McAfee Enterprise SSE Business Renamed Skyhigh Security

‘We‘ve taken the broader name of Skyhigh Security, which leverages and acknowledges our heritage but also recognizes the massive amount of innovation that the team has delivered,’ says CEO Gee Rittenhouse.


McAfee Enterprise has renamed its Security Service Edge (SSE) business Skyhigh Security as the 725-person organization works to stand up a go-to-market team from scratch.

The San Jose, Calif.-based business chose the “Skyhigh” name to pay tribute to the cloud access security broker (CASB) technology McAfee got from its $590 million buy of Skyhigh Networks in January 2018. And to reflect the company’s broader focus beyond CASB in areas like secure web gateway (SWG) and zero trust network access (ZTNA), the firm opted to have “Security” rather than “Networks” in its name.

“While we leverage the heritage of Skyhigh Networks, we‘ve expanded well beyond that original company,” CEO Gee Rittenhouse told CRN. “And so we’ve taken the broader name of Skyhigh Security, which leverages and acknowledges our heritage but also recognizes the massive amount of innovation that the team has delivered since those earlier days.”

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[Related: McAfee Enterprise Snags Cisco’s Gee Rittenhouse To Run SSE Unit]

Skyhigh Security and Extended Detection and Response (XDR)-focused sister company Trellix are owned by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group (STG) and were formed by joining STG’s $4 billion purchase of McAfee Enterprise in July with its $1.2 billion acquisition of FireEye in October. Rittenhouse and Trellix CEO Bryan Palma worked together at Cisco in security leadership roles from 2013 to 2019.

Skyhigh’s executive team includes a combination of new and old faces, with the company hiring former Armor CMO Diana Massaro to lead marketing and longtime Cisco security sales director Paul Barbosa as chief revenue officer, which includes overseeing Skyhigh’s channel program. Unlike Trellix, which has Britt Norwood and Chris Carter leading channels, Skyhigh hasn’t yet named a dedicated channel chief.

“As customers move to the cloud and adopt cloud, being able to see where their data is and how to protect it leads to a lot of value-added services on top of the platform,” Rittenhouse said. “We’ve already started to engage with channel partners to have them start to put services on top of the platform. That will all be formalized over the next quarter or so.”

More familiar to existing clients will be Skyhigh Networks and McAfee Enterprise product leader Anand Ramanathan, who will do the same for Skyhigh Security; and Abhay Solapurkar, who will return as chief customer officer after holding customer success and support roles at Skyhigh Networks and McAfee. The SSE business already has very strong R&D leaders, so Rittenhouse expects to see minimal changes there.

Skyhigh will leverage Trellix’s channel program as well as its billing and deal registration systems, though he said the interfaces will be rebranded to better establish the Skyhigh name in the partner community. The companies today are allowing Trellix sellers to sell into both Trellix and Skyhigh accounts as well as vice versa to minimize disruption for existing customers, according to Rittenhouse.

In the second half of 2022, Rittenhouse said Skyhigh and Trellix will completely align the pipeline, deal registration, and partner incentives to sellers and sales teams in the proper organizations. McAfee folks with more experience selling XDR went to Trellix while those with more SSE sales experience went to Skyhigh, though many employees currently sell both sides of the product portfolio, Rittenhouse said.

“Everything customer facing, we had to pull apart to create the organization, which was a lot of work,” Rittenhouse said.

The company’s data loss prevention (DLP) engine sits inside Skyhigh to safeguard information in the cloud and integrates into Trellix’s endpoint with support from Trellix’s ePO [ePolicy Orchestrator] management tool to help lock down network and email data, according to Rittenhouse. Between Trellix and Skyhigh, Rittenhouse said there are DLP use cases ranging from the endpoint to the cloud.

“We have created something that brings unique value in the market for our customers by allowing the delivery of those roadmaps to proceed more quickly than it would from a deeply integrated single company,” Rittenhouse said. “This allows us to focus and better support our customers, but it doesn‘t mean that we’re isolated. We still maintain close relationships throughout the organization.”

Skyhigh Security is one of three vendors named by Gartner as a leader in SSE alongside Netskope and Zscaler, which have CASB and SWG as their foundational technologies, respectively. Rittenhouse said Skyhigh stands apart from its peers by using SSE to not only control access to data but also to monitor how data is being used after its first accessed in cloud-to-cloud, user-to-cloud, or data center settings.

Rittenhouse said it’s critical to simplify the experience for users and administrators by having a single set of rules or policies that follow the data regardless of if it’s residing in a SaaS or cloud environment or in a data center or endpoint that’s on-premises. In addition, many of the legacy CASB players still go through a proxy, while Rittenhouse said Skyhigh has broader capabilities since it comes from an API perspective.

“We have a single pane of glass that allows you to see what‘s going on regardless of where your data is,” Rittenhouse said. “The technology stack that we bring to the market makes us unique and is why we are positioned so far to the right on the vision side in the SSE Magic Quadrant.”