6 Things To Expect From Intel Security's Focus Event This Week

On The Main Stage

In September, Intel Security said it would spin out from parent company Intel, returning to its security-only roots as McAfee. At the company's annual Focus event this week in Las Vegas, company executives will take the main stage in front of hundreds of customers and partners, outlining the company's direction and what investments it will be making as a stand-alone company. In an exclusive sneak peek interview with CRN, Senior Vice President of Global Channel Operations Richard Steranka (pictured) walked through some of what partners can expect to hear at the event, including new technology, an update on strategy and some celebrity appearances.

The New McAfee

While the spinout will be a backdrop to the conference, Steranka said he doesn't expect it will be the main focus of the event. Steranka said Intel Security, soon to be McAfee, will remain consistent in its message around the spinout: that the company's strategy won't change and it will "remain core to what our company is all about and where we see opportunity to capture growth." He said he expects future McAfee CEO Chris Young (pictured) will tout the benefits of a nimbler mode of execution, new windows for opportunity through private equity, merger and acquisition activity, and more.

New Products

A large focus of the event will be rolling out new products that center around the company's cloud-first security strategy and platform approach, a strategy it rolled out at last year's Focus event. The announcements coming this week around endpoint, data center, data protection, cloud security and more will show that Intel Security is continuing to put full investment behind that strategy, Steranka said, after making some end-of-life changes and R&D investments over the past year.

"We've been delivering for some time, but we're really beginning to see the true fruit with our new product announcements," Steranka said. Steranka said partners shouldn't expect to see any further end-of-life announcements.

Partner Program Changes

While there will be no formal announcements around changes to the partner program at Focus, Steranka said Intel Security continues to refine its partner program to focus on more strategic partners and drive mutual profitability and better customer outcomes. Leading up to the event, Intel Security outlined some new new Platinum inventive rebates, effective in the fourth quarter, to reward partners for new growth and selling across the portfolio. Steranka said Intel Security has also recently raised the Platinum requirements for partners, with specialization requirements, raised bookings and credential requirements. At the same time, Steranka said Intel Security has lowered the bar for payouts, allowing partners to get money at a lower threshold of their quota, starting at 80 percent. Steranka said Intel Security is also focused on improving its back-end systems and building synergy between its own sales force and its partners.

Changing Trends In Security

Steranka said Intel Security will also look to address some of the changing trends in the security space right now, especially the Internet of Things, an area he said is a "growing threat landscape for businesses." Steranka said Intel Security still has a play in that market, working with Intel. Steranka said Intel Security will also address trends around what he called the "second economy," or the virtual economy, and how partners and customers can gain the upper hand and keep it, even as attackers adapt to new prevention technologies.

"How quickly you can react now to threats is becoming so, so significant. … Speed and agility are key elements of companies that are successful in the second economy," Steranka said.

Competitive Landscape

Another trend that Steranka said the company would address is the changing competitive landscape, with lots of industry consolidation and changing market positions. Customers are facing a complex threat landscape, a lack of resources and a rapidly changing security landscape, and Steranka said it is key they place their bets with the right technology vendor. That being said, Steranka said Intel Security is more focused on developing its own strategy going forward than what its competitors are doing.

"There is a lot of things going on in the industry … but our approach and our main objective is to share what we're doing and not focus on the competitors," Steranka said.

Big-Name Fun

While partners and customers will be hearing from top Intel Security executives during Focus about new products and strategies, there will also be multiple celebrity guest appearances. Ashton Kutcher (pictured) will take the stage Wednesday to talk about investing in technology companies and Ted Koppel will follow on Thursday to talk about cyberthreats, following on the release of his book last year "Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath." Closing out the event Thursday is a special concert featuring the Goo Goo Dolls.