McAfee Move Targets SMB Security

Security vendor McAfee is making a push into the SMB security space with a line of McAfee UTM Firewalls and a new SAAS offering it says could cut costs for businesses. The McAfee Web Protection Service includes anti-malware capabilities and reputation-based filtering.

McAfee has its eyes on the small and midsize business market with a push based on software as a service and unified threat management.

The focus on SMBs follows a similar move by Symantec, which recently announced plans for an SMB-focused version of Symantec Endpoint Protection. In McAfee's case, the company is pushing a new line of UTM firewalls as well as a cloud-based McAfee Web Protection Service that it contends could cut costs for both SMBs and enterprises.

"The McAfee UTM Firewalls, formerly referred to as SnapGear, are multifunctional network security appliances" that come "fully integrated with intrusion prevention, network firewall protection and VPN services," McAfee said in a news release. The company's Web Protection Service is based on McAfee's Web Gateway technology formerly known as WebWasher, and includes anti-malware features as well as reputation-based filtering that makes use of McAfee's TrustedSource network.

The main pitch for both offerings is that they offer cost-saving opportunities for businesses, with the cloud service cutting costs related to staff and equipment and the UTM appliances reducing the need for multiple point products.

From a feature standpoint, the firewalls have new centralized management, 3G wireless support, and intrusion detection and prevention capabilities. The idea, McAfee officials said, was to provide a device that could be deployed as a firewall, VPN gateway or UTM security appliance.

"Unified threat management devices continue to be in high demand and are the [predominant] security appliance that SMBs will be looking for in 2009," Chris Christiansen, an analyst at IDC, said in a statement.

Users of the cloud service can authenticate transparently in the cloud without the use of additional on-premises hardware or software. Through a policy manager, organizations can set specialized Web policies for employee groups and select, for example, the time of day certain policies will be enforced.

"Increasingly, our clients are looking to us to provide them with a variety of delivery options for receiving best-of-breed Web security," Marc Olesen, senior vice president and general manager of McAfee's SAAS business, said in a statement. "The McAfee Web Protection Service incorporates all of the knowledge and experience we've gathered through years of proven Web security and anti-malware protection."