McAfee wants to take security to the data level

Security software vendor McAfee says data loss protection is a trend that will increasingly drive the IT security market going forward, and to address it vendors and partners will have to go deeper into the enterprise and address security at the data level.

In a reversal of the usual model, this time it’s actually the business executives that are coming to IT and saying we need data loss protection says Andrew Berkuta, senior security evangelist with McAfee.

By bringing security down to the data level, he says, it doesn’t matter where the data resides. If the data is encrypted, a lost hard drive is just a hardware replacement issue.

With this new approach to security, Berkuta says McAfee will be relying heavily on its channel partners.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity to help a customer not boil the ocean, but do this in consumable steps that can be managed,” said Berkuta.

A lot of it will be project management, he says, drawing on the partner’s intimate knowledge of their client’s business to walk them through the process in a way that makes sense for their business, starting with an area such as human resources, for example.

Michelle Warren, a senior analyst with London, Ont.-based Info Tech Research Group, says protection at the data level is important because data is becoming


“It’s a bit of a marketing spin, protect at the data level, but at the same time it is important,” she said, adding there will be a larger role for the channel to play. “IT seems to be shifting towards more of a consultant-enabled sale, it’s no longer just a box sale, and I think data level protection will follow that natural migration. It’s no longer about the boxes; it’s about the whole solution.”

New Canadian leadership

Like Berkuta, McAfee’s new Canadian general manager, Ross Allen, also wants McAfee’s partners to drive “deeper nails” with their clients.

Allen comes from Copan Systems, a Denver, Colo.-based enterprise storage company. His background also includes stints as president of InfoStream Technologies, a Richmond Hill, Ont.-based systems integrator acquired by Bell.

The first task for Allen will be to grow McAfee’s footprint, with the focus on expanding the vendor’s market share in the corporate and mid-market spaces.

With the size and breadth of the Canadian market, including the multiple time zones, Allen says he’ll be relying on the channel to help him build-out McAfee’s footprint, particularly given the often diverse regional needs of the Canadian market. “We want to use channels to get geographic reach and vertical penetration,” said Allen. “You need face time to get footprint.”

If you’re not a McAfee client you’re probably someone else’s client, says Allen, so the task for McAfee and its partners will be convincing those clients they’re better will also be key.

“The V (of VAR) is the key. How do you get to the V? Everyone has the R,” said Allen. “I’d tell my channel make sure you focus on the V, that’s what separates you from other resellers, and clients today are looking for value.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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