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McAfee Beefs Up Cloud Security with Skyhigh Networks Buy

Cloud Security

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a look back at the biggest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions from 2017.**

Cybersecurity vendor McAfee has completed its acquisition of Skyhigh Networks, a provider of cloud access security broker (CASB) software.

Skyhigh Networks becomes part of the McAfee cloud security business unit. With this technology, McAfee said it now can offer a cloud portfolio that addresses the three primary challenges of managing multi-cloud environments — visibility into networks, workloads and data; advanced threat protection; and pervasive data protection.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Eric Parizo, senior analyst of enterprise security with GlobalData, said McAfee’s biggest long-term challenge is expanding beyond its endpoint-centric roots.

“Even today, nearly all its products, sales motions, and channel strategy are tied to the endpoint,” he said. “The Skyhigh Networks acquisition accelerates the importance of and urgency to move beyond the endpoint, specifically into the cloud.”

McAfee's Richard Steranka

McAfee’s Richard Steranka

Richard Steranka, McAfee’s senior vice president of global channel operations, tells Channel Partners the acquisition bolsters his company’s position in cloud security. This is its first acquisition since spinning out of Intel last year, and is evidence of its commitment to “evolving [more quickly] … as a nimble and pure-play security company,” he said.

“We believe McAfee is one of the very few vendors who actually provides a complete security architecture to tackle today’s … cybersecurity challenges,” he said. “Without an architectural approach, both customers and partners are faced with the difficult task of integrating multiple vendor solutions into a single platform. And it’s so imperative that threat intelligence is shared across different assets, so while we’ve got the most robust platform today in terms of the most elements of the stack being secured, we also have taken a step that goes even further, which is to be open. And with our open DXL technology and the Security Innovation Alliance, we’re actually open to other vendors integrating into our platform as well.”

In terms of partner benefits, CASB is the fastest-growing market in security and is expected to grow more than 35 percent year over year, Steranka said.

“Specifically, Skyhigh has relationships with some of the largest corporate accounts that happen to be our same customers as well, and so this really kind of completes the overall architecture story, and that gives our partners even more ammunition to go and have those conversations with customers about what the right approach to solving their security challenge is,” he said.

Parizo said he’s especially curious about whether Steranka can adapt the company’s channel efforts to “support dramatically different solutions like Skyhigh and the others that will surely follow.”

“Our mission on day one is to remain focused on driving business,” Steranka said. “Right now, Skyhigh is exhibiting some significant growth rates and the last thing we want to do is disrupt existing processes that both our partners and their partners have been involved in. There’s been very little overlap in the channel, and the partners that Skyhigh have been working with have actually been new targets for McAfee. This will actually create further ability for us to now integrate better with those companies. But McAfee also has a very large and robust channel that again has been looking for CASB, and we’re going to want to get on board with them as soon as possible.”


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