DeWalt welcomes partners, customers to McAfee 3.0

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt.

Call it a situation where 1 + 1 = 3.0.

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt told attendees at the company’s Focus 10 security conference in Las Vegas that the acquisition of the security vendor by Intel represents the dawn of “McAfee 3.0,” the next big step in the company’s evolution.

“3.0 is a once in a lifetime opportunity, almost a perfect scenario to invest, innovate, create markets and drive security to a new level,” he said, detailing how the chipmaker sees security as the “third pillar” of the computing market, along with performance and Internet connectivity.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini, addressing the audience via video – after all, this was clearly still McAfee’s show, not Intel’s – echoed those comments in welcoming McAfee customers and partners to the family.

So aside from getting used to the idea of being Inside Intel, what else is on DeWalt’s mind?

(First, a little disclosure: attended McAfee Focus 10 as a guest of McAfee Canada.)

Is the CEO feeling the pressure of being part of a much bigger machine? From DeWalt’s casual, energetic but laid-back presentation style, it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Still, DeWalt acknowledged that “Intel is putting their necks out to invest in security as a key component,” and said that “they are not going to let us fail.”

Key amongst those “must not fail” initiative in McAfee 3.0 is the overarching theme of “security connected” that will guide everything McAfee does. DeWalt described it as a solution of creating connections and interlocks amongst all parts of McAfee’s business – its products, its partners, its strategy and more. The goal, DeWalt said, is to “make it more open, architected, easy to integrate with, and to create platform” for the broader security marketplace. And make no mistake; it’s McAfee’s mantra. “If you don’t get sick and tired of hearing the word ‘connected,’ I probably haven’t done a good job today,” he quipped.

The promise of being part of Intel is the expansion of that play for security, as DeWalt put it, “from the silicon to the satellite.” It’s an interconnected picture of security that is baked into the hardware and is in constant communication with McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence system in the cloud. That constant connection enables a much quicker turnaround on modern threats, as updates can be pushed down in a much more timely and granular fashion than was possible in the previous eras of “deploying big fat DATs.” And in the reverse direction, by constantly gaining status information from connected devices, the company is able to raise the value proposition for its Global Treat Intelligence research and analysis division, often held out as the company’s “secret sauce.”

DeWalt said the opportunity is to make GTI into a centre for “knowledge, information and most importantly, community.” Already, the company has gone from one million reports into GTI to four billion, and it’s definitely a case of the more, the merrier. “The more data we see, the better we’re able to respond to threats,” he said.

Among the major priorities under the initiative are security solutions for virtualization and mobility, two fields for which the company is looking to build channel communities.

Although the network will become an increasingly important part of the security landscape as a first line of defense for an increasingly disparate number of connected devices, DeWalt made it clear there are still significant gains to be made on the more familiar endpoint front. The strategy, he said, is to put “security into everything we do,” including the silicon, storage, application database, mobile devices and even USB sticks. Again, Intel is key here, as DeWalt described today’s processors as “packed with features [that] nobody is enabling today,” specifically with the kinds of capabilities introduced in Intel’s vPro technology.

By  the way – given that DeWalt coined the Intel era the beginning of McAfee 3.0, you may be curious how he defined the previous two eras: McAfee 1.0 was the single-product antivirus era of Network Associates, while DeWalt said McAfee 2.0 began when the company expanded beyond antivirus by adding more products and acquiring its way into adjacent parts of the security market.