It came as a surprise to me to learn today that Intel has laid out plans to acquire security firm McAfee. It makes perfect sense, yet it makes absolutely no sense at all…
I have to agree with Juan Santana CEO of Panda Security; “It is an unexpected move that highlights the importance of IT security and underscores the health of the industry going forward. In a world where most appliances and gadgets that consumers use have some kind of Internet connectivity, security becomes a differentiator.”
John Hering, Lookout CEO: “Intel’s acquisition of McAfee signals to the industry that smartphones and other connected devices are joining the web of devices we trust with critical data and that these devices need to be protected. We have seen threats rising across the major mobile platforms and expect this trend to increase as mobile devices continue to become the dominant computing platform.”
Andrews Storms, nCircle Director of Security Operations: “Security needs to move away from software and into hardware, so this move makes perfect sense. Other hardware vendors, including HP, have been buying security companies lately; watch out Cisco!”
To me it makes less sense, historically. Intel has done well serving its roots as a dominant player in the processor development sector. It has not in my opinion, done so well in previous software offerings. Is LANdesk still around? Anybody actually using it? [Wikipedia says “LANDesk software is used to manage over 250 million desktops, servers and mobile devices.” but also notes that it is expected to be sold off “sometime in 2010”]
Intel has been getting more involved in the mobile device market, though. It is working on “Meego” with Nokia, an OS for netbooks, tablets, and smartphones. I guess this will solidify their secure offering in this space. McAfee did recently pick up a few nice acquisitions of their own recently, like Trust Digital and TenCube, both of which deal in mobile security. Trust Digital provides enterprise protection for iPhones and such, and TenCube makes WaveSecure, consumer targeted security software for Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones.
The press release states: “The acquisition reflects that security is now a fundamental component of online computing. Today’s security approach does not fully address the billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyber threats. Providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services. Inside Intel, the company has elevated the priority of security to be on par with its strategic focus areas in energy-efficient performance and Internet connectivity.”
with any luck at all, Intel will begin integrating security mechanisms into hardware at the chip level, introducing a series of checks and balances on processes and threads as they are passed through the computer systems, and tilt the playing field in favour of the GOOD GUYS for a change! I just hope that Intel doesn’t destroy ePO. This is definitiely the one thing that McAfee did well, integrate their product offerings to be managed from a single point. Sweet dreams, little security-boy, sweet sweet dreams…