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Trend Micro lays down bread for humyo cloud service

Japanese sec firm likes taste of UK hosting startup

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Trend Micro has bought UK-based consumer and micro business cloud storage service provider humyo, with the target's file synchronisation technology apparently the cherry on the cake.

This technology syncs files between a users' connected devices and humyo's cloud vault, meaning the humyo cloud is like Dropbox with added synchronisation.

Trend, headquartered in Tokyo and with a base in Cupertino, SA, is an anti-virus and content security company, being number three behind Symantec and McAfee, and reckons its acquisition will enable it to expand its security offering to consumers and small businesses by selling them secure backup, recovery and constant access to their data.

Eva Chen, Trend's CEO, said: "Their online storage - basically a cloud technology - fits into our strategy of providing security from and for the cloud."

She also said: "humyo's superior data synchronisation technology - which allows multiple devices including PCs, Macs and smartphones, to automatically backup to a common folder in the cloud so that consumer users can easily access their data from whatever device they have in hand - is a clear differentiator."

humyo founder and CEO Dan Conlon believes that the cloud will become the primary place to store data with local copies being backups of the cloud or caches. Backing up to the cloud will become less and less popular because the cloud will become the primary data source. This implies that Mozy, Carbonite, Spare Backup and other cloud backup service providers will have to, as it were, reverse their offerings' focus to delivering data to customers, not backing it up.

Leeds-based humyo's customers are in the UK and mainland Europe. Carol Carpenter, Trend's general manager for consumer and small business products, said: "The humyo products and services will be immediately expanded by Trend Micro to other global markets for both consumers and small business."

humyo - the leading lower case "h" is deliberate - was founded by Conlon and chairman Peter Dubens in January, 2007, after Conlon sold a previous Internet hosting company, DonHost, to Pipex in a £5.9m deal in September 2004. Conlon lasted two years as MD of Pipex Hosting before leaving, and subsequently founding humyo. Investors ploughed £790,000 into humyo in January, 2009, to fund expansion in the UK and Germany. A few days ago the company announced a $1.15m investment from other investors to fund expansion from its current operations in the UK and Germany.

At that time humyo claimed 300,000-plus customers; it now says it has some 600,000. Some 70 per cent of humyo's customers are consumers, with the rest very small businesses with up to 40 seats and many having less than 10. There is a small channel with most sales being direct but Trend's ownership may well change that, as Trend has a quite substantial channel.

In a prepared statement in the acquisition announcement Conlon said: "The growth in mobile devices, iPad and Internet-enabled televisions means people want access to what they want, when they want it, and on whatever device they have with them. Online storage with synchronisation makes that happen. Google and Microsoft are behind the curve on this and by teaming with Trend Micro … we'll push the boundaries even further to make Trend Micro online storage the global choice."

This implies Conlon and the humyo people are staying with the company inside Trend Micro. Colin Richardson, a humyo spokesperson, said: "Speaking for the humyo team, we're extremely excited to be joining Trend Micro, and can't wait to build even further on the success we've already experienced. Our developers are struggling to contain their excitement at all the new developments and opportunities which will come from this!"

humyo's backers are probably struggling to contain their excitement at Conlon successfully selling a second company. The price was not revealed but we can guesstimate something between ten and fifteen million pounds. They are now looking well set for whatever tax rises and cuts the UK government is about to dish out. Nice timing Dan. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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