You don’t know Jack

Jack Sebbag
McAfee Canada GM

Jack Sebbag, for one, is happy with McAfee’s transition away from Network Associates. It stopped him from constantly explaining to customers and partners that the company was once known as McAfee.

But, changing its name back to its original moniker wasn’t enough. McAfee also divested itself of some non-security technologies, most notably Sniffer. According to Sebbag, McAfee wanted to be viewed in the marketplace as a true security company. And, by doing so it would distance itself from a multitude of anti-virus competitors.

Recently, Sebbag sat down with CDN to discuss how he is trying to strengthen its channel among other topics.

CDN: What are you doing specifically in Canada to strengthen your channel?

Jack Sebbag: McAfee Canada has always been a partner-driven organization. We put together a lot of channel initiatives such as the deal registration program where we pay extra margins when partners bring us deals. By having a tier certification process, giving more margins to those companies who have a large number of SEs and sales reps that are certified has been well received.

CDN: One of the criticisms of the channel here in Canada is that they are too general and not really specialized, especially in security. Are you seeing the same thing?

J.S.: That is a great topic. A lot of the major resellers (such as) Nexinnovations and Compugen are doing well from a revenue perspective, but the folks we are seeing grow their security expertise are having or are able to gain larger market share. That is too bad, because the larger resellers have potential to do better in this market place. The banks and the large insurance companies want to deal with the big resellers but they do not have the expertise and skill sets. They need to specialize. They cannot be generalists.

CDN: Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, Trend Micro, Panda, Kaspersky, CA, F-Secure, Bit-Defender and a bunch of others. Is the security market the wild west of IT today with so many players?

J.S.: All these players that you mentioned here are anti-virus players and if we were only in the anti-virus business I would certainly agree with you. But, over the last three or four years we have become a pure play security company. Anti-virus is an important part of our business, but with all the different threats out there now organizations need desktop firewall, host intrusion prevention, network access control, anti-spam, gateway applications or have all of these integrated into one technology with a single console.

CDN: Do you believe that there will be consolidation soon, and if you do believe that, will McAfee be a player in buying some of these companies?

J.S.: Consolidation has already begun. We have seen a lot of these niche players in anti-spam or desktop firewall. These companies have done well and they have been acquired by larger companies such as ourselves. With US$1.3 billion in cash we are going to grow both organically and by acquisition.

CDN: You always speak of pimply faced teenagers who can never get a date on Saturday night so they instead create and distribute viruses that really slow down the efficiency of any business. Does that characterization of the virus writer still hold true today?

J.S.: No these 14-year-old kids who could not get a date are now 22 years old and need to make more money because they are getting married and need to drive sports cars. They have to be motivated with spyware, phishing and denial of service attacks. These are all financially motivated attacks. They are using malicious code writing for their own financial needs. They are very good at what they do. These methods are continuing to be used. Spam writing is another area where they can make a lot of money.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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