The service is aimed at companies with up to 100 employees, though Trend Micro is casting a particular net for mobile and virtual businesses spread across physical locations. Like some other file sharing and backup vendors, Trend Micro will launch the service with native iOS and Android applications for tablet and smartphone users, as well as an agnostic mobile Web interface optimized for both form factors.
"Mobility is a huge part of it," said Brian Katzen, senior global product manager at Trend Micro, in an interview. "It's about making sure your stuff is available to you anytime, anywhere. That means not only though your PC, but your tablet and your iPhone or Android device."
While backup is a fairly straightforward concept among most users, Katzen said that the term "sync" can be hazier. In the case of SafeSync, it means that files created or modified on a user's laptop, for example, are automatically backed up in Trend Micro's data center and shared across all of the user's other devices. Files are scanned for malware on Trend Micro's side before being made available to other users and devices. The Web-based software also includes shared workspaces for collaboration among virtual teams.
Katzen said that SafeSync is intended to replace or complement file servers, network attached storage devices, FTP, VPN, and other backup and file sharing technologies common inside smaller business.
Pricing starts at $90 per user for 50 GB of storage; businesses with between 51 and 100 users will pay about $75 for 50 GB apiece. In fact, "users" is a bit of misnomer--since Trend Micro pools all of the bandwidth purchased by a single business customer, you're really buying bandwidth rather than individual user licenses. For example, a 50-person firm that wanted 4,000 GB of storage would simply purchase 80 "users" and be able to share the storage across the organization. Individual employees are not actually limited to 50 GB apiece, so some could be heavier users than others.
SafeSync for Business marks Trend Micro's first foray into file sharing and backup tailored for businesses. The security vendor launched a consumer version of SafeSync after acquiring online storage vendor Humyo last year. Katzen said that Trend Micro may offer a similar service for midsize companies in the future, but there's nothing definitive on the product roadmap.
Trend Micro's entry expands a growing field of online storage vendors competing for small business customers. Trend Micro's press kit lists seven direct competitors, such as Dropbox, ShareFile, and Carbonite; Katzen said SugarSync is the most comparable competitor to SafeSync for Business in terms of features, but that Trend Micro will beat them in the capacity-to-cost ratio.
Katzen said he believes Trend Micro's brand equity and track record will set it apart from the online storage crowd. "Who knows how long they may be around," Katzen said, speaking of some of SafeSync's venture-backed competitors. While the online storage market seems unlikely to crumble overnight, the competitive landscape could certainly change.
"We're not going anywhere. I don't think Dropbox is going anywhere necessarily, but they could get gobbled up by Microsoft and then who knows what happens? They just paid $8.5 billion for Skype, so there's the end of Skype and I use it all the time."