In-depth: Security industry raises questions over McAfee future


In-depth: Security industry raises questions over McAfee future

McAfee's rivals in the security market have been quick to respond to yesterday's $7.68bn acquisition of the security software vendor by semiconductor giant Intel, with many raising further questions over the precise nature of Intel's intentions towards McAfee's channel and its technology base.

Chris Doggett, head of global channels at Sophos, said he was hoping for the best, but voiced the opinion that M&As between large companies in the security space were historically bad for VARs.

"They are no longer pure play security and this often results in a loss of focus, product lines being retired and the disenfranchisement of their channel partners," he warned.

Trend Micro CEO Eva Chen said that while Intel's purchase was a "clear statement to the industry and investors that security is fundamental to future services" she had concerns over the future of McAfee's product line.

"The embedded software-model is fundamentally different from the security-software operating model, and this is a good opportunity for customers to review their relationship with their security partner to assess whether they will be receiving the services and expertise they need," she said.

Ron Gula, CEO of network security outfit Tenable was also keen to talk technology: "McAfee is best known for its anti-virus solution, but its large-scale security technologies aren't something I can see Intel leveraging.

"There are a lot of things wrong with today's anti-virus model such as tracking the sheer number of potential bad types of software. Putting this into hardware may sound promising, but I question how much can be placed into a chip," he added.

Gula called for assurances that Intel hardware would be made patchable when new security vulnerabilities emerged.

Imperva director of security strategy, Rob Rachwald, said that in light of the changing nature of the threat landscape, the growth of collaboration and social networks within businesses and the rise of data theft the acquisition of McAfee "makes a lot of sense".

"Security teams need to become business process experts to keep the bad guys disarmed while keeping the good guys productive," he said.

This was first published in August 2010

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