McAfee Focus 2012: McAfee evolves to enable orchestrated defence

Today’s security systems are not ready for an always-on, always-connected world, says McAfee CTO Michael Fey

Today’s security systems are not ready for an always on, always connected world, says McAfee CTO Michael Fey.

“McAfee understands that security technology has to evolve very rapidly, but also that organisations can’t rip out what they have and run in a new direction,” Michael Fey told McAfee Focus 2012 in Las Vegas.

In the light of this, McAfee has evolved its four-year-old Security Connected Framework. “Today I am announcing the Security Connected Platform,” said Fey.

The idea is that McAfee will provide the plumbing in an open environment to enable customers to combine security controls from different suppliers that all work in concert to improve overall security.

“We have recognised the need to enable organisations set up orchestrated defence; to provide a date exchange layer to tie all security controls and intelligence together,” said Fey.

By providing an information exchange layer, the Security Connected Platform is aimed at enabling organisations to get the best performance from existing security controls from different suppliers.

“We are providing the methodology for organisations to consume security intelligence from multiple sources of their choice,” said Fey.

 This will enable organisations to pull in local as well as global threat information to ensure they act quickly and appropriately to information security threats.

“When you have the ability to understand exactly what is going on in your environment, there are so many steps you can take in deciding how to mitigate and remediate threats,” Fey said.

Range of security initiatives undertaken in concert

McAfee is involved in a wide range of major initiatives in the areas of identity, security management, mobile, network and global commerce, integration and intelligence, and datacentres and cloud.

But these initiatives are not being undertaken in isolation, said Fey.

“Each is being driven by executives who are members of a co-ordinated team, each aware of what the others are doing,” he said.

The challenge for the security industry,  technology suppliers and information security professionals alike, said Fey, is to transform the major trends from challenges into opportunities.

In social media, cloud computing, big data and the explosion of mobile apps, there are opportunities for security, not just challenges, he said.

“Cloud computing, for example, is an opportunity for service providers to use their size and resources to build environments that are way more secure than most business can afford,” said Fey.

Similarly, social media is an enabler to learning about trust relationships and how to balance security and trust. Big data is an enabler to improving security intelligence. The proliferation of apps is an opportunity to build security into the code as they are written and rewritten.

According to Fey, the next three years will demand a tremendous amount of innovation, but McAfee believes organisations need to start with evolving their approach to security.

“It is not enough to block threats, we need to ask questions about who is attacking, why and from where,. For this to happen, we need systems that can learn from each other,” said Fey.

This is at the heart of McAfee’s strategy to develop intelligence-led systems and to provide a platform to tie them all together to enable orchestrated, context-aware defence.

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