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McAfee launches SaaS antimalware, Web filtering service

McAfee fully integrates its acquisition of MX Logic, rolling out a cloud-based antimalware Web filtering service aimed primarily at small- and mid-sized -businesses.

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.

When the vendor improves their detection, the customer quickly takes advantage of that.
Eric Ogren,
founder and principal analystOgren Group

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.

SaaS security:
Carefully evaluate providers' SaaS security model: Enterprises need to make sure a SaaS provider has the proper security controls to protect sensitive data before a contract is signed.

McAfee to acquire email SaaS vendor MX Logic: McAfee acquired MX Logic, one of the few remaining independent email security SaaS vendors, for $140 million in cash deal.

Opinion - Embrace SaaS; You Have No Choice Like it or not, software-as-a-service and cloud computing is the future.

"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.

Dig Deeper on Antivirus, antispyware management

McAfee reseller program overhaul adds new incentives, rewards When a bad McAfee Inc. antivirus update disrupted corporate machines across the globe, it was the channel that was responsible for cleaning up much of the mess, admits Alex Thurber, senior vice president of worldwide channel operations. Thurber said the McAfee update problem was a horrible mistake, but presented an opportunity for partners to show themselves as trusted advisors working with the affected customers. When the issue was finally concluded, he said McAfee stepped up and adequately compensated channel partners for their work.

Thurber took his role at McAfee in 2009 after a succession of channel leaders served short stints in the position. Thurber arrived when McAfee was fresh off of two acquisitions (Solidcore Systems and MX Logic). Thurber, who was responsible for security channel programs at Cisco Systems Inc., had to integrate the Solidcore and MX Logic programs into McAfee and pick up the pieces from his predecessors. Fortunately, Thurber said, the program only suffered from a lack of execution.

Today, an almost completely overhauled McAfee channel program includes strong incentives and rewards, including deal protection for partners. In this interview with, Thurber talks about the issues his team confronted and the future of McAfee's channel program.

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