CompTIA ImageAt the last CompTia EMEA Conference (November 2014), our Director Mark Charleton, was interviewed by Richard Tubb for his podcast: The 3 Best MSP tools from the 2014 CompTIA EMEA Conference.

It was a great opportunity for Mark to talk about AppRiver, the web and email security vendor, Office 365 and the benefits for MSPs to work with Blue Solutions. You can listen to Richard Tubb and Mark Charleton at CompTia

For anyone who wants to read a transcript of the podcast, it is also available at Richard Tubb's website.

Visit our website or contact our product specialists on 0118 9898 222 and find out about AppRiver solutions.


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Article by Troy Gill, AppRiver

Over the past several days we have been seeing several malicious email campaigns posing as legitimate communication from Amazon. The first campaign is posing as messages from the with the subject line reading: Your Amazon Order Has Dispatched (#3digits-7digits-7digits). These messages purport to be order shipment notifications. These messages began hitting the AppRiver filters on 31/10/14 and have been coming in consistently ever since. So far we have quarantined just over 600,000 of these messages.

Each message contains a Word document (MD5: a75e196e6c0cabc145f4cdc3177e66ec) that contains a malicious macro. In most instances users should at a slightly lower risk with this infection vector, since macros are not enabled by default in more recent versions of Word.  The macro (if allowed to execute)leads to the install of a Trojan dropper. The malware currently creates a process named SUVCKSGZTGK.exe on the victims machine. Eventually this leads to the install of key-logging malware designed to harvest banking login credentials, email credentials and social media credentials. As we commonly see with this these types of campaigns, the payload can be changed out by the malware distributors so this dropper could pull down some other form of malware in the future.

Here is a look at the message:

Malicious Amazon message1


In a separate email blast, another group is distributing malicious emails posing as Amazon order confirmation emails. These emails are coming is at a slightly slower clip than the former campaign mentioned but we have quarantined nearly 160,000 of these message over the past few days. They appear from with the subject reading: Your order on

These email have a bit more of a legitimate look as they utilize actual graphics taken from Amazon. Instead of a malicious attachment, these messages utilize links to compromised wordpress sites. Clicking these links will launchthe download of a .scr file  named: invoice1104.pdf[dot]scr. Which should be a huge red flag to most users as the .scr file extension is used almost exclusively for malware infection these days. The .scr file(MD5: 09cb12d7cd0228360cd097baeaaa6552) is in fact a Trojan dropper that will lead to the install of more malware once it has infected the host. Once again, from here, the sky is the limit for the malware distributors since they can now download and install remote files of their choosing.

Here is a look at the message and prompt :

Malicious Amazon message2


Malicious Amazon3





This is a very popular time of the year for these types of scams with so many people in shopping mode in preparation for the holidays. With many people expecting purchase confirmations and shipping confirmations with much more frequency, it increases the likelihood that people will far for this scam.

Be extra cautious this holiday shopping season and if you are suspicious of unauthorized activity on your Amazon account, never follow any links in an email, go directly to the website and check your account from there.


Malicious Web content can expose your company to higher costs, lower productivity and legal issues. AppRiver's SecureSurf can protect your network from Web-based malware and viruses, and shield your employees from offensive content. SecureSurf requires no onsite hardware or software and it won’t require constant attention from your IT staff .

This graphic is a quick snapshot of the top 10 categories blocked by SecureSurf. It highlights how this solution works everyday to help business owners keep their company safe from web-based viruses and protect employees from undesirable websites.

Take a look and see how AppRiver will protect your network.

Want to know more about AppRiver's email and web security procucts? Contact our Product Specialist Nicola Boswell for more information.



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We’re going to be at CompTIA on 5th and 6th November at Stand 34, meeting with our new and prospective Resellers and it would be a good opportunity to meet you too.

Why visit the Blue Solutions stand?  Our team will be available to answer any questions to help you build your business; from how to shorten your I.T. to-do lists, protect networks from malware, keep emails spam-free and restore data with disaster recovery solutions. These are all questions we can help with.

Tweet a picture with Blue Solutions and AppRiver

During the two day event, we’ll be joining AppRiver, the email messaging and web security solutions provider, to give you a chance to win a prize.

For your chance to win, visit either the AppRiver or Blue Solution’s stands and Tweet a picture of one of the stands.  To give you a chance to win, we’ve written these Tweets to go with your pictures:

You can register for the event here  and we look forward to seeing you at our stand and entering your Tweets into our prize draw.



Channel partners building business around cloud-based productivity suite; Trial conversion, seat count and revenue growth see triple-digit increase

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AppRiver’s popular Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite is helping channel partners capture top-line revenue, expand their service offerings and grow their cloud businesses. Since the company introduced two-tier pricing last year, it has seen a 240 percent increase in the total number of AppRiver partners engaged to sell Office 365. Revenue growth and total number of Office 365 seats sold also grew by 330 percent.

