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Future McAfee CEO: We Will Be The 'Biggest And Best Cybersecurity Player Out There'

Sarah Kuranda

With a return to being a stand-alone security vendor, courtesy of a blockbuster private equity deal at the beginning of September, leader Chris Young said Intel Security plans to be the ’biggest and best’ cybersecurity vendor in the market.

’The opportunity for us … is to create the biggest and best cybersecurity player that's out there. We see this opportunity to be a real platform player, but 100 percent focused on cybersecurity and really pure-play in that mission,’ said Young, who currently serves as senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security and will serve as CEO when the spin-out is completed next year.

The deal spins out Intel Security from parent company Intel, creating a stand-alone security vendor. Intel Security will return to the McAfee name after the close, which it dropped after its acquisition of the company for $7.7 billion in 2010. Intel will retain 49 percent ownership, receiving $3.1 billion in cash, and private equity firm TPG Capital will own 51 percent.

[Related: Q&A: Future McAfee CEO Chris Young On Intel Spin-Out And Why 'Future Is Bright' For Intel Security And Partners]

’Intel is a great company and I think we’re better for having been a part of Intel, but this allows us … to be an independent organization, completely focused on cybersecurity at our core,’ Young said.

Over the past year, Intel Security has adopted a new strategy to be a platform player for the full threat defense life cycle, investing in technologies for protection, detection and response. The security vendor has also had to make some ’tough choices’ when it came to its product portfolio, including the sale and end of life of around a dozen product lines. With those changes as the foundation, Young said the ’new McAfee’ will be coming to market with a ’solid’ strategy and a full set of offerings to meet rising customer demands for platform security players.

’Every partner wants to deal with fewer players and they want more technology providers they can partner with to deliver large-scale solutions, and that’s the opportunity really that is out there for us as an independent company. We’re excited about that,’ Young said.

Young said he was confident that full set of capabilities will set Intel Security apart as the market sees a rise in next-generation endpoint security startups, which are looking to take share from the traditional and aging anti-virus market, where Intel Security has a significant business.

’We’re still one of the largest players in the space by a long way relative to many of the players that are out there. I’m glad that the small companies are innovating and making a big push, but at the end of the day we’re far and away larger, we have thousands of engineers working on this problem, and venture capital firms and startups aren’t going to solve a problem as complex as this one on their own,’ he said.

As for the big-name competitors, like Symantec, Young said ’they have their work cut out for them’ and ’nothing changes’ in the competitive landscape with the competitor’s recent acquisition of Blue Coat Systems.


"Customers need large players that can scale and provide the full breadth and depth of capabilities that they need. There’s room for small players, but there’s also a huge need for players like ourselves to help customers solve their problems holistically, not slice it off in tiny bits and bytes, which make things more complex to manage," said Young.

In the months to come, Young said partners can expect to see Intel Security showcase major releases ’across the board, in all of our product lines,’ including DLP, MOVE, SIEM, IPS, the endpoint suite and more. Going into 2017, Young said Intel Security will invest further in advanced threat detection, threat management, converged cloud-oriented solutions, data loss prevention, data center security and the company’s platform architecture. He said the new structure will also allow the company to make acquisitions in the long term to ’augment what we’re doing in our business as an independent company solely focused on cybersecurity.’

Those future investments are what partners are most excited to see out of the spin-out deal, multiple partners told CRN. Some partners, who did not want to be named, said the deal allows Intel Security to better leverage its talent and portfolio. They said the company was not able to do that to its full potential under Intel.

Jamie Shepard, senior vice president of health care and strategy at Addison, Texas-based Lumenate, said he is ’fired up’ about the spin-out, expecting to see more investment around the endpoint. He said he expects Intel Security will quickly make some acquisitions and alliances, moves he said would help better solidify its market position and recuperate the hit it has taken from the elimination of some of its product liens and an overall declining antivirus market.

’It will give them much more freedom,’ Shepard said.

As McAfee, Young said the company will remain tied to Intel, which retains a 49 percent stake, particularly around OEM agreements with the consumer business and leveraging Intel Labs. He said TPG Capital will be a majority owner and provide help in spinning out from Intel and continue growth, but not run the company.

’This industry needs big, healthy cybersecurity players that don’t force customers to compromise. Customers need us, they need us to be broad and deep in what we provide and there’s no reason there can’t even be a few of us doing that. I think this company will be the leader in that space,’ Young said.

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