McAfee Prepping Partners Ahead Of Endpoint Security Refresh


McAfee has been briefing its channel partners ahead of a serious overhaul to its endpoint security platform that channel chief Gavin Struthers says reduces the complexity of the company's product suites.

Next week the security vendor said it would launch four security suites, rolling out two Complete Protection suites, an enterprise version targeted at organizations greater than 1,000 seats, and a "Business" endpoint protection for businesses with fewer than 1,000 seats. The firm will continue to sell its two scaled-down suites, McAfee Endpoint Protection and Endpoint Protection Advanced.

Four suites represent a significant reduction from the nine suites the company previously sold, Struthers said. Specific details about the revamped endpoint security products will be unveiled next week on the partner portal. The new Complete Protection suite will support the company's ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), a centralized management console that supports McAfee and third-party technology providers.

[Related: Head-To-Head: Symantec Vs. McAfee In Endpoint Protection]

The company's mobile security management platform is included in the package. Complete Protection also will contain the company's Deep Defender hardware-based security, which provides rootkit protection, Struthers said. The company also added full disk encryption and file and folder encryption to its commercial suites.

Channel partners see the suite reduction as a positive move for McAfee. The addition of encryption and the Intel-based Deep Defender helps strengthen the suite's value, said Matthew Biben, sales manager at TLIC Worldwide, a McAfee solution provider based in Exeter, R.I.

"They've been moving away from their old legacy suites," Biben said. "Adding in things like encryption is an important move because it's really become an industry standard for almost every corporate entity."

Managing multiple versions of a vendor's suite can be difficult for a managed services provider, said Kenny Prince, IT services director at Tyler, Texas-based East Texas Copy Services. Prince said his company supports two suites for antivirus, antispyware and antispam protection. "I cannot imagine trying to manage more than three current flavors of a distribution," Prince said.

McAfee is expanding its accelerated deal registration program that previously was only available for deals with small and midsize businesses. Accelerated deal registration for large sales will be guaranteed within a four-hour response time, but should be completed within two hours, Struthers said. In addition to the 25 percent deal registration margin for net new business, the company is also offering an additional 10 percent registration margin on upgrades. In addition, McAfee is offering a $100 reward to partners who submit potential businesses for consideration under McAfee's competitive displacement program.

TLIC's Biben said McAfee's deal registration system has been better than other IT vendors, and the margins are fairly standard for the industry. But Biben said McAfee has attached revenue requirements to its different partnership levels, irritating some partners. For example, a company that misses Elite status -- the highest level attainable -- by 50,000 or so will fall into the Premier category, a step above an entry-level partner.

"We spent months getting feedback from customers and partners on this refresh," Struthers said. "We're doing everything we can do to change the game and bring some of these strong innovations that we've had into the suite and also provide simplicity with protection and performance."

McAfee's engineering team reduced the install time from three to four hours and 20 clicks to about 20 to 30 minutes with the new endpoint suites. The process takes just more than 4 clicks to get basic protection in place, Struthers said. The more seats a business has will extend the time it takes to deploy the software.

Channel kits for resellers and distributors with campaign materials including email and call scripts, customer presentations, training for sales and technical documentation are being offered. An iPad app is also being readied.

"This is biggest refresh in seven years for us in the endpoint and it's important to get all the tools and resources together," Struthers said.

PUBLISHED MAY 24, 2013

This story was updated on May 30, 2013, at 10 a.m. PST, to correct the install time and process.