McAfee customers admit the firm 'doesn’t hold the best grades in everything'

By Peter Gothard
25 Oct 2012 View Comments

After McAfee CTO Michael Fey yesterday pledged a multivendor future for the company as part of its dedication to stepping up real-time, global threat reporting in its software, Computing caught up with some partners and customers for their reactions at McAfee FOCUS 2012.

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Corey Cush, assistant vice-president of infrastructure services at New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) remarked that while "McAfee is a great company... they don't hold the best grades in everything".

Specifically, continued Cush, "firewalls are one of the things I don't think they're as strong in. So I look at what I'm trying to protect, and I use this analogy of buying a car. Don't buy a Lamborghini if you've got no autobahn, as you won't use all the speed it can offer. So when I'm purchasing I think price, support, company reputation and business partnership should all play a part in the decision."

Gene Fredriksen, global information security officer of security, fire protection and flow control firm Tyco, concurred: "It's about [asking] ‘What do I need the device to do?' Just because something is in the upper right hand quadrant, it doesn't mean I can use all the functionality of that."

However, Fredriksen displayed slight reservations about McAfee's ambitions, remembering how other companies had tried – and failed – to create such collaborative industry standards in the past.

"I think the operation is going to be there," said Fredriksen, "[but] it's going to take quite a partnership to solve it. We've seen many people offer their platform and say ‘Here's how to communicate with us' and a lot of people didn't bite. So we'll see how it goes."

Andrzej Kawalec, CTO of enterprise strategy services at McAfee partner HP, described McAfee's pledge as "brilliant".

"Our big enterprise clients – particularly in an outsource space – will have a smattering of all those different technologies and products anyway. So the ability to manage them is one of their biggest issues. That's one of the biggest things I get from CIOs when we chat – they need better threat intelligence, and need to understand both what's happening in their organisations, and in the rest of the world."

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