Blue Coat Hires Intel Security CTO Fey To Spearhead Integration

Blue Coat Systems named McAfee products veteran Michael Fey as its new chief operating officer on Thursday, hiring away the executive who has led McAfee's advanced technologies and field engineering activities.

Blue Coat said Fey, who had been serving as executive vice president, chief technology officer, and general manager of corporate products at Intel Security Group (formerly McAfee), would lead the company's acquisition and integration strategy. He also will be responsible for field and customer-facing business operations, and collaborating on strategy, the company said.

Blue Coat was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2011. The company has been on an acquisition spree. Last year, it acquired Netronome, a maker of SSL appliances, and Solera Networks, which makes a network packet capturing appliance used by digital forensics investigators. The company also recently added Norman Shark, a maker of sandboxing technology used for malware analysis.

[Related: Intel Security CTO: Retail Breaches Can Be Eliminated]

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Fey played a key role in integrating McAfee's portfolio and most recently introduced Threat Intelligence Exchange, a communication layer that bridges threat sharing between the company's disparate products. His experience creating more cohesion in McAfee's portfolio will be put to good use at Blue Coat, which is seeking to create a full platform, said Rick Holland, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

"This is a good hire by Blue Coat," Holland told CRN. "Security vendors need to identify the most important problems organizations need to respond to with their limited resources, and that is going to happen with a cohesive platform."

Endpoint visibility is a missing piece in Blue Coat's portfolio, Holland said. The company could very likely be evaluating some of the emerging security vendors that specialize in endpoint visibility and control, detection and response, Holland said. Potential suitors could be CounterTack, Cybereason and Confer, Holland said. Emerging security and systems management vendor, Tanium, would also be a good acquisition candidate for Blue Coat.

Blue Coat built a strong customer base of Fortune 100 companies, large companies that adopted its ProxySG, an enterprise-grade secure web gateway.

Fey assumes his new role from David Murphy, who will continue as a strategic adviser to Clark and the Blue Coat board of directors. Murphy headed Blue Coat's security and acquisition strategy.

"Blue Coat has successfully established itself as a market leader over the last three years by building an integrated portfolio of security solutions, aggressively acquiring companies to enhance that portfolio and delivering best-in-class threat protection," said Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark in a statement. "Now is the time for us to drive expansion in the marketplace, and Mike is the best in the industry to help Blue Coat reach the next level of its growth."

Cisco Systems executive Christopher Young was named senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security. Young, who oversaw the integration of Cisco's $1 billion acquisition of Sourcefire into its portfolio, is leading product development between Intel's hardware and McAfee's security engineering teams. The company is expected to come to market with a chip-based security strategy, getting under the operating system level to detect threats.

An Intel Security partner, who declined to be named, told CRN that losing Fey comes as a surprise, but added that Young's experience should ensure that the loss of Fey doesn't have any negative impact to the security portfolio.

"Intel has done a good job stepping aside and letting McAfee continue to innovate," the partner said. "What happens when joint products are developed is anyone's guess at this point."