Trend Micro Dishes out Security Smorgasbord

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Trend Micro Monday dished out a smorgasbord of endpoint security products that put the focus on Trend's cloud-based architecture and its partnership with systems-management vendor BigFix.

The Trend Micro Endpoint Security Platform is the firm's entry in the growing battle to win corporate customers that want combined security and systems management in one suite. The Endpoint Security Platform package is basically a re-branding of the BigFix Unified Management System for endpoint, security configuration and vulnerability management, with specialized modules for functions such as antimalware or data-leak protection.

These Windows-based security software modules, the majority of which are available now, work as add-ons to the systems management desktop agent that's part of the Endpoint Security Platform, priced at about US$26 per user. Trend Micro and BigFix are jointly marketing them.

The Core Protection Module is similar to Trend Micro's OfficeScan antimalware software, says Dan Glessner, vice president of marketing. He adds part of the strategy around the software modules is to give BigFix customers using a competitors' antimalware software a chance to try Trend Micro and simply turn on the Core Protection Module to make the switch.

The Web Protection Module is an add-on to gain Trend's Web-based Reputation Services Protection and the Patch Management Module is basically a re-branding of the BigFix systems and security agent for Windows, Apple, Linux and Unix.

The fourth module, expected out in June, is the Data Leakage Protection Module based on desktop data-loss prevention technology Trend acquired in its acquisition of start-up Provilla in late 2007.

Trend Micro's second announcement Monday concerns a radical change for an updated version of its OfficeScan Client/Server Suite which is expected to ship in mid-May.

With this tenth version of its flagship Windows servers and desktop security suite, Trend Micro is following through on its earlier promise to develop an alternative to the traditional method of anti-virus scanning that requires downloading thousands of virus signatures to the desktop.

"There are over 1,500 new malware samples created every hour," says Glessner, pointing out that downloading this volume of signature protection every day is becoming increasingly untenable.

As an alternative to the traditional process that involves checking the signature database stored on the desktop to detect a virus, Trend Micro has come up with an alternate method it refers to as its Smart Protection Network concept.

It's based on the idea of moving a portion of the database to the cloud, says Ron Clarkson, Trend Micro's director of endpoint security.

Trend Micro has re-designed OfficeScan to be able to perform a virus-signature check against what's called the SmartScan Server, which would contain the signature database. It would be located inside the corporate network. Alternately, the scanning could also be provided through Trend Micro's Internet-based cloud service. Both entail removing a portion of the signature database off the user's desktop.

Trend Micro says no file leaves the endpoint in the scanning process. But the downside to this cloud-scanning concept, Glessner and Clarkson acknowledge, is that the cloud-based antivirus protection would become unavailable if an endpoint loses a connection or is cut off from the Internet.

However, OfficeScan 10.0 will be designed so that IT managers can choose to use the conventional method of signature-based scanning on the desktop or the alternate cloud-based method, which Trend Micro calls "file reputation."

Trend Micro is providing this choice because "we think customers will need time to evaluate and get used to this," Glessner says.

OfficeScan 10.0, expected out in mid-May, will be priced at about $20 per user based on 1001 endpoints and up.

This story, "Trend Micro Dishes out Security Smorgasbord" was originally published by Network World.

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