Intel Security brass calls for greater solutions focus

Intel Security leaders say the company has done a good job in integrating products together into solutions, but there's still a long way to go.

Renee James, president of Intel

Renee James, president of Intel

LAS VEGAS – Since at least the time of its purchase of McAfee, Intel Security has focused on creating broader, more integrated suites of security products. But it needs to go further, senior executives said at the company’s Focus 2014 Conference here.

In a Tuesday morning keynote presentation, Intel president Renee James, the longtime executive sponsor and mastermind of the McAfee acquisition, and Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security, both said that while they’ve come a long way, there’s still a long way to go.

“I’d like to see more integration, and better solutions orientation between the product lines,” James said in a keynote discussion with Young. “That way customers know that they have investment protection, that they’ll be able to build on as their needs grow. I think we have a lot of work to do there.”

Young, just weeks into his role heading up Intel Security, struck a similar point, saying that nobody in the security industry can “point product your way to success in security,” and that there’s a need “to have players in the market that can deliver a true end-to-end security.” He said making sure the company is on the path to greater integration is the key goal of his first 100 days.

“We ourselves can’t be proliferator of point products. What’s a product today needs to be a feature tomorrow, because there will always be a new product to come.”

Borrowing a bit from the playbook of Cisco, until recently his employer, Young said the only way to make that happen is through a platform architecture for all security offerings across the company.

James said that for it all to work, a baseline for security compliance measurement has to exist. That, unfortunately, means money has to be spent. James likens it to the investments required to establish and meet the baseline for personal data in the early days of Sarbanes-Oxley. But with the high profile nature of major data breaches, and the executive heads rolling as a result of those breaches, the alternatives to investing in meeting that baseline are likely unsavoury to the C-suite.

“When you are in a breach situation, it’s too late, and shareholders are unforgiving,” James said.

If that sounds a lot like scaring customers into compliance, it’s probably because it is, at least to a degree. James likened selling security to selling insurance in that the sales motion necessarily “suffers from having to scare people to motivate them.” But given the cost and impact of a high-profile breach, the ends may justify the means.

Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security

Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security

Young spent some time describing to customers and partners in attendance the company’s latest offering Threat Intelligences Exchange, or TIE. Essentially, TIE serves as an engine to recognize current and future attacks, and compare them to what it has seen in the past. Borrowing the phrase “the golden hour” uses to describe the higher likelihood of successful medical intervention immediately following a major health incident, Young said that “the faster we can identify what has happened, and the better we can remediate it.”

TIE helps to meet the goal of more quickly responding to threats, which Young suggested will be a key metric for security professionals going forward.

“We need to sart thinking about time to action, whether that’s detection or remediation, and not just how many attempts we found and blocked,” Young said.

He detailed how TIE works with McAfee’s SIEM offering, providing a wy for the SIEM tools to look back at past attacks and attempts and recognize patterns in what an enterprise is facing.

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Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at ChannelBuzz.ca. He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997. 

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