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Trend Micro Readies Security SaaS

Antivirus developer Trend Micro said it's ready to take on some big names with its new SecureCloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)  security platform for businesses.

SecureCloud is a trio of services, one of which is already available, designed to battle spam. The main service is an e-mail filtering service for business, where mail to the customer is rerouted to Trend's servers, where it is scanned for spam and any sort of malicious code or links.

The second service is a list of botnet  herders. Botnets, or compromised computers with hidden software to shoot off spam, are controlled by a single person or computer, called a "herder." While there are millions of botnet computers there are relatively few herders. One estimate puts the number at around 18,000.

By identifying them, the company can then block all messages from that IP access, thus shutting down the bot until it is eventually found on the network. It had long been assumed that corporate networks were free of botnet infestation but that has since been proven wrong.

The third service is actually an upgrade to an existing service. It's an IP reputation service that checks the IP address of an e-mail against a list of known spammers. It also checks the company's outgoing e-mail for spam and alerts the administrators of suspicious e-mail.

The new version of the service adds a policy slider for more fine-grained control over how mail is filtered and examined. Trend says it has 6,000 customers with more than 100 million mailboxes being covered by this service.

Trend started on the client and has slowly moved up and out to the server, then gateways, and now the "cloud." John Maddison, general manager of network security services at Trend, said that's the way to go.

"The further out you can stop the threat, the better," he told Internetnews.com. "If you stop it at the gateway you can stop it from infecting 10,000 PCs. Then it doesn't get to your network and you don't have to deal with it there."

The new services put Trend up against some of the biggest names in the market, though. MessageLabs is well-established in this space, as is Postini, which was bought by Google , and FrontBridge, which was purchased by Microsoft .

"They are up against some pretty entrenched competitors," said Andrew Jacquith, security solutions and services program manager for The Yankee Group. "They'd have to do something really special to differentiate themselves. Still, it's better to be late to the table for a big market than late to the table for a small one."

So why would Trend want to go up against Microsoft, Google and MessageLabs? No one can offer complete SaaS from cloud to the end point, said Maddison. "We also have a large installed base of end users, so our goal is to join a Google pure Internet model with a Microsoft software model to gain the advantages of both," he said.

Trend's aim is to create a single console that will allow customers to manage security from client to cloud, all of it based on their products, naturally. The company plans to make more administration-related announcements in the near future.

Jacquith said the managed e-mail filtering market is big because it works. "We as a firm have been recommending this as the preferred option for corporations for almost two years now because the technology is good, the services work," he said.

All three services are available now, with more information available at the SecureCloud home page.