The biggest challenge when it comes to selling security technologies is the reluctance IT organizations have towards buying anything beyond anti-virus software and a firewall. It’s not that IT organizations don’t think that other security products add value; it’s just that managing multiple layers of security infrastructure is usually beyond their capabilities.
That means that the most strategic thing a security vendor and its partners can do is make security easier to manage, which in turn would encourage customers to deploy a more robust set of security defenses. With that goal in mind McAfee has created the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance program to provide the underpinning for creating an ecosystem consisting of security products that are all managed under a common security management framework.
The latest additions to the McAfee SIA program include Endgame Systems, Evolven, Icon Labs, IdentityX, NIKSUN, Onapsis and Xerox. Existing members of the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance include AlgoSec, fixIQ, InfoReliance, and Tomium.
According to Ed Barry, VP of McAfee Security Innovation Alliance, the goal is to reduce the total cost of security by making it simpler to manage a diverse range of security technologies using McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) software. Rather than having to master separate management consoles, the goal is to have security vendors expose the interfaces of their security products to McAfee ePO, through which Barry says McAfee is already has over 60 million nodes under management. Once implementing McAfee ePO, a single administrator can more easily manage a broad range of security devices. That’s important from a solution provider perspective because less money spent on staffing generally means that more money available to acquire additional security technologies. As the integration between McAfee and its Intel parent grows tighter, Barry adds that the number of nodes that are being managed by McAfee software in one form or another should increase exponentially, thereby creating a foundation for delivering managed security services either on premise or via the cloud.
In the meantime, McAfee has been working with its partners to provide customers with an on-site Security Optimization Survey, based on best practices outlined in a Security Battleground manual created by McAfee, designed to help IT organizations identify their relative maturity level when it comes to IT security.
As the IT security situation continues to deteriorate in the face of targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats, it’s clear that IT organizations need a more sophisticated approach to deploying a layered security strategy more than ever. The security opportunity for solution providers in the channel is to turn that vision into a framework that not only secures the IT environment, but can also be easily managed by either the solution provider or the IT organization that ultimately relied on a McAfee channel partner to put a defense system in place they could actually afford to live with.