Shaping future trends

By Business & Finance
13 June 2014
Internet security stock pic

Trend Micro’s Norma O’Callaghan tells Niamh Mac Sweeney why innovation is at the heart of the security organisation’s operations in Ireland.

The entrepreneurial culture of the technology firm permeates every facet of Trend Micro, its people, its solutions and its success. Through its approach to innovation, the company is continuously first to market, and has driven growth, success and values that make it the global cloud security leader it is today.

Just a decade ago, Trend Micro established a base in Cork to support its EMEA operations. With more than 230 people now employed in Ireland, the current management team is both ambitious and driven to sustain further innovation and growth at the EMEA operations.

“Talent management and innovation is at the core of business operations at Trend Micro,” says Norma O’Callaghan, VP of Finance and Operations, EMEA.

“Being part of a Japanese firm is both refreshing and inspiring. It is less formal and structured than typical global corporations, enabling more creativity and innovation to thrive. Minimal management layers mean that everyone is closer to the customer, people are empowered to make decisions quicker and the feeling of being part of the ‘world’s largest start-up’ remains.

“When you ask ‘Trenders’ why they work here, they’ll tell you it’s the feeling that comes from working with a group of people who share common goals, are driven by a similar passion, and value the expertise of their peers. We all love the technology and the excitement of the very dynamic content and cyber security market. It makes working here interesting and fun.”

Long-term investment

The investment by Trend Micro in Ireland is significant and long-term, with all the back office and support activities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa now delivered through the Cork site.

Recent extensions in terms of both construction at the plant and resources deployment, including the development of  new teams in Cork focusing on new business sales, research in new technologies and a VMWare authorised training centre for key customers, ensure that the Ireland site is pivotal in global Trend operations. An extensive forward threat research team is managed from the Ireland site. This team of ‘ethical hackers’ and elite cyber-researchers identify what security products will need to look like three years from now by researching cybercriminal activity, malware, social networks and gaming as well as future technologies such as mobile OS, HTML5, NFC and the rise of MacOS. Trend Micro has been involved in several cybercriminal takedowns in recent years, working closely with the FBI, Interpol and An Garda Síochána  to find, track and trace these high risks to internet users.

Security predictions

In the latest threat research report from Trend Micro on security predictions for 2014 and beyond, it was cited that one major data breach will occur every month this year and advanced mobile banking and targeted attacks will accelerate. Critical infrastructure threats are also highlighted.

“We see the sophistication of threats expanding at a rapid pace, which will impact individuals, businesses and governments alike,” explains O’Callaghan. “From mobile banking vulnerabilities and targeted attacks, to growing privacy concerns and the potential of a major breach each month, 2014 promises to be a prolific year for cybercrime.

“Cybercriminals will use any device necessary and will seek out weak spots in software suites and mobile devices. Home networks, company databases and mobile devices should have the proper tools and protocols in place to decrease the likelihood of invasion. Our threat researchers are the best in the world at what they do, and Trend Micro security solutions are future proofed from the outset through the research teams activity.”

Internet safety

As well as protecting our data, Trend Micro have invested significantly in protecting children across the globe, through the Internet Safety for Kids programme.

“We are passionate about a safer world online, and this impacts young people very significantly,” O’Callaghan says. “Our Internet Safety for Kids programme is focused on education so that young people and their parents, teachers and guardians are aware of digital safety and online privacy, and so that they are not afraid of the internet, which as we know, offers huge potential for the youth.”

In Ireland, Trend Micro has reached more than 40,000 parents, teachers and young people nationwide, through the delivery of cybersafety training programmes and peer-led training delivery.

Working closely with Webwise, the Department of Education & Training, An Garda Siochana, Facebook, Twitter and a number of related online and national and regional youth groups, the dedicated team of over 50 trained Trend Micro volunteers, have created a successful model for digital safety, ‘Be Smart’.

The model is focused on raising awareness through education, parent, teacher and youth advocacy and is now being rolled out worldwide, as a result of the activity in Trend Micro’s Cork site.

“We recently joined forces with CoderDojo founder and entrepreneur James Whelton, as he is also keen to present the opportunities of the internet, while balancing this with the need for cybersafety and digital privacy,” O’ Callaghan says.

As well as the significant programme and team committed to internet safety for kids and families at Trend Micro, the company also champions an active CSR policy, which sees Irish ‘Trenders’ involved in rebuilding homes in the Philippines, as well as their ‘Give & Match’ programme which has benefited Irish charities, such as the Irish Kidney Association, Cork Simon and others each year.

James Whelton, founder, CoderDojo; Avril Ronan, Global programme manager for internet safety, Trend Micro; Sophie Halligan, Scoil Mhuire School at the launch of this year’s ‘What’s Your Story’ competition promoting internet safety.

James Whelton, founder, CoderDojo; Avril Ronan, Global programme manager for internet safety, Trend Micro; Sophie Halligan, Scoil Mhuire School at the launch of this year’s ‘What’s Your Story’ competition promoting internet safety.

Economic impact

O’Callaghan is a very active participant in a number of IDA-led national committees to attract more technology, ICT and shared services companies to Ireland, and the Cork region.

Working closely with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Cork Chamber and it@cork, in which she and the team are heavily involved, ensures that the region’s economy not only benefits directly from the impact of Trend Micro’s location in Ireland, but that the indirect benefits are also hugely positive and impactful.

“At a global level, the management team sees how successful the EMEA operations here are, and how they continue to be key to the overall success of Trend Micro internationally. It is thanks to our executive team and dedicated employees that we have successfully shaped a very bright future for Trend Micro in Ireland. Having just celebrated our first decade in Ireland last year, we are looking forward to the next 10 years, and the new and exciting challenges that face us globally in terms of cloud security and cybersafety.