McAfee Discusses Saas Security Strategy


McAfee lays out its plans to expand its software-as-a-service business with an eye toward gaining traction among enterprises

It’s no secret that adoption of software as a service is growing, particularly when it comes to security.

All of the major vendors have made a push around cloud-based services, Symantec with the acquisition of MessageLabs and Trend Micro with its Smart Protection Network pitch. Now it’s McAfee’s turn to talk SAAS.

McAfee on 20 July announced the release of McAfee Total Protection Service 5.0 and outlined its plans for expanding its SAAS portfolio. Much of McAfee’s pitch centers on providing better ROI to businesses—which Marc Olesen, senior vice president and general manager of McAfee’s SAAS business, said is the driving force for adoption.

“From a time standpoint, [with SAAS] the solution is up, running and available,” Olesen said. “It takes minutes to turn customers on … Whereas if you compare that to on-premises [options], you have got to provision hardware and install the software, you’ve got to troubleshoot it and you’re just extending out your ROI. That’s just [savings] in time.”

In particular, the company is focused on the enterprise space, where its SAAS offerings have not made as much progress as among smaller businesses. While small and midsize businesses may see SAAS as a way to do something they don’t have the expertise or personnel to do on their own, the decision-making process for enterprises involves sizing up whether or not they want to do something in-house, Olesen explained.

With Total Protection Service 5.0, organizations can choose from a mix of capabilities, ranging from e-mail and endpoint protection to the newly added Web filtering and vulnerability assessment capabilities. Looking ahead, McAfee said it wants to continue to build more and more security features into the cloud—effectively offering the same type of protection via SAAS as it does via on-premises options.

“We want everything to be integrated [with] the online management console, so that will include data protection, that will include network protection around intrusion prevention and VPN and firewall, and ultimately being able to roll everything up and correlate it in a security information management system,” Olesen said.

When it comes to e-mail, the company wants to get more into the area of archiving and continuity. McAfee also wants to move its vulnerability scanning inside the firewall, Olesen said.

“The longer-term vision among all of this is that it is ultimately choice across the board,” he told eWEEK. “Any type of security; you can get it in the cloud or on-premises, it’s the same functionality. It’s just where you want to allocate your resources.”