Trend Micro's New SOHO Security Solution

By Patricia Fusco | Posted March 19, 2004

Home network security can be difficult to setup and pricey to manage. With multiple computers running a variety of security software, or different versions of the same software, the risk of a home network security breach is nearly imminent. Trend Micro rises to the challenge with a new security solution for small office and home office (SOHO) networks.

According to a report by high-tech market research firm In-Stat/MDR, there will be over 65 million home networks operating worldwide by the end of 2007. Home networks are typically made up of multiple PCs and a router, which is hooked-up to a broadband connection — DSL and cable access being the SOHO connections of choice.

A recent study completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that 46 percent of small companies have suffered a computer security breach. Of those, 61 percent were the victims of hackers. Annie Chen, Trend Micro small business and consumer product manager, said PC break-ins are often the result of unsecured home office and small business networks that are connected to the Internet 24 by 7, just like a larger business.

"The increasing prevalence of multi-PC households combined with the rapid adoption of broadband and home networking has created a challenging environment for small businesses and home office workers," Chen Said. "With 'always-on' connections, home networks and small businesses face the same types of security issues as large corporations. We're offering a way for SOHO users to protect their businesses from the latest Internet security threats."

Smart Network Defense
While the growth of broadband services has greatly contributed to making home networks more viable, broadband connections also expose home office networks to viruses, worms and hackers due to the "always-on" nature of the access. This is why it's important to shield all the PCs connected to a small network at the Internet gateway, which in home-based networks means that router has to be protected. Mike Sweeny, Trend Micro spokesperson, likened the new home network security solution to getting a drink of water.

"Building a security system into a router allows for secure home networking, just as putting a filter on a faucet allows everyone in your home to drink pure, uncontaminated water," Sweeny said. "You don't want your water to be impure and you don't want your computers to be infected with viruses — you clean impurities out of the system before they come into your home."

Trend Micro's new security solution enables home networking enthusiasts to centrally manage their protection systems for multiple PCs. Chen explained what Trend Micro's new SOHO security solutions entails.

"Key components include anti-virus software, a personal firewall, parental control systems and URL blocking, as well as anti-spam technology," Chen said. "And users don't have to worry about software updates for a router. Because a router acts as a gateway to the Internet in most home office setups, it's constantly connected, so updates are automatic."

Control Factors
Customers will have all the necessary tools to centrally manager security systems for different PCs connected to a small network. Separate security controls can be set for different PCs, so URL blocking can be avoided on a notebook computer, but added to a desktop PC for younger users in the household. The new security system is based on Trend Micro technology for home networks and is made possible through collaboration with integrated hardware vendors (IHVs) and network equipment providers.

Through a subscription process, customers can purchase, install, register, update and renew their Trend Micro security software through a single transaction that will initiate securing the entire network. This saves time and money when compared to installing, registering and updating multiple copies of security software on several PCs.

Through select network equipment providers, customers will be able to setup a small network, secure Trend Micro software licensing and subscription services, and manage their home PC security system. Chen explained why middlemen — IHVs, router equipment makers and value-added resellers — are so important to making its SOHO network security solution work.

"There are a lot of small businesses that specialize in providing technology-based services to the home market, this includes businesses that come in and set up a complex home theater system, as well as those that setup a small network," Chen said. "Specialized service providers can come into to a SOHO environment and setup wireless systems and routers to help build secure home networks with our new security solution."

Trend Micro technology enables IHVs to create the next generation of secure home routers and gateways that will be designed to protect SOHO networks from viruses, hackers, and other Internet security threats. Just don't go looking to buy Trend Micro's home network security solutions right now, its products are only sold through value-added resellers and managed service providers. This means that the Trend Micro SOHO security solution — demonstrated at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany this week — won't be available in the U.S. until this fall.

Pricing and Availability
Trend Micro expects to provide their technology for home routers and gateways through leading resellers, such as Foxconn and ZyXEL Communications.

The company is working to strike agreements with top U.S. value-added resellers and router makers to prepare for a major rollout of the SOHO security system later this year. Pricing will be determined as resellers are secured. Chen said the small businesses are price sensitive and that the technology would come to market price-right for SOHO users.

"Through combining our expertise with that of our home network hardware vendors, Trend Micro will be able to address consumer's home network security and management concerns in a uniquely simplified and cost-effective way," Chen said.

More and more home offices are setting up networks to connect their small business computers and devices. Protecting these systems from malicious code doesn't have to be complex or expensive — it does need to be cost-effective and reliable. Trend Micro believes that its SOHO security solution is just the ticket.

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