McAfee CEO:Threats Too Complex For Single Product Solutions

compliance malware

That was the overriding message imparted by McAfee President and CEO Dave Dewalt in an afternoon keynote during Interop Las Vegas 2008 on Wednesday.

With the maelstrom of security threats and regulations facing companies every day, Dewalt said, "It's like living on the edge. This is what it feels like," he said.

Dave Dewalt Speaks At Interop Las Veagas 2008

One of the reasons can be attributed to copious amount of mobile devices -- more than a billion mobile phones, and more than a billion PCs, were shipped last year. And malware is increasing on those devices. Malicious threats such as Trojans, phishing, botnets have experienced 60 percent growth year after year, Dewalt said.

In particular, Web-based threats have lately taken center stage as one of the prevailing attack methods, particularly with the onslaught of user-based content and applications, which further open threat vectors and putting companies at risk, Dewalt said.

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Meanwhile, cyber crime has migrated from what Dewalt termed as a "teenager in his parent's basement," to an entity that is highly sophisticated, organized and financially motivated -- with names like Cult of the Dead Cow, Gray Pigeon, and the Russian Business Network.

"There is a huge syndication of criminal groups that are looking to profit from vulnerabilities being exploited," said Dewalt.

Add to that data losses which appear on a regular basis in headline news, compiled with numerous compliance regulations such as HIPAA , PCI, FISMA and COBIT, and companies are facing challenges like they have at no other point in time, Dewalt said.

"Devices, malware, date loss are up, and now we've got compliance as well? No wonder people want to jump," said Dewalt. "Internally, what are corporations trying to do? How do they solve this problem?"

In the past, companies have tried to protect against a multitude of threats with individual end point products, resulting in numerous products that consume energy and resources to protect against threats.

However, applying numerous best-of-breed products for each security threat becomes problematic with resulting excessive bandwidth consumption that bogs down networks and ultimately impedes productivity and performance, Dewalt said.

"I've got a stack of products that I've got to manage. Performance goes down, the ability to report goes down; this is the state of most corporations today," said Dewalt. "If you bring the world virtualization on top of this, it's even more complex."

"After a while you have an entire data room filled with appliances," he said. "This has got to be solved."

In order to address these challenges, Dewalt noted that companies are consistently looking to consolidate security technologies in suites, with one agent and a single console -- especially in an era where companies are looking to apply technologies that will reduce costs and resources.

"I think you're going to see a major change," said Dewalt. "Customers are looking for better ways to increase performance, compliance and protection."

That move to consolidate will result in a single environment to a single blade with eight to ten times the performance, while a single appliance can offer multiple features security features at a fraction of the cost, Dewalt said.

Ultimately, the security threatscape will lend itself to a suite based approach to security, Dewalt said, which will keep companies from becoming overwhelmed and feeling like they're "living on the edge."

"We're continuing to do more and more of this," said Dewalt. "Trends are really changing the way we do things."