Trend Micro Aims to Make Security Worry-Free

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 02, 2008

If Trend Micro were a character out of the comics, it would have to be Alfred E. Newman. The Mad Magazine pitchman's rakish catchphrase, "What? Me Worry?" exudes the confidence Trend Micro seeks to offer its small business customers with the launch of Worry-Free Business Security 5.0.

The company first launched its Worry-Free Business Security Solutions four years ago, and calls this 5.0 version a "radically new and upgraded line" that's designed with improved technology to protect small businesses from the ever-changing and increasingly complex world of Web threats.

The changes to the program reflect not only the way Web threats have evolved and continue to change, but also the ways in which people work today, i.e., the growing mobile workforce. Jon Clay, a product-marketing manager at Trend Micro, breaks down Worry-Free Business Security, available in both Standard and Advanced versions, into its key points.

Web Threat Protection

Clay said that in addition to the standard protection against spyware, viruses, spam, phishing and inappropriate Web content, Worry-Free Business Security also protects you from malicious Web sites or legitimate sites that have been compromised by hackers.

The danger in landing on a compromised Web site, of course, is that hackers can then download malicious software on your PC without you ever knowing. That software can include key loggers to capture information such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, your customer's personal data or even your company's financial records.

"The service protects you in the cloud," said Clay. "Meaning that when you surf to a Web site, the software reaches out over the Internet to the Trend Micro server and compares the URL against the company's database of compromised URLs."

The database is hosted on Trend Micro's server, which Clay said allows them to build protection without slowing down the customer's computer performance. "It also means that everyone gets instantaneous protection once a site is found to be compromised," said Clay. "There's no need for a signature file, so there's no delay."

Trend Micro uses more than 50 different criteria to determine what constitutes a suspicious site, said Clay including, to name just a few, the site's history, age of the site, whether its domain has moved around the world and whether it has ever been associated with a spamming domain.

He also said that they tend to see Web and e-mail threats together. "We call them 'intersecting threat vectors,'" said Clay. "E-mail is the threat delivery system and a compromised Web site is the collection agent. You click on an embedded link in a e-mail that takes you to what looks like your bank's site or some other seemingly legit site, and they ask for your account information." You'd be surprised how often this tactic works.

Location Awareness

Worry-Free Business Security also designed to pay attention to where you employees connect to the Internet. With more people working remotely from home, at airports, hot-spots, Starbucks and just about anywhere they can get a signal, the challenge to protect their computers protected keeps getting bigger.

Our software's location awareness lets you set up a different security policy for notebooks for the times when your employees are off the main network," said Clay. The software automatically changes the security settings on notebooks based on whether the employee is connecting inside or outside the office.

Behavior Monitoring

Clay likens the software's behavior monitoring capability to that of a host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS). Meaning that it follows the 'if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck; it's a duck' philosophy.

"If a computer acts like it's been compromised, the software automatically takes action to protect it," said Clay. "The administrator can set up the software so that it takes whatever action you choose – from a simple alert to quarantine."

He added that alerts are always in plain English, give a general description of the problem and tell you to contact the administrator. "We want to avoid customer confusion by avoiding overly-technical alerts," he said.

Protect QuickBooks, Too

Worry-Free Business Security also includes protection for QuickBooks files. This feature, which you enable by checking a box during the setup process, is designed to safeguard QuickBooks files and folders from unauthorized alteration.

"The software locks down the QuickBooks file structure and keeps hackers or anyone else from replacing an executable file or customer data file with a malicious file," said Clay. "QuickBooks is critical data for small businesses – they want to protect it as much as possible."

PricingWorry-Free Business Security 5.0 Standard
One-year license for 100 people: $32.36 per person for the year. For years two and three, you pay a maintenance fee (40 percent of original purchase price).

Worry-Free Business Security 5.0 Advanced
Provides the same endpoint protection as Standard with additional messaging protection plus support for Exchange mail servers (standalone or included with Microsoft Small Business Server.

One-year license for 100 people: $59.32 per person for the year. For years two and three, you pay a maintenance fee (40 percent of original purchase price).

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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