Asterisk IP PBX Completes Full Communications and Collaboration Suite from Kerio
May 16, 2011
The communications market has, for the past half-decade, gone through a product-focus metamorphosis of sorts, with an increasing number of vendors looking to capitalize on the vast SMB market – one that was largely ignored for a long time in favor of the enterprise market. In some ways, it made sense: one enterprise sale could be the equivalent of hundreds of SMB installations. The fact, though, is there are a limited number of those large enterprise customers and a seemingly endless supply of SMBs looking for similar capabilities at an affordable price point.
Several enterprise-class vendors have sought to downsize their offerings to take advantage of the SMB opportunity – some reasonably successfully, yet others with only limited success. The one challenge they all face is it’s not very easy to scale down a costly enterprise product to the point where it meets SMB needs from cost, feature, ease of use, and support perspectives. Of course, there is the hosted and managed services alternative, which has become popular, and which enterprise vendors have been able to leverage.
But, despite the benefits of hosted and cloud-based offerings, many businesses are still much more comfortable with managing their own technology, giving way to a vendor base that has focused entirely on the SMB market.
I had a chance, at Interop (News - Alert) last week, to talk to one such vendor, Kerio, headquartered in San Jose, California now, but with its roots and development team in the Czech Republic, where it was founded in 1997 on the back of a software-based firewall. That product has since morphed into Kerio Control, a full UTM solution delivered in a software-only version or as an appliance (Kerio Control Box, pictured at right), both of which provide the security tools for threat mitigation as well as QoS, user management, and more.
Since then, it has expanded its line into a four-product suite that delivers a full communications solution for SMBs, including a voice product, Kerio Operator, developed due to growing interest from its reseller base.
Kerio Operator is a SIP-based IP PBX (News - Alert) built on Asterisk, following the fundamental principles of delivering a quality communications platform that is, most importantly, easy to install and use, according to Dusan Vitek, vice president, Worldwide Marketing, at Kerio. The system is designed for auto-configuration with IP phones from Cisco and snom. Polycom (News - Alert) phones will be added to the list shortly due to market demand. Kerio Operator, too, is available as software-only or as an appliance, and includes all the common features and call control capabilities required to enrich business communications, including voicemail-to-email integration.
Add Kerio Connect – a messaging and collaboration solution accessible through standard Web browsers – and Kerio Workspace – a Web-based file sharing solution – and SMBs from 5-500 users have a full suite of communications capabilities at their disposal (the majority of its customers fall between 50-250 users).
“The Kerio portfolio is a suite of products that caters to most IT needs of small businesses,” says Vitek. “It combines phone, email, security, and collaboration in one integrated solution.”
What sets Kerio apart from most similar products – and there are many – is its multi-platform deployment alternatives, designed specifically to not limit businesses based on their choice of operating systems—or cost.
Yes, there are a plethora of options for SMBs, but for those looking for a complete communications and collaboration solution with flexible deployment options and an affordable price point – one developed with the SMB in mind – Kerio might be worth a look.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask