Trend Micro boosts enterprise offerings

Trend Micro Inc. unveiled a range of new services and product updates Monday that it hopes will increase the company's appeal to enterprises burdened with the administrative task of preventing and cleaning up after virus outbreaks.

Trend is expanding its Enterprise Protection Strategy (EPS), a combination of products, services and centralized management tools that is designed to help IT managers thwart attacks from computer viruses and worms.

The company unveiled EPS in May. Customers can sign up for one of a range of support plans, depending on the size and security needs of their organization.

As part of the expansion, the EPS Outbreak Prevention Services were broadened to encompass file, Web and messaging servers running on the Solaris, Linux, and Windows platforms as well as users connected via broadband connections from remote offices.

Previously, the Outbreak Prevention Services program worked only for messaging servers on the Windows platform, according to Trend Micro.

The Outbreak Prevention Services distribute information on developing virus outbreaks to Trend Micro customers prior to the release of a virus pattern file. That information can be used to modify network configurations and prevent or lessen infection.

In addition to strengthening its prevention services, Trend announced that it is beefing up its Damage Cleanup Services, which help companies clean up after a virus outbreak.

EPS customers will now receive attack-specific cleanup templates through the Damage Cleanup Server, which interacts with and repairs infected machines. The templates guide customers in removing the remnants of attacks including Trojan-horse programs, registry entries and hidden user accounts that could be used to launch a new attack after the initial attack is thwarted and the damaged systems repaired.

The damage cleanup templates will also work with Trend's existing OfficeScan and ServerProtect products, according to Trend Micro.

Both the Outbreak Prevention Services and Damage Cleanup Services will be sold to customers as annual per-seat subscriptions that will cost between US$1 and US$6, depending upon the number of seats sold, according to Steve Quane, product group manager at Trend Micro's Enterprise Services and Infrastructure group.

In selling its expanded EPS program, Trend Micro must be careful that it doesn't end up disparaging its antivirus protection abilities while it is promoting its damage cleanup technology, however, according to an analyst.

"Anybody in the antiviral industry must walk a balance in saying 'We can not only protect you from viruses, but help you clean up once we fail to protect you,'" said John Pescatore, vice president and research director for Internet security at Gartner Inc.

Given that some viruses are bound to sneak onto even well protected networks, however, Trend will find customers if it can prove that the impact of such outbreaks is mitigated by EPS, according to Pescatore.

"About the only effective metric an enterprise needs to look at if they want to know if their security is getting better or worse is how many computers are involved with each infection. That number should be going down," Pescatore said.

The changes to EPS are part of a move by Trend Micro to broaden its offerings at the enterprise level without diluting its strength as a provider of antivirus and security features.

Unlike chief competitors Network Associates Inc. and Symantec Corp., Trend Micro is content to stick to its core competency in antivirus and threat management, leaving it to the company's partners such as Nokia Corp., Blue Coat Systems Inc., and smaller integrators to deliver the hardware infrastructure or professional services, according to Quane.

That focus may keep Trend from falling into the same trap as its competitors, according to Gartner's Pescatore.

"Network Associates tried to expand beyond antivirus and failed miserably. Symantec bought Axent (Technologies Inc.) to get into the enterprise space and move beyond antivirus and you haven't seen much happen with that. Being good at selling consumer antivirus and desktop antivirus and also meeting server and gateway needs is hard to do," Pescatore said.

Other security companies that have similarly chosen to focus on a core area have also fared well, according to Pescatore.

"Trend (Micro), Check Point (Software Technologies Ltd.), and ISS (Internet Security Systems Inc.) are all focused on one part of the market and are all doing really well," Pescatore said.

While it appeals to Trend Micro's existing customer base, however, Pescatore doubted that the expanded EPS program will net Trend Micro many new accounts.

"There's definitely an acceptance in the enterprise of multiple antivirus vendors, for example on the desktop and for e-mail servers. But I don't think that adding a third party just to do cleanup will click. This is primarily just an effort to increase the revenue per customer," Pescatore said.

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