Trend Micro upgrades products, unveils strategy

Antivirus firm Trend Micro Inc. Tuesday announced a new suite of services designed to help users block viruses from entering their networks after an outbreak but before virus definitions are available, as well as clean up after outbreaks. To accommodate the new services, Trend Micro will also be upgrading its full line of products over the course of the next month.

The new services are the result of six months of customer interviews conducted by Trend Micro to help determine where customers need more help in fighting viruses, said Steve Quane, product group manager for enterprise services and infrastructure at Trend Micro, based in Tokyo.

Users told Trend Micro that while they were happy with the scanning and blocking functions traditionally offered by antivirus software, they needed more help before and after outbreaks hit, Quane said. Customers complained that they are left exposed once an outbreak has started but before a virus definition has been released and that they would like more help in cleaning up after outbreaks, he said.

In response to this, Trend rolled out three new services: Outbreak Prevention; Threat-based Scanning; and Damage Assessment and Cleanup, Quane said. All three services will be managed from Trend Micro's Control Manager management console, which is also being upgraded, though some of the services will be launched through local software rather than the Control Manager, he said.

The Outbreak Prevention service will attempt to narrow the window in which enterprises are vulnerable to outbreaks and before an antivirus update is released, he said. The service will send detailed information and a policy template designed to block the virus from the network, but not delete it, to the Control Manager as soon as Trend has information about a virus outbreak, he said. From the Control Manager, the policy template can be published to all systems running Trend antivirus products, Quane said. Information from the Outbreak Prevention service can be automatically downloaded and published to systems whenever new information is available, or can be installed manually, he said.

The second service, Threat-based Scanning, will allow users to scan their systems for viruses based on virus profiles -- what the virus files look like, are named, how they act and so on, he said. These virus profiles will likely only be offered for high-risk viruses, Quane said.

Damage Assessment and Cleanup services round out the offerings and will give users a way to scan their systems to repair the changes made by viruses, he said. The scanning will initially take place from whatever Trend Micro antivirus software is on the device being scanned, but the company plans to eventually offer a server version of the software that will be able to scan systems remotely, he said. Like the other services, Damage Assessment and Cleanup will be administered through the Control Manager, which will also generate reports about the effectiveness of the service, Quane said.

Lastly, the company announced a new version of the Trend Micro Control Manager enabled to handle the services. The Control Manager is required to use the services, but starting Tuesday, the software will be free with the purchase of other Trend Micro software or services in the U.S., he said. Control Manager will become a free product in other markets within six months, he added.

The new versions of Trend Micro's other products will be updated in two phases, with InterScan and ScanMail being updated on Tuesday and the balance of the products revving in mid-June, he said.

Trend Micro has been offering some level of these services to a number of its customers for about six months and has found that the window in which users are exposed to a virus without protection is about 50 percent smaller when using the services, he said.

The new services are immediately available worldwide, except in Japan where they will become available in a few months, Quane said. The services will be offered for free to users when they upgrade their Trend Micro software in 2002, he said. Beginning in 2003, the services will start at US$750 per year for 25 users, he said.

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