McAfee Plots New Data Security Strategy

Share it on Twitter  
Share it on Facebook  
Share it on Linked in  

LAS VEGAS-- McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt calls it McAfee 3.0, the next step in the world's second-largest security software maker's evolution from a nuts-and-bolts antimalware consumer application vendor to a one-stop shop for safeguarding consumer and enterprise data in the cloud and, eventually, from a chip.

That was the overriding message during the initial keynote address here at the company's FOCUS 2010 user conference where DeWalt laid out the company's challenges and opportunities once its pending $7.7 billion merger with chip-making giant Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) closes later this year.

"The best is yet to come," DeWalt said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We can innovate, create new markets and drive security to a new level."

His enthusiasm was echoed by Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who in a taped message shown during DeWalt's keynote, reiterated Intel's contention that securing connected devices both behind the firewall and in the cloud represents the "third pillar" of enterprise computing -- a task that executives at both companies feel they're ready to tackle.

"Security will be most effective when it's enabled in hardware," Otellini said, adding that his company's vPro chips have programmable defense filters that, when combined with software developed by McAfee (NYSE: MFE), will raise the bar for embedded security throughout the industry and soon pay the dividends required to justify Intel's pricey acquisition.

"We've collaborated with McAfee for 18 months," Otellini continued. "We know and trust and appreciate each other. The combination of Intel and McAfee is about providing greater protection by bringing software and silicon together to do the heavy lifting."

Because the deal has yet to formally close, DeWalt said he would have hold off on any specific new product announcements for now, but promised there would be plenty to behold "in the next few months."

For now, enterprise security administrators can test drive its latest endpoint offering, Endpoint Security 9.0, which offers support for a variety of platforms like Windows, Mac and the whole cavalcade of mobile OSs such, as Android, iOS, Symbian and Windows Mobile.

Endpoint Security 9.0 features antimalware and data-loss prevention (DLP) apps with mobile device management that can be monitored and controlled through its ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) tool.

This week it also announced the debut of McAfee for Management of Optimized Virtualized Environments (MOVE), an application that sits on top of the hypervisor and scans virtual-machine-based OSs and applications for security risks and threats.

"MOVE looks at these virtual assets and leverages back through the cloud to deliver a 60 percent improvement in performance," DeWalt said. "It means having an architecture to more securely optimize and deploy virtual desktop and mobile environments through the cloud. It's something that many of our larger customers are already using to manage their virtual endpoints and servers."

With more than 10 million new pieces of malware identified in first half of the year and the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise, DeWalt said it was imperative that McAfee give customers a simple, but highly effective way to manage all these new devices and applications both through the cloud and within the network.

McAfee Security Management 5 reflects this demand. It's a new centralized management platform that delivers proactive risk management and coordinates security defenses. IT managers can take advantage of the full profile risk it displays across multiple security layers and products to deliver what company officials call a "security connected" approach to their IT security landscape.

DeWalt added that the company is already working with more than 100 different manufacturers ranging from point-of-sale device makers to teleco and satellite providers to embed future generations of consumer products with the company's security applications.

"Instead of running above OS, we have to think about using security at a lower level of the stack," he said. "I'm looking forward to one year from now when I 'm standing before you all and we're talking about a whole other era," for mobile and device-based security.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

Follow eSecurityPlanet on Twitter @eSecurityP.