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McAfee's Makeover

Troubled security company integrates compliance tools with its security platform, and announces acquisition of a data leakage firm

McAfee is serious about reinventing itself.

The security vendor today outlined its plans to integrate its security products with its newly-acquired compliance tools. Company officials also announced the $20 million purchase of Israeli data leakage company Onigma.

Still reeling from a major executive shakeup last week after a stock-option scandal -- and trying to stay out of the long shadow of Microsoft looming over the security space -- McAfee plowed ahead with details on how it will blend its old and new products into an overall risk management framework. (See McAfee Shakeup: Poor Timing.)

"It's an evolution of our strategy. There was a focus on delivering the threat-prevention side of the equation, and now we're adding a bridge to the compliance portfolio and integrating them together," says Vimal Solanki, senior director of marketing for McAfee, who notes that security and compliance to date have mostly been handled separately.

The glue between the new and the old is McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator (EPO) security management console, Solanki says. McAfee today released Preventsys 2.6 -- a compliance auditing tool -- and SiteAdvisor (Web security), which are now integrated with EPO, as well as McAfee Policy Enforcer 2.0, a new network access control product. Solanki says the Citadel Security policy compliance and vulnerability remediation tool will be integrated into EPO also, once the Citadel deal is final.

"McAfee is absolutely trying to move beyond its traditional threat play," says Andrew Braunberg, senior analyst with Current Analysis' Enterprise Security Group. And this announcement demonstrates how McAfee continues to move beyond the consumer market and more into the enterprise, he says.

"That speaks to the Microsoft threat."

McAfee's future in this new realm of security hinges on EPO. "Helping IT manage security policy and compensating controls is the critical component of a compliance program to prevent confidential information from streaming out of an organization," says Eric Ogren, security analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group.

Ogren says plugging product features into a central EPO hub makes sense, and McAfee has been busy making those key acquisitions. "McAfee is acquiring technologies at bargain-basement prices that it can integrate into EPO," he says. Onigma is part of the equation: "McAfee can use the Onigma acquisition to protect against loss of confidential data even when the laptop is away from the protections of the corporate network."

But Onigma's data-loss prevention product typically has had niche appeal, Ogren says, as an endpoint DRM product. McAfee plans to integrate it with EPO in the second quarter.

All this is happening under a cloud of scandal, under which McAfee has lost its top two execs. "Yes, there have been changes," says Solanki. "We are unwavered by the executive changes and focusing on what our customers need."

McAfee also kicked off a new marketing campaign: "The Power of M," to demonstrate its move from AV to risk management.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE)
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

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