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Vulnerabilities / Threats

1/9/2014
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Q&A: McAfee's CTO On The New Intel Security Brand

Mike Fey, McAfee enterprise vice president, CTO, and general manager of corporate products, discusses the end of the McAfee brand name

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich broke the news this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the McAfee brand name will be phased out and replaced with "Intel Security" for all of McAfee's security products. The McAfee red shield will remain but with the Intel Security name instead, and McAfee will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel, working "side-by-side" with Intel Security's team.

Dark Reading spoke with Mike Fey, McAfee enterprise vice president, CTO, and general manager of corporate products, about the end of the McAfee brand name.

Dark Reading: Why did Intel decide to eliminate the McAfee name?
Fey: At a high level, it's been a three-year journey for us. Over the last three years, we have marched with our product direction, and managed our directions with Intel's directions so both sides met on common ground and strategy. Now it makes sense to join forces as Intel Security. It's not just changing the McAfee brand, but augmenting what is the security force of Intel.

Dark Reading: Why did you keep the red shield from the McAfee brand?
Fey: As we did brand testing, the shield was a worldwide presence, as it were; it's what people knew us as. If you go overseas, "McAfee" was difficult to pronounce in some regions, [so the name] wasn't quite as strong as we wanted it to be. The Intel brand is one of the top 10 brands in the world. We thought it was a great opportunity to [have] the industry and customers "reunderstand" who we are. We're not an AV company anymore. The bulk of our revenue doesn't come from there. We are in every hot space in security. It felt like a good opportunity to rebrand and respond to the marketplace.

Mike Fey, executive vice president, CTO and general manager of corporate products at McAfee
Mike Fey, executive vice president, CTO, and general manager of corporate products at McAfee

Dark Reading: Did the decision to change the brand name to Intel Security have anything to do with the infamous behavior and legal troubles of McAfee founder John McAfee?
Fey: It really didn't. When he first started having his challenges south of the border [in Belize], we did spend a lot of energy checking with focus groups to make sure it wasn't impacting the brand. We were surprised how little impact it had, especially on the enterprise side. But most know he has not been in enterprise IT for 20-plus years. Even consumers saw [him] as separate. As things became more outlandish, it had very little to do with the company. We weren't really pressured by that ... It didn't drive our decision process.

Dark Reading: How will the change roll out?
Fey: As we hit each major rev, we'll modify the branding look. The product names don't really change. EPO, Antivirus, SIEM, Next-G Firewall names we use ... Intel Security [now] goes in [the product names as well].

Security is a key pillar [for Intel].

Dark Reading: How will the two security teams interface?
Fey: We've divided and conquered where we want to deliver our solution sets. Where we want to join, we will work in a collaborative fashion. For example, with SIEM, we/McAfee drive this independently, with little input from the Intel side. But in identity, this is an area where we found synergy on the Intel side, so we can work together and strengthen a solution to bring to market. Intel has built great security innovations for years, but has not done the best job at bringing them to market because they thought of them as features for their chip families. We are working to make sure we build full solutions.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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