McAfee Lays Out 2008 Road Map

Endpoint security opportunities are a key part of McAfee's plans for the current year.

With 2007 in the rearview mirror, McAfee officials have designed a road map for the current year touching on endpoint, network and Internet security.

McAfee's new strategy is meant to capitalize in particular on opportunities in endpoint security, an area where the security vendor made a number of plays last year. Those included the release of a new version of ePO (ePolicy Orchestrator), the Total Protection product suite and the acquisition of SafeBoot, an encryption vendor.

"Customers are moving from best-of-breed products like anti-virus to a more efficient way of buying security," said McAfee CEO David DeWalt during a conference call to discuss earnings. "They are seeking out best-of-suite solutions."

DeWalt said even with the economy's current condition, companies will likely continue spending on security, moving away from point products to save cost and to aid in efforts to comply with government or industry regulations. All of this, he said, makes endpoint security a key area for McAfee in 2008.

"So far, McAfee has seen great momentum in converting its anti-virus franchise to TOPS [Total Protection]," DeWalt said. "However less than 25 percent of our own customer base has upgraded to TOPS, and less than 10 percent of our major competitors' [customers] have upgraded to their suites. This represents a monumental opportunity for market-share shifts and accelerated growth."

Beyond the endpoint space, the company is banking on IntruShield, its network IPS product, to extend its footprint in network security. The idea, DeWalt said, is to interlock the company's endpoint products and secure the network perimeter to shield enterprises from the latest threats.

To read about McAfee's efforts to bake encryption into a data protection product, click here.

In addition, DeWalt said he sees an opportunity for the company to focus on virtualization and Web security.

"There is an opportunity here ... to optimize and manage a hypervisor much more securely, and again, it's going to be across OS, both Windows and Linux environments," he said. "It's an interesting landscape. Everything I have been seeing from our customers has been screaming out, 'Prove to me security is viable in a virtual environment' ... and this is a fertile ground for anyone to take, frankly."

When it comes to Internet security, the company said it plans to leverage the technology of ScanAlert, which it acquired in 2007. ScanAlert audits and certifies e-commerce sites after scanning them for vulnerabilities and verifying security fixes.

McAfee officials have said the company plans to integrate the technology with McAfee's SiteAdvisor, which the company developed to help users search the Web safely.

"These capabilities represent a foundation for a new and robust Web security platform that complements McAfee's secure PC platform and that will enable McAfee to make the Internet a safer place for millions of consumers worldwide," DeWalt said. "This capability also opens up new revenue challenges as McAfee positions itself between the search engine, e-commerce and the consumer."