Trend turns to channel to sell SaaS

Trend Micro has rolled out a channel programme for partners to “aggressively” sell a dedicated set of hosted security solutions in the Middle East

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  April 9, 2009

Trend Micro has rolled out a channel programme for partners to “aggressively” sell a dedicated set of hosted security solutions in the Middle East.

The ‘Hosted Security for the Channel’ programme is designed to help VARs make money from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), an increasingly important market for software providers as customers begin to shift away from on-premise offerings.

The programme reflects Trend Micro’s growing portfolio of hosted solutions, which now includes remote endpoint, e-mail and website security products for business users.

“We are moving more into hosted services as that gives a better security solution to the customer in certain areas, particularly messaging security, because we have got to address the attacks at source, which is in the cloud ,” explained Ian Cochrane, Middle East marketing manager at Trend Micro. “We are developing those solutions to be sold and managed by our channel partners — and that is very important because we are a 100% channel-focused vendor.”

Partners that join the programme can expect to receive lead generation opportunities, improved renewal management and free hosted security sales and product training.

Trend also insists resellers will be able to make attractive margins from its hosted products although it declined to specify exact numbers due to the tiered nature of its channel structure and the fact that VARs are managed by distribution partners.

Analysts predict SaaS will gather momentum in the coming years as customers take advantage of the lower maintenance requirements and zero hardware costs it is reputed to offer. IDC expects the market to expand by more than 40% annually during the next five years.

One concern that resellers have had over SaaS up to now is that the vendor hosts the service itself and only brings them in for initial customer contact. Cochrane acknowledges that is a valid perception of some vendors, but denies Trend’s hosted solutions will leave partners on the sidelines.

“We are delivering the solutions and asking our partners to become as involved with them as much as those solutions allow,” stressed Cochrane. “For example, there will shortly be a release of our Worry-Free business security solution where partners can manage their customers’ security environment remotely and in detail. We are giving them the management tools and infrastructure to manage their customers’ sites from a remote perspective."

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