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With five patents to her name, Trend Micro CEO Eva Chen conceptualized several of the security company’s key innovations, including the Network VirusWall, an appliance for protecting multiple network segments and servers. She recently visited with CRN Editor Heather Clancy and Associate Editor Thomas Zizzo to discuss the company’s aggressive move into the small- and midsize-business market as well as provide insight on the state of security in other countries.
CRN: You have a very aggressive partner recruitment going on right now. Can you talk about what types of partners and why now?
CHEN: We're going after the SMB customer segment. These are the customers that don't have IT security, they don't have IT specialists and therefore we designed a special product and service package called Worry Free for the small- and medium-size business customer. This type of customer, we believe, can only be reached by the smaller reseller. ...This type of smaller reseller, they probably are not so IT-savvy. So the product you design for them to sell needs to be very simple.
CRN: How do you find these companies? Are they partners of existing competitors? Are they small-business VARs that don't have a security focus now? Who are they?
CHEN: Several things. Yes, like you mentioned, they were originally competitors' resellers or partners' resellers, but they weren't selling [antivirus] or security software. For instance, our partnership with Cisco [Systems] adds to another layer for the networking resellers. They were selling routers and switches before, but because we work with Cisco to have this security inside the Cisco gear, now we were able to reach these resellers. Some of the resellers started to buy and sell security products.
CRN: You keep referencing international markets. You have such a global outlook. Could you give a sense of where the United States stands with respect to security vs. other countries? Where are we ahead, and where are we not ahead? How does the U.S. scene differ from other markets?
CHEN: I think the U.S. market is the most ahead on the security front. However, in Europe, we see more strict restrictions, and therefore the enterprises in Europe usually incorporate more security products. I would say they adopt the new technology much faster than in America. They are very aggressive with the new security regulations. For instance, in Germany especially, and in Japan, the privacy law is a very important part of security. ... In the U.S., the antispam market started to mature last year. But in Asia, in Japan, it just started. And in Europe even, it just started because spam wasn't such a big problem for them. Now it's starting to get there.
CRN: India and China are of interest to our readership because of the offshore outsourcing movement. How do China and India stand as far as the state of security technology?
CHEN: I would say that they're still very early. In terms of their infrastructure, they are very early. For instance, the spam sent in open relay. The variety of [the spammers] are still in China. The spammers are using Chinese machines to relay their spam. So overall, the infrastructure is not very mature yet in China. In India, I think there's a big difference between those offshore, big outsourcing companies like Wipro or Infosys or these companies that have thousands and thousands of employees with major outsourcing centers. For those companies, their security has to be very advanced because they do work for IBM and Cisco, and they need to comply to their standards. Therefore, for those big companies in India, the security infrastructure is pretty sophisticated.
CRN: How important is it that a VAR or a systems integrator in the United States understand the policies in other countries, such as Europe? I think we have a very domestic point of view on security trends. How important is it that they start learning about other countries, and is there anything that you're doing to help educate the partners about cross-border opportunities?
CHEN: Because threats have no boundaries, our partners have to understand how other countries are doing their security. ... The companies and their customers have subsidiaries overseas. They have vendors and suppliers overseas that want to make sure their security and their headquarters policy can be deployed or standardized overseas. So if you're a VAR supplying this security product and services to the headquarters in the U.S., and if you are able to understand for different countries, security practices or infrastructure provides them adequate services. I think it's a great value for IT people.
Trend Micro is quite global, and we started this type of program. For instance, Toyota has a lot of plants in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and [the company was] trying to standardize all of its security practices. So they have a spinoff company, which is actually an IT reseller. We were working with them to enable them to deploy Trend Micro's products to all of these different subsidiaries and remotely monitor all of these security practices in Singapore, which is where this VAR was located. But these smaller companies are located all over the world. That probably is a trend. Networks have no boundaries, and therefore security has no boundries. You have to reach out to all the different places.
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