McAfee Takes To The Cloud With Plan To Purchase Rising Security Star Skyhigh Networks

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McAfee has agreed to buy leading cloud access security broker (CASB) Skyhigh Networks in a bid to establish a dominant position in both the endpoint and cloud cybersecurity markets.

McAfee, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security mainstay, praised Campbell, Calif.-based Skyhigh for pioneering the CASB product category and for its foresight in realizing that cybersecurity should not be an impediment to cloud adoption. The deal is McAfee's first major acquisition since spinning off from Intel in April.

"Skyhigh's leadership in cloud security, combined with McAfee's security portfolio strength, will set the company apart in helping organizations operate freely and securely to reach their full potential," McAfee CEO Chris Young said in a statement.

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Skyhigh founder and CEO Rajiv Gupta will join McAfee's leadership team and run the company's new cloud business unit. The company's existing organizational structure will remain generally intact to ensure continuity for customers and partners.

"McAfee will provide global scale to further accelerate Skyhigh's growth, with the combined company providing leading technologies and solutions across cloud and endpoint security," Gupta said in a statement.

The joint power of McAfee and Skyhigh will enable customers to modernize their cybersecurity environments while at the same time protecting data as it moves into the cloud, Young said in an open message Monday.  

The combined company will establish the cybersecurity architecture of the future, with the endpoint and cloud serving as critical control points linked by the security operations center with actionable threat intelligence, analytics and orchestration, according to Young.

"Cloud security has historically been an afterthought of, or impediment to, cloud adoption," Young said in his message. "With customers' most valuable asset, data, increasingly finding residence in the cloud, it's time security move[d] to the forefront."

The impact of the acquisition on Skyhigh's channel community will largely depend on whether McAfee operates Skyhigh as a wholly-owned subsidiary or absorbs the company's technology into a broader product suite, according to one Skyhigh partner who didn't wish to be identified.

The partner is concerned that folding Skyhigh's technology into part of a more comprehensive offering would stifle innovation and lead to Skyhigh's technology getting less time, attention and resources. The partner said keeping Skyhigh's technology separate under the McAfee umbrella would be a best of both worlds scenario.

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