McAfee Corp. is rolling out a new Software as a Service (Saas) Web protection service, fully integrating its acquisition of MX Logic Inc. with cloud-based antimalware protection.
The multi-tenant service works much like a Web Gateway appliance, filtering traffic for malware and other nefarious activity. To make the cloud-based service work, companies redirect traffic to the McAfee data center, where McAfee inspects it for malware, spam, Trojans and other Internet-borne threats. The service also offers Web filtering capabilities, to bar employees from ignoring acceptable use policies.
"When the vendor improves their detection, the customer quickly takes advantage of that," Ogren said. "They don't have to wait for distribution of signatures or any software upgrades, it all happens for them almost instantly."
Another major competitor in the space is Cisco Systems Inc., which expanded its line of IronPort appliances by offering customers Web security gateway services in the cloud after its $183 million acquisition of Web SaaS security vendor ScanSafe in 2009. Cisco is pitted against Barracuda Networks Inc., which provides similar SaaS capabilities. Other McAfee competitors with SaaS services include Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd., Blue Coat Inc., Finjan Software, now part of M86 Security Inc., FaceTime Communications Inc., Sophos Plc., Trend Micro Inc., Webroot Software Inc., Websense Inc. and Zscaler Inc.
The new McAfee service provides reporting capabilities enabling IT to analyze network threats and policy enforcement for blocking employee access to certain websites. McAfee said the service can be used at remote offices, enabling corporate security policies to be enforced for all users, even when they are not behind the corporate firewall. The service also supports full Active Directory and LDAP integration.
McAfee said its service provides immediate and reliable network protection with no applications or hardware to install or deploy. Ogren said SaaS security services are a growing part of most enterprise portfolios. They offer a few drawbacks, such as possible latency issues or sporadic downtime.
"Any time you're introducing extra hops in the traffic you can introduce some latency," Ogren said, adding that companies also have to be concerned with sensitive network data that comes under regulatory scrutiny.