Partners have hailed McAfee's return to independence after Intel's sale of the vendor closed this week, but warned changes need to be made if it is to return to its former glory.
Last September Intel confirmed rumours that it was looking to offload its Intel Security division, with private equity house TPG agreeing to pay $3.1bn for a 51 per cent stake in the vendor.
The sale has now completed, with Intel Security general manager Christopher Young heading up the newly independent McAfee as CEO.
In a blog post, Young said: "Independence is the best way for us to build more of what the industry needs now. Our timing couldn't be better because we're now wholly focused on our customers' cybersecurity outcomes.
"There's nothing to divide our attention. As an independent company we have the freedom, the power, and the responsibility to innovate as never before.
"Our new financial foundation and growth plan, made possible by McAfee's new stakeholders, equips us to invest in ourselves and makes us a sustainable partner for the consumers, corporations, and organizations we're pledged to protect."
George Neophytou, managing director at security reseller Caretower, said McAfee has already showed signs of improvement after a weary spell under Intel's ownership.
"I think it had a good run under Intel but sort of lost a bit of direction, which everyone is aware of," he said.
"We've been working quite closely with McAfee over the last few months and they're back on track.
"The technology, the integration of technology and generally the state within the organisation seems a lot more positive, so for us I think it's a very good thing."
Andy Woolford, VP of sales at Herjavec Group, said he has already seen an improved road map from McAfee, saying:
"This new focus solely on security and delivering a shorter and more focused road map on technologies - Intel seemed to look too far in to the future with road maps and failed to meet today's needs - will enable clients to release the full value of the underlying DXL [data exchange layer] fabric layer," he said.
"I see the McAfee partners adding value to customers by developing the DXL to integrate with other solutions, which to me is a game changer in the security market space."
Actions speak louder than words
While McAfee has relaunched with strong messaging around integrated security technologies, David Lannin, director of technology at Sapphire, was quick to point out that the vendor has restarted life as an independent company with a fragmented product portfolio, which needs to be addressed.
"What they were saying in that press release - and what a large part of their website says about unification of technologies to give a greater understanding of security - they've been saying for some time," he said.
"They've been talking about solutions that try and do that - things like the DXL solution - but we're not really seeing a great number of customers adopt that kind of approach unfortunately.
"On top of that I'm a bit puzzled that they're talking about trying to have a holistic view of security and yet, just glancing at their product page, they have over 50 different line items of products. They could maybe turn that lens back on themselves and see what consolidation and integration they can do in their own portfolio."
Technology catch up
Lannin also pointed out that McAfee's overall offering could perhaps be strong if it hadn't offloaded key parts of the business under Intel's ownership.
"Some of their main technologies over the last few years they've pushed away," he said.
"They've ended up selling off the firewall business which was fairly significant - firewalls tend to be a significant part of any security architecture and yet they farmed it off, and they got rid of their email content security gateway as well.
"If you're not able to maximise opportunity with a particular technology then I guess you could argue why keep it on, but for a vendor that's spending a lot of time talking about integration and holistic views, one glance at their product page just reminds me how detached their solutions are."
Caretower's Neophytou added that the speed of development hasn't been as quick as some would have liked under Intel's stewardship, but said to expect a strong spell of innovation from McAfee in its new guise.
"They went away for a little bit and we all wondered what was coming next from them - it was a little bit quiet," he said.
"But they were working in the background and have come up with some really good plans and developments in technologies. Okay, the time isn't great - it would have been nice to see these developments 18 months ago - but they are here now and they're focused - that's what counts.
"The delay in the development of technology has allowed others to creep in - do some clever marketing and win some market share - but it will be nothing unusual compared to what everyone else is going through at the moment.
"There isn't one specific leader so I see McAfee having to do a lot of hard work, as do the other vendors."
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