one of the largest office equipment suppliers to small- to medium-sized businesses around Japan. Radix has around 150,000 customers and we anticipate a high number of existing and future Radix customers will also become SMX customers over time.

"The implementation went very smoothly. Ride staff worked with our Japanese hosting partner KVH to switch the 40,000 users to SMX from a Brightmail appliance solution operated internally by Ride. All parties are delighted with the results," Ball says.

Ride CEO Hiroya Nakano says moving to the cloud with SMX had immediate advantages for Ride and its customers. It also provided Ride with a platform for offering other cloud services and applications to customers.

"Moving from our in-house anti-spam and anti-virus appliance solution to SMX Cloud has saved us internal infrastructure costs and is a reliable way of giving our customers clean email with no spam or viruses. It is very fast to change customers over to the SMX service," Nakano says. "We are now looking ahead at using SMX to resell other services and applications using the SMX Cloud platform."

SMX Japan Country Manager James Porteous says the cloud market in Japan is heating up. Many large Japanese corporations are aggressively pursuing cloud solutions — with cloud email filtering being a logical entry point.

He says traditionally Japanese companies have considered in-house infrastructure to be a safer than infrastructure and infrastructure services residing in the cloud. However last year's earthquake and tsunami have altered this mindset dramatically.

"The tsunami swept away petabytes of information kept in-house, while not a single data centre went offline," Porteous says. "Japanese companies are now releasing budget to expedite cloud options — particularly email filtering to replace dedicated in-house appliances.

"We are currently in talks with Japan's top five manufacturing companies and top three trading houses. We are also making presentations to a number of IT companies dominant in the Japanese market.

"The really exciting development is that Japanese companies, like Ride, are very quick to appreciate that SMX Cloud is not just about email filtering. It provides a secure multi-tenant, multi-level platform on which they can serve and resell an infinite number of other applications and products — from backup and mail archiving, to serving accounting and marketing applications — and so much more. The ‘Cloud in a Box' concept is being immediately grasped and understood," Porteous says.

In any market — but particularly in Japan — landing that first large customer is critical, Jesse Ball says, and local partnerships are instrumental to sealing the deal.

"In Japan, local support is absolutely the key to our success. Our close relationship with KVH, our presence directly on the ground in Tokyo, speaking fluent Japanese — these are all critical elements. Another huge advantage is that SMX is designed to support a reseller model, and this ability to smoothly integrate with Japanese reseller channels is absolutely required," he says.

"Ride provides a compelling demonstration that SMX works well in the Japanese business environment."

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