McAfee’s Focus Reconnex With Data Protection

Data protection

In a move that heralds an aggressive broadening of its business
strategies, McAfee (NYSE:MFE), which has offered data leak protection (DLP)
technology since 2006, will push even deeper into that area following its
purchase of Reconnex.

McAfee, which paid $46 million in cash for Reconnex, plans to use that
company’s technology to simplify and automate data protection. It will roll
out products incorporating Reconnex technology within a year.

The push into DLP is “an ambitious effort by McAfee to move beyond its
traditional sphere of influence” under the leadership of CEO Dave Dewalt,
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, told He described DeWalt, formerly vice president at
storage giant EMC (NYSE: EMC), as a “very ambitious, capable, bright guy with an eye for innovation.”

That move is necessary because pure-play security software vendors such
as Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) and McAfee are being squeezed by
Windows Vista
, which incorporates “a lot of the security functionality
that used to be their sole territory,” King explained.

Once Vista was launched, it became “critical” for security software
vendors to “move out into areas that intersect with security but broaden
their reach into other parts of the enterprise,” King said. Data protection
is “a natural extension of that,” he added.

DLP is essential for both compliance and e-discovery
, and offers huge opportunities for growth. Both McAfee
and archrival Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), which bought DLP
specialist Vontu
in June 2007, play in this space.

The Reconnex technology can not only index data that exists within an
enterprise but also can map where that data has gone, according to Pund-IT’s
King. This means it can be used for e-discovery.

E-discovery is a vital part of compliance and has become an increasingly
lucrative business since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which are
U.S. federal district court procedures for civil suits, were amended
December 2007. Several major vendors, including IBM, (NYSE: IBM) are
strengthening their offerings
in this area.

Reconnex will be rolled up into McAfee’s Data Protection Unit, which
offers full disk encryption through McAfee Endpoint Encryption. “Having
endpoint data leak protection technology alone is not sufficient to provide
the maximum coverage for data leaks, and Reconnex had a unique value
proposition with unique architecture complementary to our portfolio,” Mike Siegel, McAfee’s director of product management, told

“We are going to grow the Reconnex business and work very hard at
integrating it not only with our host data leak protection technology but
also with our ePolicy Orchestrator (EPO),” Siegel said. The first phase of
Reconnex integration with EPO is scheduled for completion within six months,
and “in early 2009 we’ll have full integration,” Siegel added.

EPO is
the central management console
for “over a dozen McAfee solutions,” and
“we have a very successful formula here, which we believe is repeatable —
integrating technologies quickly with EPO and providing the maximum value to
customers,” Siegel said.

[cob:Special_Report]That’s easier said than done, Symantec senior director of data leak protection Steve Roop, told “One of the core things
you do in data leak protection is you define what sensitive data you want to
protect,” Roop said.

According to Roop, Reconnex and Onigma — a DLP product McAfee purchased in October 2006 — have different ways of defining that sensitive data. “So you have to define your data twice in completely different ways,” Roop said.

Symantec’s reaction is understandable. McAfee “has been moving very
aggressively in the markets it plays in, and that makes Symantec nervous,”
Pund-IT’s King said.

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