McAfee Touts New Integrated Approach

The software vendor is re-branding its products under the banner of Total Protection to capitalize on companies' demand for more integrated security apps.

Software maker McAfee is changing the way it sells and markets its security applications to emphasize the integration built into the products and address customers increasing desire for unified defense management tools.

Introduced under the name Total Protection, McAfee will begin selling its anti-malware and intrusion detection applications in four individual packages aimed at companies of different sizes, each of which offers a single dashboard interface for managing its various capabilities.

The company will market its current range of anti-spyware, anti-spam, desktop firewall and intrusion prevention technologies in the Total Protection bundles, but will also continue to make the applications available on an individual basis.

For enterprises, the bundles will allow for customers to buy and install all of the firms various security applications at once, a first for McAfee.

Dubbed McAfee Total Protection Enterprise, the companys package for larger firms, also adds host intrusion protection for the first time. A flagship iteration of the product lineup known as Total Protection Enterprise Advanced, also adds access control security functions.

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A version of Total Protection aimed at small businesses incorporates the "software as a service" licensing model through which the vendor will host the security applications for customers and be responsible for attending to issues such as virus updates and monitoring for network intrusions.

The company said it already has over 2 million customers using the hosted model.

The software maker did not immediately detail pricing for the Total Protection packages, which will become available on April 17 for enterprise companies, and on April 25 for small business.

McAfee said the new offerings were designed to address the way most companies currently manage their security solutions, a process that the firm said leaves many administrators frustrated by the work needed to integrate, monitor and control all their various IT defenses.

Other security vendors, such as market leader Symantec, are also touting integration as a major advantage of their newest products.

"This is about helping businesses reduce the complexity of managing security by providing comprehensive protection," McAfee president Kevin Weiss said in a statement.

"Our core focus is to protect and mitigate risk for customers and their valuable data in an increasingly complex and regulated world."

A large part of McAfees new approach is aimed at helping its channel partners make more sales. The Total Protection bundles are specifically being offered by the firms SecurityAlliance resellers.

At least one expert observed that McAfee could be making the right call by emphasizing integration among its products. Chris Christiansen, analyst with IDC in Framingham, Mass., said that customers are indeed looking for help in simplifying the process of installing and maintaining applications.

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"As the complexity of managing security increases, customers are demanding more integrated solutions," Christiansen said.

"IT security is increasingly moving away from a focus on a single type of protection—such as anti-virus—toward a focus on broad protection from a wide range of emerging threats to enterprise security."

Other experts agreed that integrated applications will soon put more pressure on standalone security vendors trying to make a living off of best-of-breed products.

"Customers want more integration and less agents on desktop, so best-of-breed is going to become a tougher sell," said Andrew Jaquith, analyst with the Boston-based Yankee Group.

"Right now there are so many anti-malware agents fighting for control of the desktop, its like the Agent Smith scene in the movie The Matrix; companies want less complexity, and many want to focus on a central vendor."

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