Security vendor, Trend Micro, will take the wrappers off its new Affinity channel partner program next week on the back a 20 per cent headcount increase across the entire business. The new program was soft launched at the beginning of the year to gauge partner feedback, but the Australia and New Zealand extension of its global partner program will be formally released next week at a gathering of senior channel executives in the Hunter Valley. The program will involve three membership levels – Affinity, AffinityPLUS and AffinityONE – each based on status and revenue patterns, while not-for-resale and market development fund programs have been remodelled. “We’ve got a rebate structure which includes lead referral rebates, product push rebates, volume rebates and a raft of incentives for our partners. We’ve got very generous margins for partners structured according to status, and we’ve streamlined the margin structure from last year as well,” says A/NZ key partner manager Adam Biviano. “The program is designed to attack all angles of our partners, right from sales and marketing down to technical.” The company has added personnel to all business sections including major accounts, enterprise, SMB, consumer, channel management, marketing and technical services. Dedicated channel account managers for all global system integration channels and key channel partners have been added, to give Trend Micro’s core group of 40-50 partners more face-to-face interaction with the vendor. A new channel marketing manager is on-board, and a channel training specialist will provide educational sessions to partners. Service engineers have been added in the majority of locations nationally to increase technical support for customers. There's also dedicated phone support for more than 2000 small business resellers. Biviano says the demand for higher staff numbers and increased support services came from the increasing emergence of Web-based threats and the subsequent popularity of Trend Micro’s Smart Protection Network initiative. “We’ve been talking about the Web-based threat vector for quite some time. Back in 2006 we identified the fact that this was going to get worse,” Biviano says.