Trend Micro made a major move on Tuesday to make its products and licensing more compatible with cloud computing, one of the major hot buttons in the world of security today.
Officially, Trend Micro unveiled upgrades to the Trend Micro Complete User Protection solution that offers “mix-and-match” support for cloud, hybrid and on-premise deployments, and a simplified licensing plan designed to make it easier for partners to better protect their customers. The new, simplified licensing plan covers not only on-premise capabilities, but software-as-a-service (SaaS) functionality as well.
“We spent some time with the channel trying to better understand what they were up against trying to sell Trend Micro, Symantec and McAfee, and specifically went after some of their pain points,” said Eric Skinner, vice president of solutions marketing at Trend Micro. In an interview with Channel Partners, he explained why this week’s announcements are some of the most important that the company will make this year.
Customers, he said, are dealing with a much different environment today. Instead of a limited set of applications and activities, IT managers now find themselves trying to secure their enterprises at a time when users are leveraging more applications, devices, operating systems, places to store things, ways to connect to the Internet and third-party services. Amid all this, customers are shifting gradually to the cloud while leveraging their legacy on-premise systems and applications.
“Historically, when a user would try to connect to any kind of corporate data, they would connect through a Web gateway in the building. Now they are connecting to various cloud applications directly. As a result, their IT security teams have no visibility to what they are doing or way to protect them against threats as effectively as when everyone is in the building,” said Skinner. This alone creates major headaches for security professionals. But when you add to it the fact that threats are becoming more sophisticated, you have a much different world than a mere few years ago, he added.
From a channel perspective, Skinner believes the new announcements will give Trend Micro greater differentiation in the market. Previously, partners selling solutions from Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro asked customers to familiarize themselves with complex and often incomprehensible product comparisons. In return, customers asked partners to create custom quotes with specific features and discounts. This made for longer-than-necessary sales cycles, Skinner believes.
After surveying partners as to what motivated them to recommend one vendor over another, Trend Micro discovered that ease of selling was one of their top requests. Based on the changing landscape and its partner survey, the company decided to offer more flexible licensing and develop smarter protection.
How smart? The new solutions help partners block specific applications for their customers. They also add better protection in Web browsers, which can identify rogue sites before other services do. Finally, the new solutions extend Trend Micro’s Web gateway to the cloud, enabling users to securely connect to whichever services they wish without first having to connect a virtual private network (VPN).
As for the licensing, Skinner said the new plan “suits the customer who is gradually shifting to the cloud, and it suits the channel because they won’t have to deal with license transitions, transfers and things like that on an ongoing basis.”