Trend Micro is marking its 35th year in business. The company was founded in Los Angeles in 1988, before becoming Trend Micro Devices and establishing its global headquarters in Tokyo in 1992. Many companies have come and gone in the worlds of technology and cybersecurity over the past three and a half decades, but Trend Micro continues to achieve success and stay focused on its mission.

Last Man Standing

I was very interested in talking to Trend Micro and writing this story because it is relevant to my own history and origin story in cybersecurity. While I was at EDS, I was part of a team that launched a managed antivirus program. We were effectively doing managed services and offering endpoint security-as-a-service before those things were cool. We dealt with four enterprise antivirus solutions depending on what the customer had deployed in their environment: Symantec, McAfee, Computer Associates (CA), and Trend Micro.

Trend Micro was actually my favorite of the four for a variety of reasons, but if you had asked me in 2005 which of those four companies would be the leader 20 years later, I probably would have bet on McAfee. Fast forward to 2023, and Symantec, McAfee, and CA have all been acquired (multiple times in the case of McAfee) and are distant echoes of their former selves. They still exist, but they are by no means dominant. Meanwhile, Trend Micro is chugging along as a $2 billion company.

Humble Giant

I spoke with Kevin Simzer, Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Trend Micro, about the auspicious anniversary and Trend Micro’s vision and mission. Simzer called Trend Micro a humble giant. “We are this hidden gem that’s been tirelessly working away—sticking to our strategy, our playbooks. We focus completely on cybersecurity. That’s all we do. We didn’t get distracted with anything else.”

He shared that Trend Micro is focused on three big stakeholders: customers, employees, and shareholders. The key to Trend Micro’s success lies in how those stakeholders stack up and that by focusing on the right things, the rest takes care of itself.

Simzer explained, “We’ve tried to stay really, really focused in on threat actors, which are disrupting customers. And we feel like if we do that right, the rest can unfold naturally. We never felt or had the desire to actually grow inorganically and do crazy things in order to appease shareholders. That’s not what we’re all about. We’ve kind of assembled, we believe, a sustainable—“sustainable” being the key word—superior performing business.”


Win-Win-Win Partnership

The focus on customers also bleeds over into how Trend Micro engages with its broader partner community. The company doesn’t just look for ways to make money, or ways to generate revenue for the partner. They explore ways to help the customer that result in a win-win-win for the customer, the partner, and Trend Micro.

I had a chance to talk with Chris Grusz, General Manager of Worldwide ISV Alliances and Marketplace at AWS, about the relationship with Trend Micro. He told me that Trend Micro stands out among the thousands of ISPs he works with because they really lean in with AWS from an innovation perspective. He told me that most of the vendors are happy to adopt AWS features, but Trend Micro is unique in being very prescriptive and collaborative about it. Trend Micro provides feedback and engages in discussions to enable AWS and Trend Micro together to deliver a better experience for customers.

That collaborative approach and the focus on win-win-win solutions is why Trend Micro was recently honored by AWS at the AWS Re:Invent conference as the first ever AWS Marketplace Partner of the Year.

Fostering a Strong Company Culture

Trend Micro has an exceptional company culture and above-average employee retention and loyalty. Lots of companies talk about building an environment where employees feel like family, but at Trend Micro it seems that it is more than just an HR marketing tagline.

Rather than fighting with everyone in some sort of bidding war for cybersecurity talent in a world where the focus for years has been on a growing shortage of skilled workers, Trend Micro has established a system for building talent from within. They have a 2-year program individuals can enter with zero years of professional cybersecurity experience. They spend 6 months in a classroom environment, and then 18 months rotating through different roles within Trend Micro to gain experience across a range of interests so they can determine what works best for the individual.

The net result is that Trend Micro builds a workforce that is invested in the company culture. The people who work at Trend Micro are there because they want to be there—not just because Trend Micro is a stop or stepping stone before their next career move.

The Next 35 Years

It is impressive for any company to last 35 years. It is a remarkable feat in the world of technology and cybersecurity. Trend Micro exists in a very competitive market where it is very easy to stumble or fizzle out, and yet, here we are.

I look forward to seeing what Trend Micro can accomplish in the next 35 years.


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