McAfee has laid off about 200 employees as the cybersecurity company executes on its device-to-cloud strategy.
McAfee has shed about 4 percent of its workforce in the past two weeks, The Information is reporting, citing several people familiar with the matter. It also said several senior sales executives, including Bill McAlister, senior vice president of sales for the Americas, have left the company.
“To accelerate our device-to-cloud cybersecurity strategy, McAfee is investing in growth areas and optimizing processes to put the customer at the core of everything we do,” a McAfee spokesperson said. “As we make changes, we are balancing the needs of the business with those of our workforce, approaching these decisions thoughtfully and with care for impacted employees.”
The company wouldn’t provide any further specifics.
This news didn’t come as a surprise to Eric Parizo, senior analyst of enterprise security with GlobalData.
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“First, as was reported last month, TPG and Intel were said to be interested in selling McAfee, and were in talks with at least one suitor,” he said. “It has been less than two years since McAfee officially spun out of Intel to become a standalone company, and top McAfee executives have said the first six months were largely a wash because of the heavy lifting required to stand up the various organizations and systems (HR and IT first and foremost) needed to support a standalone organization. So it would seem strange that TPG and Intel would want to bail out so quickly.”
That lack of patience boils down to two things, Parizo said. One, by all accounts revenue has been well below McAfee’s internal projections, and “that’s why we’ve seen the departure of key figures in the sales and channel organizations in recent months,” including McAlister, Richard Steranka, vice president of global channels, and Gavin Struthers, APAC president, he said.
“Second, McAfee acquired Skyhigh Networks about a year ago for a price estimated to be north of $300 million,” he said. “For a company in McAfee’s position, that was a huge amount; the thinking was it would immediately create new revenue because McAfee could sell Skyhigh cloud access security broker (CASB) technology into the McAfee customer base, but it is believed that McAfee has struggled to do so. So with revenue falling short and the Skyhigh acquisition not meeting expectations, McAfee’s ownership is, in all likelihood, understandably frustrated, and with a big turnaround unlikely in the short term, perhaps looking for an exit.”
Parizo’s biggest concern with McAfee is in regard to its go-to-market approach. The company has adopted what it calls a “device-to-cloud” strategy in order to highlight what it sees as its strengths, namely its endpoint and cloud-security solutions, he said.
“However, it is ignoring the reality that securing the network, which obviously connects devices to the cloud, remains critically important,” he said. “Even though McAfee has solid network security technology, specifically its NSP intrusion prevention line and its often overlooked Network Threat Behavioral Analysis solution, it has chosen to pull back investments in those products, instead of investing in and highlighting them as …