The company has a close, long-standing relationship with Microsoft and is currently one of only a handful of Office 365 syndicated hosting partners in the world. That partnership grants immediate access to expertise, support and insight into the Microsoft product roadmap, which adds significant value to AppRiver’s own partner community.

“There is a real financial incentive for partners to include Office 365 in their product portfolio because demand is on the rise,” said Scott Paul, senior director of sales, AppRiver. “More and more businesses understand that they can move to the cloud and increase productivity for less cost, without having to give up familiar Microsoft applications.”

All Mountain Technologies (AMT) recently signed on to resell AppRiver’s Office 365 to help maximize their customers’ technology investments.

“About half of the time, customers come to AMT wanting to learn more about Office 365 and the ways it can increase business productivity and enhance bottom line,” explains Jonathan Zapp, director of sales and marketing at All Mountain Technologies. “The rest of the time, we recommend Office 365 to clients who use outdated services or hardware that’s reaching end of life.”

There are several reasons why Office 365 from AppRiver is unique:

  • True On-Demand, Pay-As-You-Go Service: Office 365 from AppRiver allows partners to own the billing process, generate additional revenue and sell/service customers in a way that makes sense for their business. The company does not require minimum packaging spends or annual commitments, thereby allowing partners to mix and match services for specific users (and adjust customer consumption or user count) without fear of penalty.
  • Maintain Renewal Margin: With AppRiver, the margins are preserved even after renewal and throughout the life of the customer relationship.
  • Account Maintenance: Partners can manage all Office 365 services from a single console to add users, manage groups and send maintenance reminders and notices. AppRiver will maintain the Microsoft Partner of Record status and will not interfere or break the record without first receiving partner consent.
  • Partner Certification: Partners can learn the ropes at AppRiver University and earn certifications in both the sale and support of Office 365 once they have demonstrated mastery of required skill sets.
  • Phenomenal Care™: High-touch customer support is available from trained employees24 hours a day, every day.

The AppRiver Phenomenal Care model has become a hallmark of the company’s success, and includes expert migration assistance to anyone who needs it. That’s important because migrations can be difficult, slow and problematic. And migrating to a new cloud email service only compounds the difficulty. Perhaps that is why Gartner recently found that organizations will likely need vendor-supplied support to resolve migration issues.

“It was difficult, and often time consuming, to work with Microsoft Support,” said Zapp. “AMT takes pride in our Always-On™ Managed Services and so it was a no-brainer to choose AppRiver for its consistently great 24/7 support. We operate in a close-knit community where word of mouth and reputation go a long way. AppRiver’s swift conflict-resolution time has actually helped to increase our bottom line because customers trust that they can leave their IT worries with us and we will work through any technical issue before it impacts business operation.”

To date, AppRiver has successfully resolved 100 percent of the customer-facing support interactions for Office 365.

To learn more about AppRiver’s Office 365 or how to become a partner, please contact our Product Specialist Nicola Boswell on 0118 9898 219.

AppRiver logo largerversionArticle contributed by Jim Tyer - EMEA channel director at AppRiver

Cloud has seen the traditional sales model implode. But that doesn’t mean it’s game over – just time to learn new rules...

The way we consume technology has changed so the way we sell technology needs to change too.

Customers want innovative ways to use technology and revolutionise their businesses - to respond to demands from employees sporting the latest laptop, tablet or smartphone; allowing safe connection to the corporate network; while facilitating collaboration between colleagues, third parties and clients.

Thankfully, cloud technology can rise to these challenges. The problem isn’t what cloud can or can’t do, but the impact it has on traditional business models.

How can you stay relevant in a world where customers have easy access to cloud-based solutions ? You need to make yourself invaluable. The key element to staying relevant is ‘value added’ – ultimately your biggest USP, guaranteeing new business and establishing recurrent revenue streams:

Trusted Advisor - hard to earn yet easy to erode

Building trust is simple, yet far too many get this wrong – not just resellers but vendors too!

If a customer calls, call them back. If you offer support via email, have a real person write back confirming receipt of the enquiry and how it will be handled. Similarly, if you say you’re going to do something then do it - or let the customer know you’re trying to.

In tandem, if a customer seeks advice give it freely and without motive, even if it means dissuading them from spending money. You’ll find they’re far more likely to believe, and trust, you next time when they need to invest.

Similarly, don’t cut corners to keep costs down, or worse try to conceal the full expense. No-one likes unpleasant surprises. You might lose a sale initially but, guaranteed, the customer will appreciate your honesty.

