The rise of the digital business has put an emphasis on a number of new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), SASE (secure access service edge), cybersecurity and the cloud. One of the challenges for enterprise IT is that deploying, tuning and operating new technologies–such as those listed above–isn’t always simple. It’s a rare vendor who can deliver an entire solution of anything, because software needs to run on hardware and is required to interoperate with other vendors.
The past several years have seen a rise in vendors partnering with one another or acquiring assets to create broader solutions. This past week saw a number of partnerships announced as well as a key acquisition that should help businesses implement digital initiatives faster and with less risk. I covered these topics in detail in this week’s ZKast video, done in conjunction with eWEEK. Highlights are below.
McAfee sells enterprise business to Symphony Technology Group
The splitting of McAfee’s enterprise and consumer businesses have been circulating since late 2019, and the final move came to fruition last week, when the company announced it was selling the enterprise business to private equity firm STG for $4 billion. The deal was orchestrated by CEO Peter Leav, who also sold BMC and Polycom to private equity firms. Leav is a master at maximizing shareholder value, and he accomplished that again with McAfee. STG is no stranger to security; it also owns RSA Security, which it purchased from Dell for a little over $2 billion in 2020. It also owns network modeling and risk management vendor RedSeal, which it picked up in 2019.
I expect STG to continue to bring together the assets from the three companies and will likely add other capabilities in future acquisitions. The cybersecurity industry is going through a major mindset shift in which CISOs are shying away from buying point products and investing in security platforms. Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and Cisco Systems have been executing on their platform strategy and have gained disproportionate share because of it. The combination of RedSeal, RSA and McAfee isn’t really on par with the three previously mentioned vendors, but with a couple more key acquisitions, they might be.
McAfee is following the same path that Symantec went down when it sold its enterprise business to Broadcom in 2019. In technology, it’s rare for a company to be successful in making consumer and enterprise products and now McAfee can be laser-focused on building best-in-class consumer products.
NVIDIA announces AI Enterprise Suite
I won’t spend too much time on this announcement, because I authored this eWEEK post on what NVIDIA is doing last week. I’ll summarize by noting that there may be no more difficult task for IT pros than putting together a system for AI. It requires the right software, tools, virtualization platform, frameworks servers and other enabling technology. NVIDIA AI Enterprise Suite takes all the guesswork out of the process by delivering a full, turnkey system that is optimized, tweaked and tuned for AI. The software has been certified to run on VMware’s vSphere, making it easy for IT to deploy quickly and scale as the performance requirements increase. Customers can also implement this in the cloud with VMware’s Cloud Foundation. The joint solution enables customers to deploy an AI system in literally days versus the months it typically takes.
AT&T partners with Fortinet for managed SASE, SD-WAN
The cloud has significantly changed WAN traffic patterns, because the majority of WAN traffic is now used to connect users to cloud resources. This has caused a sharp rise in SD-WAN adoption; businesses are looking for a much more agile network that is optimized for cloud traffic and not client-server. The rise in SD-WAN has highlighted some massive security challenges when providing users with direct access to SaaS applications. SASE pushes security into the cloud and makes it much easier to secure branch offices than with traditional on-premises security. SASE also makes it easier to deliver corporate-grade security to home workers.
Last week AT&T announced it will be partnering with Fortinet for its first managed SASE service. The new solution leverages Fortinet’s SASE stack, which not only includes a number of security features but also SD-WAN capabilities. Fortinet has one of the broadest set of capabilities of all the cybersecurity vendors and has service consistency across on-premises and cloud solutions.
The company also offers tremendous price/performance benefits, because it makes its own security ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), making it ideal for managed service providers, so they can offer a price-aggressive offering. Last year Masergy chose Fortinet as the technology for its managed SASE and SD-WAN services. Masergy is known as being a technically advanced MSP, and the choice of Fortinet certainly validates it as a leading SASE and SD-WAN vendor.
Zeus Kerravala is an eWEEK regular contributor and the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He spent 10 years at Yankee Group and prior to that held a number of corporate IT positions. Kerravala is considered one of the top 10 IT analysts in the world by Apollo Research, which evaluated 3,960 technology analysts and their individual press coverage metrics.