Competitors Slam Intel Security's Exit From Product Lines, Look To Take Advantage

Last month, Intel Security moved to sell or end the life of multiple product lines. This month, its competitors are looking to take advantage of the move, slamming the vendor's approach and signing up some of its partners.

In October, CRN learned -- and Intel Security later confirmed to partners -- that the company was selling its McAfee Next-Generation Firewall and McAfee Firewall Enterprise business units (formerly Stonesoft and Sidewinder, respectively) to Raytheon|Websense for an undisclosed amount. The news came on the heels of the end-of-life announcement of nearly a dozen email, SaaS and mobile security lines.

Intel Security's move comes as other vendors, such as Sophos and Symantec, look to extend their portfolios to build an end-to-end security vision. For example, this week, Sophos launched what it calls the Security Heartbeat, a synchronized security solution that unites threat intelligence across the endpoint and network. That type of end-to-end solution from a single vendor is what partners are demanding, said Kendra Krause, vice president of global channels at Sophos.

[Related: As Intel Security Cuts And Sells Multiple Products, Waves Of Uncertainty Hit Partners]

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"VARs want to be able to offer that complete security approach," Krause said.

That comprehensive security approach also leads to more effective security, a Symantec spokesperson said when asked about the impact of the Intel Security portfolio exits. The spokesperson cited its Symantec Advanced Threat Protection solution as an example, where customers can get a complete picture of important threat vectors across endpoints, networks and email in a single console.

"It’s critical that organizations protect email not in isolation but as part of a broader security solution," the Symantec spokesperson said.

At its Focus 15 event in October, Intel Security said the product line changes were part of a larger strategic revision for the company, where it was looking to focus on delivering the full threat defense lifecycle around prevention, detection and correction. In pursuing that vision, Intel Security Senior Vice President and General Manager Chris Young said, the company would have to make some "tough tradeoffs" to maximize the investments around the new strategy.

CRN reached out to Intel Security for comment for this article, but did not hear back.

As vendors such as Intel Security move away from that model, Sophos' Krause said she has seen partners jump ship from some of the legacy leaders to Sophos as they look to consolidate to a few or even a single vendor.

"It means ease of doing business, it’s a stronger story, it’s a stronger partnership, we are definitely seeing a lot of partners from those legacy competitors come over to Sophos," Krause said.

Justin Gilbert, channel sales manager at AppRiver, said his company, which, among other things, offers competitive email security solutions to the ones discontinued by Intel Security, has already seen calls from partners looking to make the switch, even though the company isn't doing any aggressive marketing around the news. In particular, he said he is getting calls around email continuity, spam and anti-virus, encryption and email archiving.

Gilbert said AppRiver's stability with the channel over the past 13 years has allowed it to be continually successful as its competitors go through turbulent mergers, acquisitions and product changes.

"Each time something like this happens, it definitely allows us to expand our horizons even more," Gilbert said. "We get a breath of fresh air with new partners and fine tune our solutions."

Gilbert recommended partners evaluate their vendor's stability, what services and support they offer, and the channel pricing model they offer.