The security vendor is to store pattern files in its network, rather than pushing all of them out to client devices.
It hopes the shift in architecture will help to speed its reaction to zero-day threats and improve the performance of end users' PCs.
Its new cloud architecture, called Smart Protection Network, works in the following way. When a client device receives an email or other file or requests a web page, the software sitting on the client pings Trend Micro's servers to check if the file is genuine.
If it is not, the email or file is deleted or quarantined, or in the case of a web page, will become unavailable.
The servers contain three separate databases, handling email, web and file threat data.
Trend Micro has been developing its new architecture since 2005 under the stewardship of chief technology officer Raimund Genes.
"After three years of diligent work by Raimund and his team, we have a chance to say we have a solution to fight back against the hackers," Eva Chen, Trend's chief executive officer, said today. "We are the first to come up with this cloud architecture."
Chen argues that the client software will shrink in size by 70% with the new architecture, and that Trend's cloud databases will be updated within 15-30 minutes of new malware being identified.
The architecture still requires the client to store a certain amount of information, so that only 2 percent of emails or web pages need to be checked with the cloud, Chen said.
The technology is still being finalised, and availability is slated for the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be on a monthly subscription basis, with exact prices yet to be confirmed.
The initial offering will be aimed at larger businesses, but may be released to smaller firms in due course. Trend made a separate announcement of a major product upgrade for SMEs earlier this month.
Trend today also unveiled an offering to help businesses tackle internal threats plus new software virtual appliances and an email encryption portfolio.