The leadership of Intel-owned security firm McAfee is upbeat about the acquisition of Finnish firewall maker Stonesoft and its future capability to tackle security differently.
In the opening keynote of McAfee Focus 2013 in Las Vegas, McAfee president Mike DeCesare said the company was an “incredible asset” that would boost McAfee’s network security market position.
Stonesoft’s firewall technology runs McAfee’s IPS Network Security Platform and Firewall Enterprise for the high-assurance market segment.
The technology was preferred, said DeCesare, because it is secure by design and built specifically to detect and block advanced evasion techniques attackers use to defeat traditional security controls.
In the months after completion of the $389m deal, which was announced in May 2013, Stonesoft’s evasion-blocking firewall technology has replaced McAfee’s planned next-generation firewall product.
“We are excited by what we have, now that we have had time to look under the covers beyond the due diligence process,” said Mike Fey, executive vice-president and chief technology officer at McAfee.
As the only scalable next-generation firewall on the market, he said sales were going well in North America, where Stonesoft did not have any footprint before, with 85% of its customers in Europe.
Following Intel’s acquisition of McAfee in March 2011, DeCesare said the quest for innovation is what has rubbed off most [from Intel] on the security company.
For the most part, he said, McAfee has been left as a standalone subsidiary, but McAfee has been given 300 engineers to help work on the marriage between microprocessors and software.
“This is one of the areas where there has been tight coupling between the two companies,” he said. “We are riding on Intel’s coat tails to deliver security by design.”
DeCesare said McAfee security software is a key component of the embedded system stack for Intel’s recently announced Quark family of microprocessor chips.
Combining security and hardware has great potential, and is an important start for McAfee in moving towards light devices that can call security capability from the cloud, he said.
“When you consider the sophistication of adversaries and how quickly they can get to endpoints, you realise we need to find a way of doing things differently,” said DeCesare.
Looking to the future, Fey said Intel and McAfee were “working on stuff that could change the world, which will not be measured in terms of sales, but by its ability to do things differently.”
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