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Trend Micro makes antivirus push

The company is shipping a new Web-based console to let network managers configure and control antivirus programs from a single location.

Trend Micro is expected to announce next week that it's shipping a new Web-based console to let network managers configure and control antivirus programs from a single location.

The Trend Virus Control System (VCS) can centralize control of Trend Micro's server-based antivirus programs on email servers, file servers, Internet gateways and the like, simplifying a network or security manager's job. The company expects to announce another console that can manage antivirus software on desktop client machines within a month.

"They are the first I know of to leverage directory services as the way to manage a virus management system," said Jamie Lewis, president of the Burton Group network consultancy. Trend's console will utilize an existing Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server but can store the data in its own database too.

"By using LDAP, they're making it much easier from a management perspective," Lewis said.

Trend's VCS can even detect, but not manage, antivirus software running within an enterprise from competitors Symantec, Network Associates, and Computer Associates.

"The virus problem has been solved--all the major antivirus companies have sold software to handle viruses, but now we've created an antivirus problem," Dan Schrader, Trend's director of product marketing, said. "There's so much software running on so many machines in so many locations that it's hard to manage.

"Virus Control System gives managers the ability to have central control of antivirus defenses," he added.

The Web-based management system allows managers to set antivirus policies across the enterprise, lets them configure and control multiple Trend antivirus products on multiple platforms across a network, automates twice-monthly updates for all machines, and is designed to cut management costs. It also collects data on viruses for analysis.

Industry analysts see centralized control of antivirus software as an emerging trend. A recent Meta Group report called management capabilities "a better criterion for vendor selection than actual virus detection capabilities."

For Trend resellers, the new VCS software gives them the ability to manage a customer's antivirus protection on an outsourced basis. It also lets them demo Trend software remotely with prospective customers.

This summer Trend expects additional announcements on content management, controlling malicious Java applets and ActiveX controls, antispam software, and filtering URLs.

Trend Virus Control System is available immediately for Windows NT 4.0 and above. Suggested U.S. retail is $3,000 for consoles managing as many as 1,000 seats. The console is free to existing Trend Micro customers and to new customers who buy at least $50,000 of Trend Micro products or services.