Trend Micro turning Philippines lab into global hub

Antivirus company Trend Micro Inc. is grooming its Manila-based facility to be the global hub of its antivirus research and support services.

This year, the company is set to double its existing headcount and pour in fresh capital amounting to US$20 million. This is in line with the company’s preparations to meet the growing requirements of its customers worldwide in its TrendLabs facility located at Eastwood.

Trend Micro’s local office houses both the company’s global anti-virus research facility referred to as the Global Outbreak Center and its Product Support Services teams. At present, TrendLabs employs more than 350 engineers — half of whom are doing research, while the other half are dedicated to product support.

“We are putting more focus in the Philippines as we begin to channel more ‘activities’ into our operations in the country,” Oscar Chang, Trend Micro executive vice president for global security response, said.

The company’s decision to locate its Global Outbreak Center — a 20-million peso (US$360,000) investment — in the country is already a testimonial of Trend Micro’s commitment to grow in the Philippines, he added.

As always, it was the Philippines’ pool of highly-trained engineers, its numerous universities that can support growth and expansion, and the Filipinos’ customer-oriented quality that attracted Trend Micro to locate its global research and support facility in the country.

Apart from extending local support, TrendLabs’ Product Support Services teams provide level-two and level-three technical assistance to the company’s customers in the Asia-Pacific, United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa. As the expansion program progresses, TrendLabs will begin servicing all customer support requirements — from the most basic query to the most complicated concerns — from its Manila facility.

“At the moment, we are still doing in-country support, where we have designated product support teams in every territory where Trend Micro operates. But as we finish the expansion in Manila, we will have to move all support services here,” Claudia Wu, Trend Micro human resources manager, told Computerworld Philippines.

This is precisely the reason why we’re doing massive recruitment at the moment,” she pointed out. From the 150 support engineers at present, Trend Micro is set to grow its support team to 200 by year-end. The same goes for its antivirus department.

Wu admitted that her department’s biggest challenge is to be able to fill all these requirements. She noted that only eight per cent of all the applicants who go through the screening process are actually hired.

“To increase our chances of getting more qualified applicants, we have forged alliances with major universities by way of offering scholarship programs, on-the-job training programs, and internships,” she disclosed.

Trend Micro employs only engineers even for non-research work. Wu said it takes less time to train engineers on their products, which are mostly technical. Engineers have proven to be more effective as product support agents as well, she added.

“Since we house highly qualified support teams here in Manila, we focus on providing higher-level technical support. Only when concerns are not readily solved by the local support agent that customer calls or e-mails are forwarded to us,” Jamz Yaneza, senior anti-virus consultant, said.

Technical support is not the only customer need Trend Micro is focusing on. In its antivirus lab, its engineers are constantly on the watch for new worms and Trojans attempting to break into its customers’ network.

“Our antivirus engineers are on stand-by 24×7 to ensure that we can deliver within our committed 45-minute response time in case of a virus outbreak,” Yaneza said.

Trendlabs’ Outbreak Center detects eight to ten new viruses a day. The company boasts of the fastest response time among antivirus vendors. According to a Trend Micro statistic, about 96 per cent of all reported virus cases are resolved in one hour.