Cloud computing is the way forward for SMBs: Trend Micro

Cloud computing is the way forward for SMBs: Trend Micro

Security vendor holds round table to discuss the cloud during its Cloud Solutions for SMEs reseller event

George Alexandridis, Trend Micro Product Specialist

George Alexandridis, Trend Micro Product Specialist

The message to big and small business is simple: Get on the Cloud, it's the way of the future.

That is the message Trend Micro and key industry commentators were pushing at a special round table that was part of the company's recent Cloud Solutions for SMEs reseller event in Sydney

Rob Livingstone Advisory principal, Rob Livingstone, began his journey into the world of cloud computing about six years ago when he was working at Ricoh and the vendor had an aging infrastructure that needed upgrading.

“The strategy was to ‘rip and replace,’ basically completely gut and replace everything bar one major ERP server,” Livingstone said.

“So we were very early adopters of virtualisation technologies and put in a highly virtualised environment with a highly scalable infrastructure.”

Livingstone also highlighted that Ricoh had a private cloud well before it was called a private cloud, and the company was able to use that technology and scale up in recent years to take on all Ricoh dealers, resulting in a two and a half fold increase in the user base with marginal increase in cost.

“So at that stage we also started to integrate public cloud to the infrastructure,” he said.

When Livingstone decided to leave Ricoh, he began speaking with peers in the industry and found that the general knowledge about cloud computing was quite low. It was the trigger for him to write a book about the technology and the business, Navigating through the Cloud – A plain English guide to surviving the risks, costs and governance pitfalls of Cloud computing.

Connection Research founder and research director, Graeme Philipson, reiterated a point from his earlier speech that most people are already using the Cloud in one form or another.

“Cloud computing is not a new concept, technology or product, it’s simply the culmination of a dozen trends such as growth of bandwidth and mobility to form this thing called Cloud computing,” he said.

“It’s not a trend or a fad, it’s a whole new phase based on all this background.”

Responsible for the relationship between Trend Micro and its key vendor alliances, the company's key alliance partner manager, Adam Biviano, has seen a shift in the vendors he deals. They are now starting to become cloud vendors.

“We’ve had a strong relationship with VMware and its cloud focus is obvious, but also now coming into the fold is Amazon with its Web services as they ramp it up in this part of the world,” he said.

“Our product alignment is all about heading towards the Cloud, so moving forward I can certainly see the relationships I manage will be more and more Cloud focused.”

Biviano sees that being echoed by just about every vendor he deals with that has a strong Cloud strategy, whether it’s from the point of view of providing Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) products or in the case of “the outsources, where they are developing private and public cloud infrastructures and offerings,” he said.

Trend Micro Asia-Pacific product marketing manager, Tina Su, found that five or six years ago it was just the big enterprises that were discussing the Cloud concept, but now even SMBs want to be a part of it.

“Small businesses and consumers alike are looking at the cloud, what is it, and how it’s going to benefit them,” Su said.

The area Su is interested in focusing on from a marketing perspective is to change from simply “taking to customers about technology to translating the benefits, the pros and cons, in their context,” she said.

Trend Micro product specialist, George Alexandridis, has also seen some interesting trends in the channel in the last couple of months, with “a lot of people turning to the cloud in a positive way and I’ve been trying to train up our partners to use our products in that space,” he said.

Trend Micro national business development manager of small business, Malcolm Pooley, said the high end of the vendor’s partners understood that “the train has left the station” and they were moving towards Cloud technology, skilling up and doing all the right things to be in the right space.

“Small business partners that are sub-25 seats have a degree of fear and trepidation about the move to the Cloud, because they are concerned about how their traditional role as a trusted advisor to their clients is going to be affected by this change and they fear a potential loss of control, as well as an erosion of their traditional role and responsibilities in the way they service their customers,” Pooley said.

“So in that respect, they need more education and need to be reassured on how their role will change in the new order.”

For Trend Micro small business general manager, Adrian Burley, it’s all about trying to make the transition from a traditional software on-premise model to a Cloud-based computing one, which is increasingly gaining importance.

“What we need to do as a security provider is to be relevant in that space,” Burley said.

What Trend Micro marketing director, Graeme Wood, has been trying to do is to use a lot of the things he’s learned from enterprise clients to translate that down to the small business sphere.

“Most innovative ideas come out of pilots by big organisations that can afford to pilot them, and they will learn what’s good, bad or different,” Wood said.

“What we have to then is to try and bring it to small businesses.”

Wood has also been trying to help Trend Micro’s resellers understand their role of simply licensing or selling to their customers is slowly changing and they need to take on more of a consultancy role.

“I think some of our small business resellers are slowly moving from only going in and talking technology to actually spending some time with the clients they have, understanding their business and recommending technologies that supports their businesses,” he said.

“That’s an interesting shift, because most of our resellers are traditionally very technology focused.”

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