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Intel Security Focus 16: Spotlight On Threat Defense, Tech Partnerships

Intel Security

Lorna GareyINTEL SECURITY FOCUS 16 — Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security Group, kicked off Day 1 of Intel Security’s Focus 16 conference, which brought together 3,500 customers, partners and employees at the Aria in Las Vegas. Young will be the CEO of McAfee when Intel Security completes its spinoff from parent Intel. That $4.2 billion separation, expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, will make McAfee an independent company; Intel will maintain a 49 percent share, with the remaining 51 percent owned by private equity group TPG.

Intel acquired McAfee for $7.68 billion in 2010 to beef up its security software and services and to build better security into its hardware.

The company will also officially revert to the McAfee brand, which it never completely shed. That move is popular with partner attendees we spoke with, who say the Intel Security name created some confusion, especially with global customers. Attendees also said that it’s been “business as usual” since the spinoff announcement.

Brian Dye, corporate VP of global products, told Channel Partners that the pending spin off will benefit partners.

“The only impact will be acceleration,” said Dye. “We will hold a very high R&D investment level.”{ad}

The theme of the Focus 16 conference is “The Second Economy,” based on a book authored by Intel Security CTO Steve Grobman and VP of marketing and communications Allison Cerra. The concept is that the physical dollars-and-cents economy now depends on a connected network of vulnerable digital systems that constitute a “second economy.”

Young said the upshot is a world where more than money is at stake, and where the private and public sectors must work together.

“In 2011, 2012 it was all about APTs,” said Young. “Fast forward to today: We’re still talking APT but there’s a new threat — ransomware is up 127 percent this year.”

Young said that by the April 2017 spinoff, McAfee will be one of largest pure-play security companies, and he’s hoping customers and partners will take a fresh look.

“I talk to my team all the time about being a new McAfee,” said Young. “Our goal to be your No. 1 security partner doesn’t change.”

He threw out some stats: The company will employ 7,500 cybersecurity professionals, including 3,000 engineers – up 21 percent – and hundreds of threat researchers. It will spend $500 million in R&D and triple its investment in UX. Young says McAfee and its 10,000 channel and 125 Security Innovation Alliance (SIA) partners will serve 90 percent of the Fortune 100 and 62 percent of the global 2000. Many of those partners were in attendance on a packed expo floor anchored by Atos and Optive. The company holds more than 800 patents. 

Still, it faces stiff competition from …

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… traditional endpoint competitors such as Symantec and Kaspersky, as well as Cisco and a huge ecosystem of startups on the network and cloud side. What’s on offer to help its partners win in the market?

To start, 18 product and partner innovations. The company on Wednesday announced 10 products around its threat defense life cycle – protect, detect, correct – and will roll out alliance partner news Thursday, as well as expand on the open DXL platform.

Young says his team is focused on bridging the gap between the desire of business users to have admin rights and the need for least-privilege control.{ad}

“We have a cloud-first mentality,” said Young. “We have 125 alliance partners now; almost all have integrated with EPO. More are integrating with open DXL. There [are] no more excuses.”

As to the challenge of partners finding skilled security talent, he cites automation and machine learning.

“We’re going to be relentless in equipping you with better analytics,” he said, so human intelligence can focus on finding the needles in haystacks.

McAfee execs outlined a unified architecture umbrella with dynamic endpoint, pervasive data protection, data center and cloud defense, and intelligent security operations components.

A complete rundown of Wednesday’s product announcements is here. For partners, most we spoke with were interested in dynamic endpoint protection via McAfee Endpoint Security 10.5 and McAfee Active Response 2.0. That service is the bread and butter for many McAfee partners. High points include:

  • Dynamic application containment to spot what execs call “patient zero” endpoints that introduce ransomware and other malware to the network. The product intercepts post-malicious process actions based on file reputation.
  • Advanced persistent threat protection with containment and machine learning provides machine-learning-based malware classification from the cloud using both static pre-execution analysis and dynamic post-execution analysis. The goal is to detect and stop zero-day malware without relying on signatures.
  • Integrated web and endpoint protection enables partners to leverage endpoint clients and web gateways to detect and stop zero-day malware.

The McAfee Active Response 2.0 cloud-based software is about figuring out what happened and preventing the same problem from hitting the network again. Partners can trace process behavior and threat context, respond from the console and set automated responses to prevent future attacks.

“This is the most comprehensive endpoint solution on the market today,” said Young, adding that his goal is to make it easy for partners to sell and administer.

“The best is yet to come,” said Young. “Don’t pigeonhole us based on our past.”

He asked attendees to let the new MacAfee prove it can deliver: “We won’t rest until we’re your No 1 security partner.”

Follow editor in chief Lorna Garey on Twitter.


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