What is the mid-market looking for in terms of security?
We have an internal mantra around the importance of delivering solutions that are smart, simple and secure. In a customer and partner survey McAfee conducted this year, we found 60 per cent of companies in this space spend less than one hour a week proactively managing security and only 13 per cent have a security expert. To some of those customers security is a part-time job; the typical IT manager does everything from managing desktops to new applications, building new websites and maintaining security. The problem is security becomes a job they don't really focus on because they have all these other things that are truly adding value and moving their business ahead. We have got to deliver solutions that recognise the customer does not have a lot of time to mess around with that sort of stuff, so simplicity is critical. In the SME space, customers need solutions that offer the same security levels we offer our largest banks and government agencies. We need to deliver that in a smart and simple manner to our mid-market customers.
How is McAfee helping partners embrace the midmarket?
Companies in this space have probably already protected themselves from basic malware problems and are becoming more sophisticated on how they deal with email. They are now starting to realise Web security is a major area of exposure and are waking up to the risk of critical confidential data walking out of their businesses. That can happen in different ways - either maliciously through people trying to hack into the organisation, or their own employees taking confidential data outside. I think there is a huge opportunity for our resellers to capitalise on that and deliver solutions to solve those problems. Some of these threats are pretty sophisticated and resellers can deliver expertise to SMEs that do not have that in-house. We see a lot of our partners building entire practices around how they deliver solutions to these companies - either through traditional consulting services or managed services - and delivering technology in a way that makes it easy for the customer to absorb. We offer an online anti-malware security solution which allows a business partner to deliver any malware solution to customers and then monitor exposures and problems remotely.
How has the security landscape evolved over the past 1-2 years?
It has become much more complex and it's a tough balance. On one side customers are facing a fast evolving and expanding series of threats. There is an explosion in malware, spam and data protection security. But there are really no company resources dedicated to facing that challenge. Companies are trying to build their business and are not necessarily investing proportionately into securing their business.
What are some emerging trends you're seeing in the security space?
We are seeing a lot of movement towards consolidation and easy to manage suites that offer a wide variety of security functions through a single PC console. Our customers are getting beyond the idea of buying a variety of [point] vendor solutions. Vendors are buying other vendors and there is consolidation taking place, but customers want that. They want solutions that offer them breadth across all of their security problems managed in a single, easy to use fashion. They're demanding appliance solutions that are very broad and comprehensive and managed from a single platform or console. That trend is being driven by both the vendor community and customers demanding it.
The ever increasing and complex threat landscape is another new trend. Customers are waking up to data exposure risks and are more highly sensitive towards managing, maintaining and protecting data. Some of this is driven by very real exposures customers experience when they lose that data and some of it is driven by governmental mandates forcing them to be open about the exposures they have had.