Trend Micro's Fast Track for Managed Service Providers

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2007-10-09 Email Print this article Print

Trend Micro is partnering with Ingram Micro to offer a usage-based licensing program.

What happens when a vendor and a distributor rethink software distribution? You get the Trend Micro Usage-based Licensing Program, a new method for solution providers to buy and resell security software.

Trend Micro and Ingram Micro have developed a new sales program based on a pay-as-you-go model. Simply put, solution providers can buy a block of licenses and then pay for those licenses monthly and only have to pay for the licenses that are in use.

This translates to an instant managed-services solution for solution providers to push out to their customers. Almost all Trend Micro security products are covered under the new program, and solution providers need to do little more than sign a resale agreement with Ingram Micro to get started.

The new program offers several advantages for solution providers, ranging from reduced start-up costs to recurring revenues. The idea here is for partners to sell monthly per-seat licenses into their client accounts, usually as part of a larger support solution or bundle. The program shifts security software purchases from a capital expense over to an operating expense. Customers will know exactly how much security costs them per desktop every month and can budget accordingly, while solution providers can predict how much income they will garner per month.

While per-seat, per-month billing schemes are nothing new to the channel, the usage-based licensing program does offer a unique feature: the ability to "turn on" or "turn off" licenses. Basically, solution providers inform Ingram Micro monthly as to which licenses are active, and Ingram Micro bills the solution provider accordingly.

It is then up to the solution provider to bill its customers for the software license. That allows solution providers to set their own pricing and experience margins as high as 90 percent on a recurring basis. If the end customer drops out, the solution provider simply shuts off the license through Ingram Micro. The solution provider is no longer billed for that license and security updates are turned off for the customer, rendering the product useless.

All of the software is delivered electronically, with solution providers downloading license keys and then installing the associated products and licenses at customer sites. Solution providers have the option of installing the software for their clients, letting clients self-install or a combination of both. Extra revenues can be had from the installation process if desired.

For most solution providers dipping their toes into a managed-services environment, the Trend Micro Usage-based Licensing Program offers a great way to get started. For those already offering managed services, the licensing program offers a way to bundle extra services and then bill accordingly.

The program covers more than 400 product SKUs and offers impressive flexibility. Solution providers can mix and match security products to build custom levels of protection for their customers. What's more, adding services consists of little more than downloading the associated product key and installing the additional software to their clients' systems.

Trend Micro and Ingram Micro may very well have pulled off a marketing coup with the introduction of this program. The companies have partnered to take what was once an increasingly complex system of selling software and have brought simplicity to the process while still offering a common-sense approach to billing for only what is used.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at

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