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McAfee Embraces SaaS Security

McAfee today outlined an aggressive SaaS-based security strategy and released Total Protection Service 5.0, its latest SaaS security software.

Marc Olesen, McAfee (NYSE: MFE) senior vice president and general manager for SaaS, was hired a few months ago to build McAfee's SaaS strategy.

Olesen told InternetNews.com that McAfee has delivered today with the industry's only comprehensive solution covering DLP, compliance, vulnerability scanning, e-mail, network protection, and endpoint protection. It is available immediately worldwide.

He said that McAfee is positioned to take advantage of the fastest growing segment of the security industry. "The SaaS security market is growing a little over 30 percent per year, three or four times faster than the on premises security software market," he said.

He added that other SaaS providers deliver point solutions but not comprehensive solutions. As for McAfee's main competitors in the security industry, Trend Micro and Symantec, he said that Symantec covers the network and it covers e-mail with its MessageLabs product but does not cover endpoints.

"Trend Micro has some capabilities but doesn't appear to have a comprehensive solution," he added.

But Symantec said that it offers a long list of SaaS products and said that its services "meet the needs of 20,000 customer needs around the globe in 99 countries securing more than 3 billion e-mail connections and 1.1 billion Web requests each day."

"Trend Micro is focused on providing hosted endpoint security (Worry-Free Business Security -- Hosted), hosted e-mail security (InterScan Messaging Hosted Security), and hosted Web site security (Trend Micro SecureSite)," said Eric Jensen, Trend Micro senior product marketing manager, in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

"We are uniquely positioned to win in the hosted security market because we currently scan and correlate more than 4 billion URLs, e-mail sources and files across both hosted and on-premise environments, and then continuously improve our hosted and on-premise products based on that data," he said.

Total Protection Service

At the core of McAfee's solution is the SecurityCenter, an online console or portal. It is designed to make the task of IT easier, whether it is used by a small business or a large enterprise. He admitted that to date, the product has been used more by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) than by enterprise customers, but said that McAfee plans to change this.

"With this product, we have delivered improved ease of use and added enterprise functionality," Olesen said.

He added that McAfee will add e-mail archiving, e-mail continuity, vulnerability scanning from within the network, and other features.

Currently the SaaS solution performs vulnerability scanning from outside the network from servers located at public points of presence at major ISPs. This feature, he noted, cannot be delivered by software located on premise.

McAfee's embrace of SaaS does not mean the company is abandoning the market for security appliances and licensed software, according to Olesen. "We want to provide customers the form factor of choice," he said.

Some customers choose a mixture of form factors. "I call it co-sourcing," said Olesen. "Companies look for areas where they want to build their own competency and in other areas they leverage the competency of a provider similar to us."

"A customer may want their data leak protection (DLP) on premises but may want the spam filter for inbound e-mail to be in the cloud so that the spam does not clog up network bandwidth," he explained.

Pricing is per user and also depends on the number of software modules or features used, Olesen said. As with most enterprise software, volume discounts are available.

Update adds comments from Symantec and Trend Micro.