McAfee adds hardware to managed services mix

McAfee worldwide channel chief Gavin Struthers

McAfee worldwide channel chief Gavin Struthers

McAfee is extending the number of its products available to solution providers in a managed security services-friendly model, adding more of its software to the mix, and for the first time, including the company’s hardware offerings in a pay-as-you-go structure for MSSPs.

The company (soon to be re-branded Intel Security) has made some of its endpoint offerings available to MSSPs over the last two years, and is starting to see momentum with the program, according to worldwide channel chief Gavin Struthers. The company has seen managed services-related revenues grow 50 per cent quarter over quarter in recent quarters, and that’s a trend he sees continuing.

“One in ten purchases will be a managed service purchase, and one in five customers are exploring managed services,” Struthers said.

With that growth in mind, the company is opening much more of its offerings to a managed services-friendly model. All of the company’s software lineup will be available, and now the company is making more of its security hardware, including intrusion prevention, next generation firewall, security information and event management, and advanced threat detection, in a sales model that makes the more appealing to managed security service providers. Rather than the traditional acquisition cost of these devices, MSSPs will have the option of purchasing the hardware at “a highly-discounted upfront cost” and then a monthly subscription rate behind that.

Behind that, Struthers said the company has made changes to compensation for its own sales team to make sure managed services sales are compensation-neutral (at least) with traditional hardware or software sales.

Struthers said that by leveling that playing field, and making “the vast majority” of the company’s lineup available in a managed services model, McAfee is extending the “security connected” value proposition of end-to-end security with integrated management to managed services. Struthers also said the company was introducing new enablement tools, including recommended architectures for managed security services, blueprints, and calculators for which appliances to use based on customer size and needs.

According to Struthers, McAfee currently boasts 150-plus MSSP partners worldwide, including a handful in Canada. Those numbers are also growing quickly, and closer to home, Struthers said McAfee is “in final discussions” with several Canadian partners about managed security services. He said the transition to the services-based sale has been easy for some partners – particularly those who’ve already invested on pre-sale and post-sales in the past.

“They’ve been doing it anyway to some extent,” Struthers said. “It’s really about their investment and expertise, and moving to the services model.”

Still, there are some hurdles to moving to a managed security services model, including the potential need to build or contract a security operations center to manage customers, and the need to think about 24/7 support where in the past, simpler and less expensive support options may have been perfectly acceptable.

Today, some 85 per cent of the managed security services done are with customer-premise equipment remotely managed by the partner, but Struthers said that is shifting somewhat in the fast of the cloud and evolving products. For example, the company’s next-gen firewall (based on technology acquired with StoneSoft) is fully multi-tenant today. But other products, such as its SIEM products, are still primarily on-premise devices, due both to the feature set of the appliances, and the desire for customers to have their own data and analysis capabilities on their own network.

“Hybrid solutions are the flavor of the day, and customers are doing a mixture of CPE and hosted,” he said. “That’s the trend.”

McAfee said it will “follow the market” in terms of the CPE/hosted mix, but points to Europe, where the mix is about 70/30 in favour of CPE, as opposed to the 85/15 balance currently seen in North America. Ultimately, he said, over the next few years, that balance could approach 50/50.

“All indications are that security as a service is going to become the norm. But the market hasn’t quite bought into that yet in all solutions areas,” Struthers said.