Don’t take it personally if a customer buys one product from you, but adds it to something from somewhere else – for example, let’s say a customer wants to use you for spam filtering but decides to go with another web filtering vendor. Though it might hurt financially in the short term, the relationship is what’s important here. Where you make the difference, and win loyalty, is by managing the complete package.

Partners who take this role seriously and are willing to be honest with customers (even if it means a short term loss to build long term trust) will retain a stronger, happier customer base and stay viable for years to come.

Backoffice support – go over and above

This is an area where the ‘organised’ reseller can make a real difference for many organisations – particularly smaller businesses where IT isn’t a specific job function. Subscriptions and licence renewals are easy for a busy manager to overlook, so providing this as a service not only adds value to your offering, but also ensures you guarantee this key revenue stream.

This doesn’t just have to be for the products you’ve sold, and you may not be financially rewarded. Take website domain renewals – even Disney has problems tracking its renewals, almost losing its ‘Club Penguin’ sites in 2011, oops!

Migrations – hand holding as standard

Having made the sale, far too many resellers walk away and leave the customer and vendor to implement the change unaided. This can lead to frustration and even reputational damage – for all involved. Your role is to work seamlessly with vendors so your customer experiences a painless transition.

Supply vendor(s) with an in-depth plan of any existing infrastructure to incorporate into the new design. Identify incompatibilities before implementation so they’re resolved before becoming problematic.

Support your customer by devising a detailed migration plan – including key targets. Use previous intelligence of similar installations to offer advice and support your customer will need, or overlook, to make the move. Share additional literature in good time that other customers found useful.

Supportsomewhere in the world its normal business hours

In an age where business never sleeps – neither can your customer service. Resellers of the future will invest in excellent 24/7 assistance, or partner providers where top-notch technical support is a way of life. Skimp on this and it could greatly damage your reputation, limit renewal rates and ultimately infringe on customer retention.

Training – education is king

It’s a lucrative revenue stream, yet few resellers offer training. Consider investing in your own training department, offering courses to customers teaching them how-to manage the solutions they’ve got, demonstrating how to get the best out of the investment. Who knows, you may even find there’s an opportunity to upsell a complimentary product from your portfolio that makes another product function, or integrate better.

Of course, if you don’t already offer this service it’s not something that can be introduced overnight so for now consider bundling vendor supplied training into the equation.

Adapt or die trying

As resellers, you’re no longer selling boxes and cables – you’re translating the ideals of your customers into reality. Or at least you should be. The reseller of the future will happily rise to the challenge set by customers, anticipating their needs before even they do.



AppRiver logo largerversionIn case you missed our latest news, AppRiver, a leading provider of email messaging and Websecurity solutions, confirmed we are its first UK distributor. We're going to add all AppRiver’s products to our portfolio – including Office365 Plus and Secure Hosted Exchange, all with the additional flexibility afforded from monthly billing - a deviation to yearly contracts imposed by many other vendors. The partnership is already yielding results with two of our customers currently trialling Office365 Plus.

Our Director and co-founder Mark Charleton  commented:

“We’re extremely excited by the opportunities this partnership opens up to us, not least a customer waiting to trial one of AppRiver’s services before the ink was even dry on our agreement. With almost 20 years’ experience and seeing a lot of change in a competitive industry, we recognise the value of supporting MSPs and resellers in creating and building profitable I.T. businesses.

Our transition from box shifters to a value add distributor means we focus on working with vendors who are committed to the channel and delivering viable solutions to SMBs. AppRiver is the perfect fit for us and its products will be a key addition to our portfolio, where we’re seeing demand, particularly for email security, encryption and hosted exchange. Add to that the flexibility of offering monthly commitments instead of annual contracts, combined with its ‘phenomenal care’ package, and we’ve two great differentiators that we know will be a winning combination.”

AppRiver offers its partners a management console, designed with the two tiers needed – a portal where Blue Solutions can log in and create its partners, and then a separate portal where resellers log in and create end users. Both can be branded accordingly.

Other AppRiver Partner benefits include:

  • Recurring revenue in the rapidly growing market for email hosting and security solutions.
  • No set-up fees, up-front investments, certifications or minimum revenue requirements.
  • Affordable per-user, pay-as-you-go services that give greater flexibility and more control without hidden charges under the surface.
  • AppRiver’s Phenomenal Care™, 24/7 support to help customers navigate smoothly through any issues that arise.
  • Access to AppRiver University – its ongoing training and professional development program, offering regular webinars to keep partners up to date on the latest services release and upgrades.

We'll be bringing you more updates on the AppRiver, Office 365 and Hosted Exchange product suites. Our product specialists are available on 0118 9898 222 to help with any questions.