Skyhigh Security becomes second ex-McAfee property spun out of Symphony Technology Group

Skyhigh Security will be deeply focused on the Security Service Edge [SSE] while Trellix, spun out of Symphony earlier this year will be focused on the EDR [Extended Detection and Response] business. Gee Rittenhouse, who was previously the Senior Vice President/GM of Cisco's Security Business Group, becomes Skyhigh’s CEO.

Arnie Lopez, VP of Systems Engineering at Skyhigh Security

Today, Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm which acquired McAfee’s Enterprise Business in 2021, is announcing the launch of Skyhigh Security, the second, and planned final spinoff from the former McAfee assets. Symphony had announced earlier this year their plans to spin off the two companies as separate entities. Gee Rittenhouse, who was formerly the Senior Vice President/GM of Cisco’s Security Business Group before moving to McAfee Enterprise in January, now becomes Skyhigh’s CEO.

“Symphony has created the two companies – Trellix for XDR and Skyhigh Security focused on SSE and edge,” said Arnie Lopez, VP of Systems Engineering at Skyhigh. “Having them as separate companies provides more focus and will allow us to be more competitive in each of those spaces. While a platform is important to some customers, what is more important is focus. SSE and XDR require focus, and that requires each of them to have a dedicated CRO, CPO, and VP of Systems Engineering. Doing things this way will make us more competitive.”

McAfee acquired Skyhigh Networks in 2018, but the connection between that Skyhigh and Skyhigh Security is mainly the cloudy name, as Skyhigh Security is much broader than Skyhigh Networks ever was.

“Skyhigh Networks was very much a CASB [ Cloud Access Security Broker],” Lopez said. “Skyhigh Security is focused more broadly on CASB, SWG [Secure Web Gateway], and Zero Trust. There are also more ancillary solutions such as CNAPP [Cloud Native Application Protection Platform], Remote Browser Isolation technology, Cloud Firewall, and DLP in the cloud. We see the cloud DLP as one of our big differentiators. One of our biggest challenges is deploying DLP, and implementing policy and enforcement on one platform.”

Lopez said that Skyhigh’s DLP is fairly unique, and provides a significant differentiation for them.

“When customers do their evaluation that’s why they choose us – that unified console and platform,” he stated. “That’s a really big deal from an operations standpoint – to make their teams more efficient – having that single engine and single platform.”

Lopez also stressed the importance of Skyhigh’s deployment architecture, from on-prem, to hybrid to cloud.

“Some of the players in this space are only cloud,” he said. “In Gartner’s first SSE magic quadrant, we were one of only three in the leaders quadrant. The companion report to that is the Critical Capabilities for SSE report – assessing capabilities against major use cases. We were the top-rated vendor in that.”

The sweet spot for Skyhigh will clearly be the enterprise.

“That’s where the needs are,” Lopez said. “They want Zero Trust for things like  handling contractors so that they give them only what access that they need, or they want CASB because they are doing something like starting ServiceNow.”

The original McAfee had a staggering number of strategic vendor partners, but that’s not the route that Skyhigh is taking.

“The objective is to have an open platform, with strong APIs, and not charge for them, so that any technology partner can write against them,” Lopez indicated. We will still have CASB Connect where we build APIs with partners, but we will focus on a smaller number, and these will be more laser focused on tighter integrations and Go-to-Market

The reseller channel will also be more focused.

“We have a rich list of partners from McAfee that focused on SSE who we can work with immediately, and as we build out and partners see the demand from customers we expect more,” Lopez noted. “The Gartner recognition helps here as well.”

MSPs will be a key part of the channel.

“MSPs will help us scale downmarket, to the lower end of the commercial scale and to some SMBs,” Lopez said.  “We have built the platform so MSPs can use it – which will let us cover some SMBs and the lower end of the commercial scale.”

A channel partner program will not be in place out of the gate, but that’s something that Lopez said is a ‘like to have.’