Friday, January 28, 2011

an interesting technical support communication
Or lack of

Robin's commentary --

for years I've been very happy with trend micro antivirus software. In fact, I thought that it works so well that even when there was an issue, trend micro automatically took care of it.

I have tested several different antivirus products in the past and also used one product to test against another, and in my opinion trend micro always came out on top.

I know some people it's like Ford or Chevy, your preference. However, if you are uncertain whether or not your antivirus product is working? You can use to test virus at Eicar.org

okay... it was time to renew my trend micro antivirus subscription and to update my trend micro Internet security 2010 to the new version that's being offered which is

TITANIUM INTERNET SECURITY [pronounced loudly with a booming echo in the background]

the first thing I noticed about this new product is the lack of configuration settings or options that are available to the user.

Little things like being able to see the other computers on your network or being able to choose the website should you wish to block or allow. Simple things like letting the computer know when is a more appropriate time to do the scanning.

As I search the help files trying to find some information on how to configure things, frustrated I sent an e-mail to (gag) tech support.

My letter to Tech support: (paraphrased)

Dear Tech support... I just installed the new version of trend micro antivirus software and noticed that a lot of options are missing... (summarized above) and I also noticed that when I installed the new software I got numerous warnings that I needed to upgrade my Internet explorer [which I don't use] or the program may not install properly.

The configurations that are available do not match or closely to what your help documents are stating that I should have and I'm wondering if those options are no longer available or did I have a corrupted download?

here is the response to my first e-mail...

Dear Robin,

This is Larry from Trend Micro Consumer Support.


I have reviewed your case and I understand that you are checking for the
Home Network mapping of your Titanium Internet Security after upgrading from
Trend Micro Internet Security 2010.

In line with your concern, Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security uses cloud
technology to automatically stop viruses and spyware before they reach your
computer, so it won t slow you down. It s a whole new way to protect your PC
from Internet threats.

You may check the link below for the new features of Trend Micro Titanium
Maximum Security.
the link took me directly back to the same help files that I was looking at in the first place.


Thank you Larry... to me it looks like I got an automated response which of course NEVER addresses the issue that you're asking about.

So I responded with this letter...

I am assuming that this e-mail will get through.

first of all, you did not address my question. If this was an automated
response to my question, please don t waste my time.

Secondly, as pointed out to my original question, the features or controls
that you are referring to were not included in my installation. according to
the help files, there should be a "my network" feature on the same page as the
"firewall booster". No such option exists, or a least in my installation.

In fact, neither do the other options that you have listed in the link that
you referred me to. The only controls that are available are the scan &
parental
controls.

While the other issues such as "file erase" and other fancy features are all
good and well, basically all I want from the product is just a protected
computer.

I have checked out the website (as per the link below) and I agree with
others in the support chat room who have already tried the titanium product and
agree with me that they are going to stick with the trend micro Internet security
2010 for the reasons I have listed my previous e-mail and above.

Third, although everybody thinks that the "cloud technology" is such a
wonderful thing, AGAIN as I pointed out in my original question, is a matter of
control over my own system which the titanium version does not offer.


Okay...well as it turns out, Larry is actually a real person... I think.


Dear Robin,

It’s me again, Larry your Technical Friend from Trend Micro Consumer Support.

I understand your frustrations and we are very sorry to hear about the problem you experienced with our product.

We do apologize for the inconvenience that you have encountered and we are a live person answering your emails.

With regard to your concern, the reason that your Titanium Internet Security no longer has the “My Network” feature is that your Titanium Internet Security no longer has the feature of a firewall which is replaced by “Firewall booster” which only boosts up the firewall that you are currently using.

However, we could still use your Trend Micro Internet Security on your computer as a protection for your computer.

Best Regards,

Larry


Huh???

okay am I totally daft or does Larry just don't get it?

So at this point, feeling very disappointed with technical support and the fact that I am paying for this product, I decided to call trend micro and hopefully talk to a supervisor about the changes in the program and the fact that I also feel like Larry is totally clueless and treating me like an idiot.

The supervisor basically said that this is the way the new product is, if you don't like it you can go back to the trend micro antivirus 2010 until it expires two years down the road.

He explained to me that the new TITANIUM version uses CLOUD technology, which means that when you surf the Internet that instead the Internet webpage coming directly to your computer first, it will come to our servers instead and then to your computer.

WHAT???

CLOUD TECHNOLOGY is supposed to be the "all impressive buzzword" similar to TRANSPARENCY is with the government. But think about what cloud technology actually is for a moment and how it works.

Currently when you visit a website, the site downloads files into your computer in which your computer relies on the antivirus software that you have currently running on your computer.
Under CLOUD technology, everywhere you go and everything you do will be going through SOMEONE ELSE'S servers first and then rerouted back to you.

The advantage to the cloud technology is that the viruses hit their servers and everything is current and updated on their end.

the disadvantage is a privacy issue as cloud technology is basically a central hub that everything goes through on somebody else's servers and we are entrusting them to ensure our privacy. Whether it is surfing habits or a shared document or calendar, you really don't know who has access to it.

Now I could be wrong... but this is pretty much the way the supervisor explained that antivirus cloud technology works.

Now to the issue of having some type of configuration and options like for example, sometimes trend micro will block a website stating that it has been tagged as being a "dangerous site."

Using Internet security 2010, I have the option of "allowing" that site where as under the "cloud technology" I do not.

Trend micro supervisor: "... you can submit a request to unblock the site..."

So without hesitation... I uninstalled the new version of "TREND MICRO TITANIUM INTERNET SECURITY" and reinstalled the good old reliable 2010 version [which by the way I lost all of my settings] and feeling very disappointed that a company that I have trusted for years has copped this type of attitude.

8 Comments:

Blogger OregonGuy said...

Improving our product, whether you like it or not.

Hella business model.
.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

their support or more precisely their nonsupport I think is going to cost them accounts.

But then again maybe I was asking for too much from the support person such as an education level higher than third grade.

Where is a fifth grader when you need one? ~Jeff Foxworthy

6:11 AM  
Blogger MAX Redline said...

Amazing. Personally, I've never been all that impressed with Trend Micro; your experience simply reinforces that view.

As well, the whole "cloud computing" thing leaves me completely underwhelmed. Why not just go all the way back to the days before personal systems, when everything was "dumb terminals" connected to mainframes? It's the same paradigm.

I simply refuse to buy into that model. I'm assuming that you're running something like Win XP on your main system - just because that's sort of the mainstream default - in which case I'd suggest using something like AVG rather than Trend. For one thing, AVG is free, and at least equal to Trend.

It does have an annoying tendency to update its signature file database at inconvenient times, but that can be circumvented fairly easily.

AVG works well on Win XP and Vista systems. Two of my systems run Linux, but I've not yet seen a need to explore AV solutions for them

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Robin,
I have been out of technical support for over a year now and it's good to see things haven't changed that much. I installed AVG on a computer and it worked OK, however I still prefer Sickmantic products. Seems to me we have had this discussion more than once. :)

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