Microsoft, Trend Micro Roll Out New SMB Security Alliance


Trend Micro Inc. has rolled out a new alliance with Microsoft that enables the integration of Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security Services into Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The news was announced at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in Toronto.

“Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which is now in beta, is one of the packages that will be offered to small businesses, starting in the November timeframe,” said Magi Diego, director of SMB marketing at Trend Micro. “Microsoft is seeing a tremendous uptake in cloud services, and they were urged by their partners to work with us to deliver security for small-to-medium businesses. Our Worry-Free services, which are also in beta, provide a cloud-based security model that also includes a cloud-based management console. It can be multi-tenanted and white labeled. It can be in a tiered distribution model if someone wants to be a cloud aggregator. It's really built for the whole new cloud era and the different types of channel partners out there.”

Trend Micro’s beta testing is scheduled to be completed in September.

[Related: 7 Security Threats Circling Your Network]

The Trend Micro offering safeguards PCs, laptops, servers and other Windows-based devices from viruses, spyware, spam and other Web threats, backed by ongoing updates from the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network infrastructure, which is intended to identify and protect against emerging threats as quickly as possible. It also features a self-provisioning license management portal that dramatically increases the speed of purchasing and provisioning the service.

Meanwhile, Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports a wide variety of applications and includes automated backup.

The two companies intend to collaborate on go-to-market strategies, channel training and other related programs.

But, these types of programs are seen by some channel partners as a double-edged sword.

“In general, I would say these sorts of alliances reduce revenue opportunities for the channel," said Garth Brown, president of the Semaphore Corporation, a Mercer Island, Wash.-based channel partner. “It's sort of an end run around the stuff that we do, and Microsoft is famous for doing that. On the other hand, there can be a lot of lost efficiency and productivity in keeping security up to date. So, if there's an easy solution for doing that, I think it can be a net-positive."

Brown predicted that the arrangement could leave some current Trend Micro partners in the cold, given the fact that the volume of partners selling the combined value proposition will likely increase exponentially, as a result of the alliance.

“When those things happen, I tend to think it's unfortunate, but if it's a really better situation for the customer, then I don't lose a lot of sleep over it,” he added. “If you want to be around this business for a while, you need to do what is best for the customer. And if it's really easier to work with, and if they do a good job of integrating it and maintain a tight development cycle, then it could work to the customer’s advantage.”

PUBLISHED JULY 10, 2012