McAfee Partner Summit: 10 Ways McAfee Executives Engaged Channel Partners4:00 PM EST Wed. Oct. 02, 2013
McAfee executives told attendees at the 2013 SecurityAlliance Partner Summit that growth has been steady over the last year, but engagements with clients can be better. The daylong program highlighted McAfee's Security Connected strategy and outlined some hot security areas. An interest in security information event management could fuel sales of McAfee's NitroSecurity SIEM appliance and analytical capabilities. Meanwhile, McAfee's SaaS-based email security could see growth from customers moving off Google's Postini platform, which is no longer being supported. Finally, advanced malware detection, fueled by interest in sandboxing technology for suspicious file behavioral analysis could drive sales of McAfee's upcoming next-generation firewall product, which incorporates the company's acquisition of Helsinki, Finland-based appliance maker Stonesoft.
The McAfee SecurityAlliance Summit had more than 700 partners participating this year, including solution providers from Asia and South America. McAfee Channel Chief Gavin Struthers said the company has had a lot of achievements over the last 12 months. He praised the top 25 partners who achieved higher than 10 percent growth, with much of that in network security. The partners doubled the amount of rebate and rewards paid out, and the key to their success was getting staff trained and certified on McAfee products, Struthers said. The partners send at least two people to the company's StarTrac training every year, he said. "When our sales team knows you are in and doubling down, we help you get to growth," Struthers said.
Struthers told partners that McAfee will be revamping its Security Alliance partner program over the next year, streamlining the five partner programs the company inherited through acquisition. McAfee is also temporarily removing the rebate payout cap and rewarding registered renewals with a $200 payout to each new renewal, Struthers said. The company also launched a new "Everyone's a Winner" theme promotion, which runs into the first quarter of 2014 with payout opportunities to active partners to win a trip to the World Cup in Rio De Janiero. McAfee also trained 150 channel employees, building out a strong team with the right skills and business acumen to work with partners, he said.
The lead singer of the Spazmatics was rocking with a neck brace during the partner summit. The McAfee event, which coincides with the company's Focus Security Conference, also has a concert planned later this week with musician Kid Rock.
Outlining the company's sales goals, McAfee Executive Vice President of Global Sales Steve Redman said the company believes the most lucrative engagements with customers are those that involve three or more products. Redman said the top 1,000 customers had purchased three or more products. About 1 percent of the next 5,000 customers had purchased three or more products, leaving a lot of room for growth, he said. "We are kicking butt when the customer listens to our story of security connected, but it is not getting out far enough," Redman said. "We have to have the best security connected strategy and be nimble enough to have the hottest technologies when hot markets pop up," he said.
Situational awareness, networking, advanced malware detection, and analysis and endpoint security are the top areas fueling sales in the security industry, said Redman. Businesses are seeking better network visibility, he said. McAfee saw its NitroSecurity SIEM system grow from $20 million to more than $100 million this year, Redman said. McAfee is on track with the integration of its Stonesoft next-generation firewall acquisition. Meanwhile, endpoint security is "everybody's cash cow if it is done right," Redman said. Small and midsize businesses are seeking products that are simple, affordable and have a solid reputation. Kaspersky Lab saw growth because it is easy to use and cost-effective, he said.
From left to right, CIO of Internet2 Shelton Waggener, SAP Americas CIO Michael Golz, Intel CIO Kim Stevenson and Patty Hatter, CIO of McAfee, talk about security trends and their experiences working with partners. The panelists said that partners shouldn't cold-call or send out email blasts because they are annoying and they just ignore them. Engage with other business-line managers, such as the head of HR or marketing who may have a problem they want to solve, the CIOs said. Finally, don't ignore the CIO during the engagement. "Partners we value truly care more about the relationship and solving the problem than the transaction," Stevenson said. "You need to position yourself with the personality of the company and bring a different set of skills to the table."
Pat Calhoun, general manager of network security at McAfee, unveiled McAfee's product road map, which includes the incorporation of its Stonesoft next-generation firewall acquisition. The company also has incorporated its acquisition of ValidEdge sandboxing technology for malware behavioral analysis. Sandboxing is a component in McAfee's Advanced Threat Defense technology. Calhoun said the company's strategy is not only to detect advanced threats but also to contain and isolate an infection, then automate the process of fixing it. McAfee also unveiled the next version of its NitroSecurity security information event management system with endpoint awareness, enabling businesses to query, collect and analyze information about internal operations and endpoints across the enterprise.
McAfee Channel Chief Gavin Struthers moderated a discussion and question-and-answer period with company President Mike DeCesare (right). McAfee is fully committed to the channel, DeCesare said. The company is working hard to communicate and respond to partner concerns, he said. There may be a person in the 8,000 McAfee employees that disrupts the relationship with a partner and DeCesare said he wants to hear about it. In addition, DeCesare said McAfee desires partners that want to sell its broad portfolio of security technologies from its endpoint security platform to its data loss prevention software and its security information event management system to its next-generation firewall appliances. DeCesare said the biggest competitors he worries about is Cisco Systems, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. Large companies with strong services arms are winning deals, he said.
DeCesare (right) said the company is stepping back to re-engineer the foundation of McAfee to be sustainable and scalable moving forward. A huge focus is on the data exchange layer, he said. McAfee also could do a better job executing on Intel's hardware-based security strategy. The company currently uses Intel's chipset to make encryption faster, but McAfee is investing heavily in research and development on technologies that embed security into the chip. Most security products run above the operating system layer, making it difficult for the technologies to detect and isolate advanced threats, he said. "There's a strong belief that the marriage of the CPU itself and security products provides a better level of security," DeCesare said.
Guest speaker Erik Weihenmayer engaged channel partners with his heartfelt and motivational story about overcoming roadblocks. Weihenmayer, the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2001, also climbed Mount Ararat and completed the Seven Summits in 2002. The 45-year-old motivational speaker described his journey and how he chose to live a fulfilling life. He told McAfee partner summit attendees that some people are campers who, for one reason or another, are content to stay where they are; other people are climbers and will overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and full potential. Weihenmayer told partners that they should be proud that their role is to advise businesses about threats and provide security technologies that keep people safe from cybercrime.