Trend Micro Bets Big On Cloud Security In Asia Pacific

Trend Micro held its first Asia Pacific (AP) Industry Analyst summit on April 9, 2013 in Singapore. The most obvious message for me is that the company is clearly seeking to expand its focus well beyond the “legacy” antivirus market. Throughout the event, Trend Micro emphasized the need for cloud security solutions and the opportunities that exist in the Asia Pacific market. Speakers also highlighted the need to invest in breaking Trend Micro’s image as an antivirus vendor to help capitalize on the market opportunities for enterprise cloud security. 

Below are the two key themes highlighted by Trend Micro during the event and my take on each:

  • Enabling cloud-related security is central to company growth. Security-related concerns remain the most prominent reason that organizations cite for not adopting cloud services.  Recently, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) outlined the “Notorious Nine” threats for 2013, and the top three cloud-related threats include data breaches, data loss, and account hijacking. Forrester’s Forrsights IT Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2012 shows that 30% of organizations in the AP region aim to create a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan for public cloud and other as-a-service offerings over the next 12 months. Cloud-related spending therefore represents a big market opportunity. Security will be central to organizations’ cloud strategies and hence spending. Trend Micro is aiming to meet this nascent demand but must better explain why it is best positioned. 
  • Enabling improved threat intelligence features within core products is also critical. Security threats are borderless and are increasing at a significant rate. For example, AP countries have witnessed a number of targeted attacks on government websites recently, causing temporary or long disruption of services. Trend Micro claims that it can help prevent such targeted attacks through its custom defense strategy: real-time threat intelligence features enabled in its products. Such claims will gain traction if supported by real business case scenarios with a showcase of attack mitigation techniques and customer testimonials.

Trend Micro also used the event to lay out its portfolio of products designed to break its image as a traditional antivirus vendor. These include:

  • Deep Security. Agentless and agent-based server protection across physical, virtual and cloud datacenter, including antimalware, intrusion detection and prevention, firewall, web application protection, integrity monitoring, and log inspection. The latest version has enhancements that support the latest VMware releases and more.
  • Deep Discovery. Out-of-band network security appliance specialized in threat detection across more than 80 protocols, real-time sandbox analysis, adaptive protection, and rapid response to combat targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
  • SafeSync. Securely sync, share, and manage documents in a safe, private cloud environment.

Both the company’s target focus areas and product announcements are positive steps forward. But I believe that Trend Micro’s focus on mobile security remains missing. In fact, senior executives have yet to spell out any specific strategy around mobile security. The mobile market is evolving rapidly and ongoing consumerization is blurring the distinction between work and personal devices and applications. Cloud and mobility increasingly go hand in hand. Information workers now access corporate information on personal devices and vice versa. Security is therefore a major concern with corporate information being accessed from personal devices. We expect that higher mobile content consumption and an accelerated threat landscape will continue to drive demand for mobile security technologies and services.

Trend Micro must focus just as heavily on mobile security as it does on cloud security solutions, particularly in AP, where mobile penetration rates and usage are much higher than other regions. Without these mobile strategies in place, Trend Micro will continue struggling to break out of the traditional antivirus market.

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