All-in-One Network Protection for the Middle Child

by Lauren Simonds

Trend Micro aims a security appliance at the oft-forgotten mid-sized business market.

Companies that fall into the mid-market segment of business can have a tough time when it comes to finding the right IT products for their needs. They suffer from the technological equivalent of the middle-child syndrome — not big enough to grab the attention of the big IT vendors, but too large to take advantage of products specifically designed for small business.

TrendMicro hopes to ease the pain of neglect with its just-announced InterScan Gateway Security Appliance, an all-in-one product designed to help companies protect their networks, secure their data and improve their productivity.

Trying to pin down a single definition for mid-market is tough enough. Trend Micro defines it as companies with 100 — 1,000 employees. Other industry-watchers define it as 100 to 500 workers. Regardless of the definition you use, these companies face a number of challenges.

Jon Clay, Trend Micro's product marketing manager, says that mid-sized firms are a bit more technologically sophisticated than small businesses and typically have a full-time, but small, IT staff. "The IT department at a mid-market company has a lot of demands on its time," he says. "It's looking for products that are easy to install and easy to run, but still give them the ability to configure the settings to their specific needs."

The new appliance is designed to sit at the gateway between the Internet and your company's network and to scan four types of threats. The appliance incorporates antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, content filtering and URL filtering capability.

It also features, says Clay, anti-bot functionality that's intended to protect your desktops from being turned into zombies — no, not like what you find in low-budget slasher flicks. Malicious hackers often use bots — software programs — to hijack and redirect a portion of your PC's power. They then use the power of collective zombies to launch attacks on Web sites or large networks. Zombie PCs can't perform to their potential, and they can cause a constant drain your company's productivity.

The appliance offers another way to protect your company's productivity, says Clay — content filtering. "You can scan the content of both e-mail and attachments for inappropriate material and you can also filter URLs to block shopping sites or other Web sites that can distract your employees or open your company to legal litigation," said Clay.

InterScan Gateway Security Appliance
Trend Micro designed its InterScan Gateway Security Appliance for mid-sized businesses.

In addition to protecting the network, the InterScan appliance also offers a desktop scanning and cleaning component. Employees can point to the appliance by using a browser on the desktop and initiate a scan and clean of their PC.

Clay points to other benefits the InterScan Gateway offers, including the following:

  • Protects at the gateway — the most effective point in your network's infrastructure
  • Scans all potentially infected traffic: updates threat definitions every 15 minutes
  • Protects un-patched/out-of date PCs /Servers
  • Filters mail from viruses and spam before it gets to your mail servers
  • Ensures employee productivity
  • Limits legal liability and leakage of confidential documents

Trend Micro offers six different models. The base model, licensed for 100 people, costs $4,000 for an annual license. The 500-seat version sells for $13,990 per year and the line tops out at 1,000 people for $20,000 per year.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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This article was originally published on Monday Aug 14th 2006
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