Armorblox takes NLU email security software to the channel

Startup Armorblox is looking to carve out a space in the email security software market with the help of channel partners.

The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., touts its platform’s use of natural language understanding (NLU) as its key differentiator among competitors. Armorblox formalized its inaugural partner program last week, overseen by senior vice president of sales and channel Brian Harmon, who joined Armorblox in March. Harmon said the platform’s NLU capabilities have sparked the interest of managed security service providers (MSSPs).

“Many of [the MSSPs] want to understand how they can support multiple customers and … manage their email security and data security as well as document management platforms,” Harmon said.

Natural language understanding in email security software

While Armorblox follows the same metadata-driven approach of its competitors, Harmon said the platform’s natural language processing and deep learning capabilities go beyond email security at the contextual level. The technology drills into communications to determine “what messages are intended for, what their content is all about — the who, what, when, where and why.”

“The NLU component is absolutely the game-changing technology we are bringing to the market. That is the core of what we do,” he said.

One way Armorblox detects threats is by building profiles of employees’ writing styles. If the platform sees a suspicious aberration in how an employee typically composes emails, Armorblox can trigger an alert. The alerts can be configured to go to security operations centers or users for verification. The platform can also quarantine messages for further examination, Harmon said.

In addition to email, Armorblox has created integrations with Slack, Office 365 and other messaging platforms, as well as document management systems. “We are taking a look at other messaging and human-to-human communication … as a threat vector for attackers to go after,” he said.

Commitment to channel sales

In addition to MSSPs, the Armorblox partner program targets value-added resellers and distributors. The program features two tiers, Preferred and Premier, and provides partners with support, training and preferred pricing.

Although Armorblox has a direct sales force, Harmon said he and his reps have been firmly committed to the channel model from the start. “We will never compete with a partner and take a deal direct,” he said, adding that Armorblox will reward partners who register the most opportunities.

The company is currently working with about 12 partners in the U.S. “On the [partner] recruitment side, I am not looking to create a huge … ecosystem. I want very specific targeted partners in each region that are specialists in their area [and] are bringing innovation into their market,” he said.

Harmon said Armorblox will expand its partnering efforts outside the U.S. on an opportunistic basis.

“As we expand and grow … I will expand the program to match that,” he said.


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