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Posted by Stephanie Balaouras on October 11, 2013
Last week, I and several analyst from Forrester’s Security & Risk team, including Chris McClean, John Kindervag, Tyler Shields, Heidi Shey, and Chris Sherman, attended McAfee’s annual Focus conference in Las Vegas.
I attend numerous security and IT conferences each year, most of which simply blur together into a vendor cacophony about the perils of social, cloud, and mobile device adoption or the ever present danger from devious cybercriminals and nefarious state-sponsored agents. The uniform repetition of this narrative from every vendor in the industry reminds me of the drowning din of thousands of cicadas awakening from hibernation. McAfee Focus had a different feel. And overall, compared to other conferences, it was a worthwhile trip, and not just because Chris McClean and I won at craps, but because while McAfee did pay homage to the technical security pros in the audience with the requisite discussion of the changing threat landscape and accompanying hacking demo, there was a palpable difference in their narrative, particularly in CEO Mike DeCesare’s keynote. Here are a few notable highlights from the conference:
There are still areas that I think McAfee needs to do more in: 1) they need to do more to leverage their consumer security position in enterprise IT security, particularly as more and more companies embrace BYOD; 2) they need to have a stronger vision regarding all aspects of cloud security -- security to the cloud, in the cloud, and from the cloud; 3) they need to execute on their recent acquisitions, especially Stonesoft, which could become the cornerstone of a disruptive McAfee that integrates network security into their overall product line, creating substantial efficiencies for clients; and 4) they need to explain to heads of information security and risk management how McAfee will support them as a strategic vendor, not just by integrating an array of point products, but offering management tools, managed services, and consultative guidance to help them deal with the CISO’s changing business landscape, not just changing threat landscape. But overall, I was pleasantly surprised with their narrative and the progress toward their Security Connected vision. They’ve come long way from their roots as simply an AV company.
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