Enterprise security vendor Trend Micro is expanding its channel presence in Canada as the company releases a suite of products for small-to-mid-size (SMB) businesses.

Currently, the company has eight premier VARs under its wing and would like to increase that by another six.

Trend Micro

also has partnered with distributors Ingram Micro Canada, Tech Data Canada, Synnex Canada and Interwork, a focused security distributor in Toronto.

Lane Bess, president of North American for Trend Micro, acknowledged that the company could not have a strong presence in Canada without an SMB product suite. Securing tier two distribution along with hiring Pat Kewin away from McAfee Canada to become the subsidiary’s new director was all part of the plan to grow Trend Micro’s business in Canada.

Bess’s goal for the Canadian subsidiary is 10 per cent of current U.S. revenues, which are between US$120 to $130 million.

With two-tier distribution, Kewin believes Trend Micro can reach thousands of resellers across the country, but the key will be to build the premier section of the company’s VAR base. “”We need partners with the right level of focus. Partners that want to get sales and technical certifications. It is important to build our base of security experts in Canada,”” Kewin said.

Part of the plan will be to have the partners market Trend Micro across Canada. Bess said Trend Micro partners enjoy margins between 15 and 20 per cent, but added that part of that profit goes towards marketing development funds to help promote the company’s products.

Another potential lucrative development, Bess said, is Trend Micro’s partnership with Cisco Systems Corp. Cisco will be integrating Trend Micro’s security products and services with Cisco networks. “”We are the security version of Intel Inside for Cisco,”” Bess said.

He added that part of the channel plan would be to leverage Cisco’s installed base and recruit Cisco channel partners.

This plan mark a new era for Trend Micro. The company, in the past, had a direct to VAR model. Trend Micro also had to cater to Fortune 500 and Global 2000 customers because it started on the enterprise. Trend Micro, which was established in 1988 in Torrance, Calif., by the husband and wife team of Steve and Jenny Chang, decided to grow its product line organically instead of through acquisition. According to Bess, the company’s enterprise customers required all products to work together and be centrally managed. So as Trend Micro expanding beyond anti-virus, it had to develop its own solutions for content filtering, spam prevention and its own hardware/software appliance for vulnerability assessment.

“”It was an inside out type of strategy instead of the desktop first approach our competitors used,”” Bess said.

This approach put the company behind rivals Symantec and McAfee in terms of brand awareness.

“”IT managers who understand anti virus knew Trend Micro. If they got their homework done and if it came down to a bake off we’d win,”” Bess said.

Also Intel Corp., who was a shareholder at the time, prevented the company from building its brand via retail because of a five-year contractual obligation. Bess could not provide any more details on this contract, which has now expired. As a result, Trend Micro’s only retail presence was in Asia Pacific, Bess said.

With that Trend Micro wants to make a splash in the consumer market and challenge heavyweights such as Symantec and McAfee with its PC-Cillin product.

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