Trend Micro Simplifies Product Choices For SMBs

Trend Micro is reducing the complexity of its product offerings, unveiling a set of simplified options for small and midsize businesses under a strategy the company's executives said is aimed at stopping partners from selling capabilities to businesses that won't use them.

Trend Micro's executives told CRN that its expanding product portfolio has made it difficult for some partners to sell the right mixture of products to businesses with limited IT budgets. The firm has had to address some deals in which resellers sold enterprise-grade products, such as the company's Deep Discovery advanced threat detection platform, to smaller businesses that don't require the protection, said Trend Micro Channel Chief Partha Panda. The complexity of the offerings caused some resellers to sell bloated packages to customers, Panda said.

"We have had instances where an enterprise-grade product was sold to a small business with all the bells and whistles which they would never use, and they don't even need all those bells and whistles," Panda said. "We don't want to end up with unnatural transactions which we can't scale."

[Related: Trend Micro Cutting Partners Via Formal Review Program ]

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The simplified suite packaging provides customers the ability to mix on-premise and cloud versions of the security platform, supporting a growing number of hybrid deployment strategies, Panda said. Endpoint protection capabilities can be purchased separately or bundled with mail, web, and collaboration server and gateway security.

The company also is launching a promotion called Switch To Trend, hoping to displace Symantec, McAfee, Sophos and Kaspersky Lab with license portability. The suite is sold on a per-user licensing scheme that enables users to protect multiple devices with the software on a single license. It includes 24/7 support. Trend Micro also is getting increased competitive pressure from network security vendors, such as FireEye and Palo Alto Networks, which are building out endpoint security capabilities.

The company also unveiled a new whitelisting option it calls Application Control. The feature enables IT teams to set policies on categories of software types, such as restricting the installation and use of peer-to-peer file-sharing software. It also bolstered its hosted email security suite to support inbound and outbound protection for Microsoft Office 365 deployments.

Trend Micro has moved away from being solely an antimalware-focused company, adding capabilities over the past six years, such as cloud security and an offering expansion for Custom Defense, which address the detection of custom malware used in targeted attacks, Panda said. The expansion prompted the need for an annual review process to weed out underperforming partners in the U.S., which impacted 20 percent of the company's partner base. The company is taking its strategy globally, Panda said.

"We have expanded our footprint from being an antimalware-only company to a broader reach with new additions, and these areas are not only new challenges for customers, but more importantly they require a completely different skill set to deploy and maintain," Panda said. "Partners are required to become more systems integrator, advisory-type roles."

The company also underwent a product mapping strategy to align its products to the partners' vertical niche and specialization, Panda said.

Russell Temple, director of the data center practice at Tempe, Ariz.-based service provider Insight Enterprises, a Trend Micro partner, said the security vendor should benefit by reconfiguring its portfolio to fit smaller firms so they can add capabilities as they grow. Cutting or reducing benefits to underperforming partners is something that vendors need to do to help bolster growth, Temple said.

"Trend is helping their customers by focusing the conversation around the business value of the technology, and partners can then work to take the conversation to the next level," Temple said in a recent interview. "Anything that helps take the product portfolio and align it to the business vertical makes it easier for us to position the right product for the customer."