ChannelWorx to push Trend Micro anti-virus box

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IP communications and networking distributor ChannelWorx has added anti-virus specialist Trend Micro to its stable of vendors in a bid to fill out its security offering.

Sibella Sheedy, NSW/ACT branch manager at ChannelWorx, said the distributor had a solid customer base for appliance vendor NetScreen and saw Trend Micro as a complementary vendor in the fast-expanding security market.

'Trend Micro is ... a complementary product for existing channels which we are expanding into,' she said.

Trend Micro's main focus was its new enterprise-focused outbreak prevention appliance – dubbed Network VirusWall – which ChannelWorx hoped would grow its reseller base targeting government and large corporations, Sheedy said.

'NetScreen [gave us] everything from SMBs right through to Telstra, where we have million-dollar purchase orders and will now start to further engage that market with Trend,' she said.

Sheedy said ChannelWorx was in a growth phase but implied that rapid expansion was not yet on the cards.

'We certainly have a select amount of vendors and we don't really want to expand out [too much] further until we have enough coverage,' Sheedy said.

Clive Wainstein, product marketing manager at Trend Micro Australia, said Network VirusWall was the Japan-based vendor's first big push into appliances. However, Network VirusWall was unlike rival offerings as it was the industry's first genuine outbreak prevention appliance, he claimed.

'Enterprise protection strategy is not a new concept. It has been around for 18 months, but its branding and marketing hasn't been too good,' Wainstein said. 'But if you had put [this appliance] on, the Blaster [worm] wouldn't have happened at all.'

He said Nimda in 2001 had caused $590 million of lost revenue to business, Code Red some $2.6 billion, and Blaster was still wreaking havoc. Malware attacks were getting more complex and actual damage-causing payloads not vulnerable to traditional anti-virus software were starting to appear, he pointed out.

'I firmly believe that 2004 is going to be the year of pain,' Wainstein said.

However, Network VirusWall, he claimed, could greatly assist businesses to manage anti-virus issues. Patch management was getting very difficult for PC users as the number and types of critical patches released by major vendors multiplied, but an appliance sitting on the network could do it from one central point, he said.

'The box can also see who joins my network and [authorise them] or secure a portion of my network or send them away to a website ... and so on. There's nothing on the market that can do this,' Wainstein said. 'You can put it between each file, or each network segment, or between each switch. You can quarantine non-compliant machines.'

The appliance had a Linux-hardened kernel developed by Trend Micro, he said.
However, Wainstein conceded that redundancy was an issue. Although the product was designed to bring itself back up quickly if power failed, a company might need more than one device to fully protect against the window of opportunity for attack that inevitably existed, Wainstein said.

Trend Micro was unlike other security vendors in that it had focused on the server and gateway approach rather than desktop defence from the start, he said. 'We have 735 percent benchmarking over anyone in our market and over 60 percent of the gateway market,' Wainstein said.

Phil Wurth and Louis Abdilla, sales and product managers respectively at specialist security reseller Content Security, said they had been impressed with Trend Micro's new box so far.

'This product is going to work. We think this is the next big thing in virus protection at the network layer. A number of our customers have expressed a lot of interest,' Wurth said.

Abdilla said many businesses had often found that the five percent of PCs – particularly notebooks and other mobile computing products – that were difficult to ensure conformed with one's network security practices tended to cause the biggest problems when it came to malware infections.

The best way to combat that was therefore an appliance that monitored threats and prevented outbreaks at the network layer, he said.

'It's all about management,' Abdilla said.

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