Trend Micro To Acquire Online Data Firm Humyo

Trend Micro is expanding its portfolio with online backup and data synchronization offerings after signing an agreement to acquire online storage and data protection firm Humyo.

Executives say that U.K.-based Humyo will give security company Trend Micro a leg up in the SMB and consumer space with the addition of online backup, disaster recovery and data protection.

Among other things, Humyo offers data synchronization and automatic file transfer across Windows, Macs and other Internet-connected devices. Humyo currently stores more than 350 million files for 700,000 users, while offering local telephone and e-mail support in three languages.

Executives say that Trend Micro was compelled to make the purchase in light of changing security market trends, and the proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace.

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"We've seen customer behavior change in consumer and small businesses related to increased consumption of devices and we've seen that some of the security challenges are the same and some are very different," said Carol Carpenter, Trend Micro general manager of volume business.

One of those security challenges includes ensuring that the data that resides on consumer devices is constantly secured, both within the company's network and outside the firewall. Carpenter said that the company will initially focus more on the data protection aspect of Humyo's portfolio.

"This is the next natural step in terms of how you protect the customers' data," she said. "In addition to device protection, there's a need for data protection."

Dan Thormodsgaard, director of solutions architecture for Kansas City, Mo.-based FishNet Security, said that he thought that Trend Micro's addition of online backup technologies could possibly create more opportunities for him to expand his portfolio, but said that the acquisition would also require a major strategy shift.

"It gives us a larger portfolio to go after. (Trend Micro) was predominantly a security play. The challenge would be that now you have to establish relationships with a different stakeholder," he said. "The challenge is you now have to establish relationships more on the systems side of the house as opposed to the security side."

Next: Partners Weigh In On Humyo Acquisition

Other Trend Micro channel partners, many of whom were unaware of the acquisition and had never heard of Humyo, said that that acquisition wouldn't likely have much of an impact on their business.

Pat Grillo, CEO of Atrion Communications Research, based in Branchburg, N.J, said that the addition of online SMB backup and disaster recovery would likely do little to add to his portfolio, adding that "no one ever touched base" with them about the Humyo acquisition.

"We're doing a lot of security stuff and are not sure where that would fit in for us," he said.

And it might not matter if it did. Carpenter said that SMB and consumer-focused Humyo only did about 30 percent of its business through the channel. She said that Trend Micro would likely help expand Humyo's channel presence down the road, but also implied that the company's go-to-market strategy wouldn't change in the near term and that Trend Micro would continue to offer Humyo products direct to its smallest customers.

"There's no secret that below 10 users there are some small businesses that prefer to purchase direct," Carpenter said. "We haven't made any final decisions."

Gary Fish, FishNet Security CEO, said that the company still retained Trend Micro as a partner, but that he had backed away from aggressively pursuing Trend Micro deals due to commoditization of antivirus in the marketplace, among other things.

"AV has become such a commoditized product from an integrators standpoint. We don't do a lot of AV. Selling AV into the enterprise these days just isn't that profitable. It's very competitive," Fish said. "Good for (Trend Micro) that they're finding another tool to put in their bag."

Trend Micro is the third of the "Big Three" global security companies, although it hasn't been as acquisitive in recent months as its two endpoint security competitors McAfee and Symantec. Symantec offers a full suite of backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and archiving technologies, as well as encryption, PKI and authentication technologies, while McAfee has branched into cloud-based managed services and the networking security space -- all due to respective acquisitions.

Carpenter said that the Humyo acquisition did more than put Trend Micro on par with Symantec, which also offers online backup and disaster recovery. "It actually elevates us to a much higher playing field. What Symantec offers today, online backup, that's interesting," she said. "We're going to be offering the ability to not only back up small business, but to access their data and share their data."

Fish said that the acquisition would likely give Trend Micro a competitive boost in the marketplace, as it struggles to hold its place in the security market against security giants Symantec and McAfee.

"If you look at most big AV vendors, that's not their whole business. They've honestly got a ton of other products. Trend Micro is one of the few pure AV. But you can only do that for so long and then you've got to start looking for other opportunities," he said. "It seems like they've found a good opportunity that might be a natural upsell within their client base."