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Why new-look McAfee is making security vendors nervous

James Henderson | Nov. 16, 2016
The new McAfee is moving more quickly to go to market with a fresh set of suites for select areas, an analyst said

Yet ISG is not the first vendor to attempt to promote intelligence sharing and security application integration based on a common framework.

For example, Cisco has pxGrid, IBM has X‐Force Exchange, and Webroot has Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON).

“Although there will certainly be a degree of cross‐pollination, with vendors belonging to multiple sharing and integration communities, no more than two will succeed in attracting the most members and providing the most extensive and useful intelligence,” Wright observed.

“It is simply too complex for vendors to commit the resources to participate and for customers to manage deliverables from so many vendor organised intelligence offerings in addition to the intelligence they already receive from industry‐specific Information Sharing and Analysis Centres and other sources.”

Whether or not McAfee’s DXL becomes one of these community leaders, Wright believes the initiative will add valuable experience and alliances as McAfee rejoins the security market as a leading pure play vendor.

Customer demands

In addition, Wright said McAfee’s new approach is well‐timed to align with changing customer sentiments.

“Just a few years ago, many customers’ security installations consisted of hundreds of point products from dozens of vendors,” Wright explained.

“These cumbersome deployments evolved because large, mature vendors such as McAfee, under Intel’s ownership, Symantec and IBM delivered product after product to fill gaps in their security portfolios, while well‐ funded startups released products that did only one thing but did it very well.”

Over the past two years, however, customer sentiment has changed.

Disappointed by the disjointed coverage of so many products and overwhelmed by the numerous management interfaces involved, Wright said customers now seek more comprehensive suites of security functions that are integrated across the suite, or at least present the same look and feel to users and a common management plane to IT and security staff.

“Ultimately, customers will satisfy the majority of their security requirements with a handful of vendors, favouring those that offer a single platform with flexibility to attach and scale many highly effective, although not necessarily best‐of‐breed, technologies,” Wright said.

“McAfee is moving in the right direction by focusing all its development and sales resources around four solution sets, which it has named: dynamic endpoint, intelligent security operations, data centre and cloud defence, and pervasive data protection.”


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