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The name Symantec has been synonymous with the word "security" for some time now. Competitor Trend Micro hopes to change that word association, thanks to Symantec’s channel program changes! Of course, Symantec has always been a target in Trend Micro’s sights, with the company patiently waiting in the shadows to grab market share from giant Symantec. Now, with opportunity knocking on the door, Trend Micro is ready to take some channel partners and market share—with a comprehensive lineup of security products and services—all via the channel.

Trend Micro is hoping to become a sweetheart of the channel by highlighting the fact that the company keeps its partners fully engaged with the customer. In other words, all renewals, upgrades and other profit-generating elements are sold via the channel. At no point does the company forcibly exclude a partner from additional revenue generated by renewals and upgrades.

That turns out to be a very good thing, especially when one considers that Trend Micro offers both traditional security products and now, managed security services via distributors. The company announced Version 5 of its Worry-Free product line in June for the small business market. Worry-Free Security Solutions target businesses that are looking to leverage automated security solutions without investing in additional hardware or support. The primary product under the Worry-Free umbrella is Business Security 5.0 Advanced, a product that offers protection for Microsoft Small Business Servers (SBSs), Exchange Servers and all client PCs and notebooks associated with the small business environment.

Key features of Trend Micro’s Business Security 5.0 Advanced product include:

  • Web Threat Protection: prevents exposure without relying on matching a pattern file for each threat.
  • Worry-Free Location Awareness: automatically changes security settings on laptops to set protection for employees as they move inside or outside the office.
  • Application Behavior Monitoring: monitors application activities and prevents unauthorized, harmful changes.
  • Multilayer Spam Blocking: stops spam before it reaches the exchange server by checking IP addresses against Trend Micro’s constantly updated database of known spam sources. Anti-spam defense on Microsoft Exchange Server restores network resources to process business e-mail, not spam.
  • InterScan Messaging Hosted Security: A managed service that examines all e-mail for malware, spam and other problems.
  • Instant Message Filtering: Blocks inappropriate IM content.
  • Online Transaction Protection: Ensures that online transactions are legitimate and protects users from inadvertently releasing information that can be used for identity theft or fraud.
  • Traditional Threats: Detects and removes spyware, viruses, rootkits, bots and other malware.
  • Wireless Protection: Enforces appropriate encryption settings for Wi-Fi users.

The product is sold based upon licensed user count, with a five-user solution (which includes two years of maintenance) listing for $396.95, all the way up to a 250-user license solution selling for $18,982.50. Purchasers can choose to save a few bucks by initially opting only for a single year of maintenance.

Solution providers will find the installation of the product straightforward and hardware requirements in line with most small business security solutions. Trend Micro uses a hybrid approach for Worry-Free Business Security 5.0, in that the product combines a local installation with cloud-based services. That means, for full protection, a small business has to have a persistent connection to the Internet, which is not that big of a deal, because most of the threats that the product protects against are delivered via the Internet.

Installers have multiple choices on how to install the security server portion of the product. The security server can be installed on an existing system running Windows (2000, XP, Vista) or on a Windows Server (2000, 2003, SBS, 2008). The Web console of the program does require IIS (Internet Information Services) or Apache to be installed and Internet Explorer 6.0 to be used as the browser. Installers will also have to set up a Messaging Security Agent, which will reside on the company’s mail server. The product also incorporates a client agent, which is installed on each client PC. A single agent handles all of the security requests, helping to keep overhead to a minimum.

For the cloud portion of the product (InterScan), access to the hosted account must be granted and administrators will have to make changes to their e-mail hosting settings, allowing e-mail to be routed through Trend Micro’s InterScan servers.

The combination of hosted services with local software proves to be a good compromise when it comes to overall system performance. All e-mail is validated before arriving on the local e-mail server, which means spam and viruses are never transmitted to the mail server to begin with. That reduces the load on the mail server and results in improved performance. The locally installed applications introduce very little overhead, yet offer an umbrella of protection.

The real value of the product comes from the little extras that Trend Micro includes, such as Wi-Fi protection and IM protection. Most products on the market ignore the threats that can come via those two elements. That shows Trend Micro is thinking about the complete picture when it comes to small business security.