Since 1985, Micro Consultants, located in Norcross, GA, has been providing IT solutions and support to small and medium businesses in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The company has a strong reputation among CAD design and architecture firms who need white box computers built to work perfectly with Autodesk products. “A lot of our customers praise the computers we build for them,” said Mike Cooper, network engineer for Micro Consultants.
Micro Consultants serves clients in multiple industries, ranging from small operations to offices with 80 to 100 desktops. The company keeps a large inventory of computer parts and can usually take apart a computer and deliver it back to a customer within 24 hours. Besides building computers, the company monitors servers and backups. Cooper’s job extends to troubleshooting email issues, including problems with Microsoft® Exchange. He also handles virtualization and sets up cloud services such as Office 365TM and Google Apps™.
Like most businesses, Micro Consultants’ customers are experiencing more spam email. Sometimes that spam reaches staggering proportions, like one customer who was receiving hundreds of spam emails a day. Heavy spam loads can slow down computers and seriously impact productivity. They can also put systems at risk for viruses and malware, especially when attachments are downloaded.
About four virus attacks were hitting their customers each week. These customers were not only complaining about the viruses and malware, they needed Micro Consultants to clean out their computers quickly and get them back into production. Cooper sought a better way to satisfy customer needs and streamline email management.
When Cooper joined Micro Consultants two years ago, he brought with him an appreciation of Trend Micro™ Worry-Free™ Business Security, and an interest in the added protection offered by Trend Micro Hosted Email Security (HES). He convinced management to join the Trend Micro managed service provider (MSP) partner program as a way to increase customer satisfaction, add revenue, and solve the problems customers were having with spam, viruses, and malware.
The MSP partner program streamlines time-consuming licensing and updating processes for Micro Consultants. Rather than arranging with the customer to install new keys, Cooper can provision user licenses and remotely install agents from Trend Micro’s partner portal. Still other timesavers are automatic updates and patches, which Trend Micro installs 24X7 on their hosted products. “I don’t have to install updates for HES because Worry-Free Advanced is continually updating itself. I just go to my management console and get a report,” said Cooper.
By switching to Trend Micro, Cooper saw an opportunity to add revenue by using Trend Micro Remote Manager to monitor the networks of customers with large desktop deployments. “It is a great selling point to tell customers that you will be able to keep them informed and take out a virus infection before they even know they are infected,” said Cooper. “If HES is detecting multiple viruses, we know we have a reason for concern,” he added.
Since HES is a hosted solution, Micro Consultants can block emails in the cloud before they reach customer machines and scan an Exchange server for viruses. HES stops viruses attacking from the outside, while Worry-Free Advanced offers protection in the event of an inside attack, such as a virus released from a personal email account that goes on to threaten Microsoft® Outlook® or Exchange.
Cooper’s first Worry-Free Advanced installation was for one of Micro Consultants’ bigger customers. At the same time, he decided to replace the customer’s open source solution with HES to help with the server load. “The customer was very happy with the solution, because they were getting about half the spam they used to get,” said Cooper.
Cooper relies on a reporting tool, accessible from either HES or Worry-Free Advanced, to find out how many viruses Trend Micro has detected. “I can upload an email with a virus to Trend Micro’s FTP site, and they will write new definitions quickly so our other customers aren’t affected by the virus,” said Cooper. He can also use the tool to view the last 13 days of emails, which makes it easy to answer customer questions and determine if a missing email was blacklisted, deleted or quarantined.
HES offers flexibility to Micro Consultants’ customers. Some elect to automatically delete spam; others use the popular quarantine feature. Trend Micro quarantined as many as 500 messages a week for one customer. To release those messages, the customer simply opened his daily quarantine report and logged into the portal.
Still another customer’s ASSP (Antispam SMTP Proxy) server routinely overloaded because it was under attack. To keep the server running effectively, the customer only used HES to hold emails and protect them from attack. The result was a 40% reduction in the server load.
John F. Guest,
Micro Consultants enjoys a stellar reputation with customers, thanks in part to the combined capability of Worry-Free Advanced and HES to dramatically reduce spam, viruses, and malware originating in email. “Our customers were experiencing about four virus infections a week before we switched to Trend Micro. Now we only get about five infections a year, and we never have to clean out our customers’ computers,” said Cooper. “We can use the time to sell more products and services.”
HES is an effective solution for blocking spam and simplifying spam management. “One of our customers used to receive 230 spam messages a day. With HES quarantine blocking, he’s down to 30 spam messages a day,” said Cooper. Many customers report spam reductions between 50 and 80%.
Micro Consultants not only trusts Trend Micro to deliver email protection, it trusts Trend Micro to improve its offerings based on feedback from the field. When a customer couldn’t get the answers it needed from HES, Micro Consultants suggested troubleshooting improvements. “Trend Micro listened to us and released some new features based on our feedback. Now, we can keep more than seven days of logs and conduct wildcard searches,” said Cooper. “With HES, our customers work more efficiently, because they don’t have to try to figure out why their PCs are running slowly.”
Micro Consultants expects to continue its relationship with Trend Micro and add HES to still more Worry-Free Business Security installations. The company sees value in HES for protecting Microsoft Office 365 and will work with Trend Micro on steps that could improve sales on that front. They also foresee a need for Trend Micro in their own operations. “We’re hoping to offer more cloud services, where we host the cloud. We would use Trend Micro for protection on our back end,” said Cooper.