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McAfee Finalizes Spinout, Stresses Platform Strategy

By Lorna Garey
April 04, 2017 - Article
Continued from page 3

... a platform approach, under which supplier partners sign on to McAfee’s Security Innovation Alliance, or SIA, program.

The term “platform" is being tossed around in a way that recalls cloud-washing, where suppliers slap an “as a service" sticker on legacy software. Channel Partners defines a “platform" as an open system with rules. Lyft is a platform — anyone can apply to drive, but they must abide by terms of service and can be barred for bad behavior. SIA likewise seems to fit the criteria. It now includes dozens of members, from Aruba to Xerox, and is open to companies with at least one common customer use case that demonstrates innovation and improved threat visibility; after testing, integrated products may receive the “McAfee Compatible" designation.

Parizo sees McAfee’s SIA program and OpenDXL as a competitive advantage.

“What I do really like about the McAfee strategy is the new brand tagline, ‘Together is power,’" says Parizo. “It highlights how the company is not only staking its future success on the strong integration of its own portfolio, but also how it’s using technologies like OpenDXL and Threat Intelligence Exchange to foster integration and data sharing among third-party best-of-breed security products."

Keizer says customers know they need a new plan because we are all behind the security curve.

“Even the U.S. government with all its resources is failing," he said, making customers reluctant to put all their security eggs into one solution provider’s basket. “They want a layered approach now, even including behavioral threat management."

The amount of M&A activity is also giving his customers pause, said Keizer.

“Clients are getting dizzy with all the mergers and acquisitions that are taking place in the security space," he said. “At the end of the day, the MSP is better served by having other security options to offer alongside some of the older, more recognized vendors."

As to M&A, Steranka wouldn’t discuss specific acquisition targets, but he did cite the “Grobman Curve" principle coined by McAfee CTO Steve Grobman. That is, any security technology, once it reaches critical mass, will become a target, and cybercriminals will find gaps.

“That's why we see this constant revolving door of different vendors coming in, possibly there for two or three years and then they're the source of a major cyber crack, and they're out and another vendor is in," says Steranka. “That's an awful painful hamster wheel for customers to be on."

Partners need to provide visibility throughout the network and help spot advanced persistent and multithreaded threats.

“If you’re waiting around for an incident to happen, you're likely six months too late," he says. “Our story to the partners is, ‘You have to be proactive.’"

Parizo advises McAfee partners concerned about brand confusion to stress this platform approach.

“My take is that the company’s long-term goal is to tie the McAfee name to themes such as integration and security data-sharing," he says. “Essentially, take a well-worn brand and undertake a ground-up rebuild of how it’s perceived."

**Editor's Note: It can be a struggle to mitigate the very real security risks of an on-the-go workforce without negating the productivity benefits. But the worst thing a customer can do is ignore mobile security. In this free editorial report, we give you some talking points to start the discussion. Download now!**

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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