McAfee To Equip Intel Ultrabooks With Anti-Theft Security

During the Intel Developer Forum 2011, (IDF), held this week in San Francisco, executives revved the engines of developers in preparation for the impending Intel Ultrabooks release, expected to ship in 2012.

During an IDF keynote speech, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that Ultrabooks -- a term trademarked by the chip giant -- are high-performing laptops touted as thinner, sleeker, faster and more responsive than conventional notebooks, while offering extended battery life.

The inclusion of anti-theft technology in Ultrabooks aims to benefit OEMs, retailers, and telecommunication providers, among other numerous markets that house sensitive corporate data on mobile devices. And more security mechanisms could be developed with help from the recently announced $300 million Intel Ultrabook Fund available from Intel Capital, the company said.

Meanwhile, Mark Sollazo, president and CEO of SynerComm, a Brookfield, Wis.-based -solution provider, said that McAfee’s anti-theft security technologies embedded in Ultrabooks didn’t have a direct bearing on his business but could likely open up consulting and other upsell opportunities down the road.

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“We don’t look to Intel to expand our revenue per se. We’re not in that space,” Sollazo said. “But Intel helps substantiate the importance of what we call 'enablement.'”

Sollazo said that Intel helped bring heightened visibility into security at the chip level, which ultimately provided the “hooks into what we can do to add levels of security,” he said.

The addition of security that leverages chip-technologies in Ultrabooks, or any other mobile device, could pave the way to add consulting services or provide additional security services or support for customers, Sollazo said.

“If it’s at the chip set level, and those chip sets are in those devices, now we can add layers of security down into those devices where you would have had problems with a software client,” Sollazo said. “If it’s at the chip set level, it’s inherent. All you have to do is enable that and manage it.”

The inclusion of anti-theft technology in Ultrabooks comes at a time when users are relying on easily lost and stolen personal mobile devices to house sensitive personally identifying and financial data, executives said.

“Despite the fact that laptops and personal data are stolen each and every day around the world, people’s computers often hold some of the most private and valuable information, including bank statements, tax returns, pictures and videos,” said George Thangadurai, general manager of PC client services division at Intel, in a statement.

Meanwhile, McAfee executives echoed that the security play in Ultrabooks would give channel partners more visibility as a way to distinguish themselves in the marketplace.

“McAfee has a strong legacy of delivering security solutions to consumers through our partner channel as well as an established partner eco-system,” said Steve Petracca, McAfee senior vice president of consumer marketing, in a statement. “By making easy-to-use anti-theft software for Ultrabook systems available, our partners are able to leverage proven security deployment models to protect consumers. This also allows our partners to differentiate themselves from a crowded field of competitors.”

Sollazo agreed that the Intel brand carried a lot of weight with customers.

“It expands the footprint, and the reach. You can consult into different vertical markets,” Sollazo said. “The future is exciting because of what they can do at a chip set level that other can’t -- at least right now.”