McAfee opens up Secure in 15 to partners

McAfee’s annual Security Paradox Report indicates that once again, the threat landscape is expanding at the same time that the average SMB IT administrator is facing constricting budgets and less time to focus on a proactive security stance.

To help channel partners deal with this obvious and growing disconnect, the company has opened up its Secure in 15 methodology to channel partners for the first time, according to Cari Jacquet, McAfee’s director of integrated marketing.

The methodology attempts to give the person responsible for security at a small company – typically also responsible for the rest of the company’s IT infrastructure as well – the tools needed to improve their security proactivity in the form of a “pre-flight checklist” of duties that can be fit into the 15-minute window such busy administrators have available for security.

Jacquet described the Secure in 15 checklist as a “vendor-neutral practice” that solution providers can use to help customers better position themselves against current and future threats. Here’s what’s in it for the company’s solution providers.

First of all, a look at the security threat landscape that small businesses face: McAfee surveyed small business IT staff in 13 countries (up from seven last year) and found that budgets for IT security are flat or down and the time administrators can devote to security is down seven per cent, while threats continue to grow at two per cent or more per year. At the same time, the cost of a single network incident typically tops $5,000 in hard losses alone, and administrators are more concerned than ever about unintentional data leaks as more and more employees bring their own computers and other connected devices to work.

In large part, the Secure in 15 checklist has a lot to do with automating what administrators already do when it comes to security, Jacquet said. The company just rolled out training on its checklist to partners at its Focus 10 conference in Las Vegas last week, and Jacquet described it as an opportunity for channel partners to have a more strategic discussion with customers about security.

“I think customers are saying ‘We’ve got to find a simpler way to stay ahead of threats,’” Jacquet said. “Customers are really pressuring their partners to be more strategic and to stop selling SKU after SKU from vendor after vendor. They need to work with what they’ve got and find ways to get more out of it.”

Jacquet said Secure in 15 does just that, and aims to “ensure the IT hero stays the IT hero.”

It’s also an ideal start point for partners’ own security services or a number of McAfee’s own partner-sold service offerings, including its QuickStart deployment and troubleshooting services that launched in January in North America and have just been expanded worldwide recently.