Competition for Intel Security's MX Logic Customers Heats Up As 2017 Approaches

Intel Security competitors are moving in to replace several products that have been discontinued by Intel. The company, soon to be called McAfee, caused waves in the channel by announcing the sale and end-of-life of nearly a dozen products about a year ago.

One product, in particular, that competitors are lining up to supplant: Intel Security's MX Logic email security and continuity line, which it acquired in 2009 and has since sold as the McAfee SaaS Email Protection line. The product officially hit end-of-life for sale on January 11, 2016, with renewals available through January 11, 2017.

Intel Security named Proofpoint, Sunnyvale, Calif., as the company that would officially support an alternative for MX Logic, saying the email security vendor is a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader and ’has products to match our email security portfolio … and has products that extend to adjacent messaging areas which Intel Security does not have."

[Related: Q&A: Future McAfee CEO Chris Young On New Products, Spinout From Intel And Cybersecurity In The Election]

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But as the deadline for MX Logic approaches, Proofpoint competitors say they are moving into its territory and grabbing hundreds or even thousands of the company’s potential new customers, who would be migrating from MX Logic to Proofpoint's Essentials solution.

’A lot of customers are looking for options. A lot of partners are looking for a new partner," said Sean Broderick, director of North American channels at Mimecast. ’A lot of those partners are coming over to us."

Mimecast added more than 2,000 total new customers in the last quarter, Broderick said, estimating that at least half of that number came from MX Logic migrations. He said customers are drawn to Mimecast’s easy migration process, archiving options and security add-ons like targeted threat protection.

Ryan Walsh, senior vice president of partner solutions at Pax8, said the Lone Tree, Colo.-based cloud distributor has also helped migrate dozens of MX Logic partners away from Proofpoint. He said many of the partners he talked to are ’spooked" by the end-of-life announcement and are looking to move to a vendor with a strong channel background, easy migration process and comparable technology.

Walsh said competition is fierce among vendors to land former MX Logic partners, and Pax8 has been ’pretty aggressive in reaching out to partners." He said many partners have turned to Pax8 because of the company’s background with MX Logic – Walsh was vice president of product management at MX Logic prior to its acquisition by McAfee in 2009 and helped develop the group’s channel strategy.

’It’s been very competitive since that news came out of [Intel Security] … There are a lot of claims being thrown out there and who can they trust?" Walsh said.

A Sophos spokesperson said, in an email to CRN, that the company is also winning former MX Logic customers. Symantec and Intel Security both declined to comment.

CRN spoke to many partners in recent weeks who resold MX Logic. Those partners said they are now evaluating alternatives when migrating their customers. Michael Goldstein, CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based LAN Infotech, said he has migrated almost all of his customers to Mimecast, a vendor he was already a partner with.

’I liked what Proofpoint had to offer, but it was not enough for me to go out here and take on another product," Goldstein said.

Another partner, who did not want to be named, said he started moved clients to Proofpoint, but has since migrated them to alternatives since he found the vendor is ’not going a good job there," with less capabilities around the Essentials line that is the chosen migration alternative.

’We are moving people off of MX Logic to alternatives," the executive said.

Neill Reidy, manager of cloud computing at Wayne, Pa.-based Evolve IP, said in an email that his company has performed hundreds of migrations off MX Logic to Mimecast. He said the process is "so far, so good" with those clients, who he said are particularly drawn to Mimecast’s archival capabilities.

’This market is thinning out and only the really efficient companies are left," Reidy said. ’Mimecast is one of them … It's also not about just email security anymore. Archival is huge and nobody feels like contracting yet another vendor to do that piece. So, Mimecast scores again. In fact, nobody else that I looked at could offer everything," Reidy said.

Intel Security made the product end-of-life announcements, as well as the sale of two product lines, in October 2015 around its annual Focus conference. The moves were part of a new strategy through which Intel Security pivoted beyond protection to focus on the entire threat-defense life cycle of protection, detection and correction. That change in strategy would, as Senior Vice President and General Manager Chris Young said at the time, require some "tough tradeoffs." Company executives said at this year's Focus event in Las Vegas that the company was done with product end-of-life announcements for the time being.

At the time of the announcement, Proofpoint executives said the deal was a multimillion-dollar opportunity for the company. CEO Gary Steele said on a recent earnings call that the "pipeline of opportunities continues to grow" from the relationship, with particular success migrating smaller Intel Security/McAfee customers and driving additional recurring subscription services. However, that relationship has been slower to accelerate, with Steele saying the previous quarter that it "has yet to contribute materially to our financial results above our historical baseline of activity."

Dee Dee Phelps Acquista, vice president of worldwide channels at Proofpoint, said the company has added ’lots of new partners" through the end-of-life migration agreement, as well as hired a few employees that used to work for the Intel Security division. She said she could not comment on exactly how much business or partners the company has won from the migrations.

’I would say we are doing well and I think we are pleasantly surprised by the growth were seeing there," Phelps Acquista said, especially as the company pushes to grow its presence and reputation with partners.

The opportunity for migrations for all parties involved is still far from over, Pax8’s Walsh said. While some customers chose to migrate right away, Walsh said he sees a significant runway of customers who have yet to move. Walsh said migrations were "slower than we thought" in past months, but now sees more of a "sense of urgency" going into the final months of the year.

"If partners haven’t moved their customers, I think they will be more motivated to move because they really won’t have an option to stay … Now it’s coming and now it’s here," Walsh said.