McAfee aims to broaden portfolio with Secure Computing buy

Through acquisitions like Secure Computing, McAfee is surrounding its existing franchises with additional complementary pieces.

Since joining McAfee from EMC, CEO Dave DeWalt has taken the company on an industry shopping spree, grabbing security companies like Onigma, Reconnex, and SafeBoot. Recent economic turmoil hasn't dissuaded the company from continuing this trend. Monday morning, McAfee announced that it will acquire venerable Secure Computing in a transaction valued at approximately $465 million.

So what do all these acquisitions bring? Diversification. In spite of its size and brand visibility, McAfee was never a niche product company in the past--strong in endpoint security, intrusion detection/prevention, and vulnerability scanning, weak or invisible in everything else. Through acquisitions, McAfee surrounded its existing franchises with additional complementary pieces. Take endpoint security and add encryption. Take content security and add DLP. Pretty soon you have a much broader portfolio.

This is the exact mindset behind the Secure Computing acquisition. McAfee was a no-show in messaging security last week, now it has No. 2 or No. 3 market share. The same thing is true for Web security, reputation services, and "in the cloud" Web security services. McAfee is now a player. Secure Computing also brings an experienced enterprise distribution channel, something McAfee desperately needs to take these new products to large organizations.

Don't expect McAfee's acquisition rampage to dissipate anytime soon. The company still needs to jump into security information management, application/database security, and possibly identity management. Don't be surprised if you see ArcSight, Application Security, Chosen Security, Courion, or LogRhythm join the McAfee stable sometime soon.

Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.
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    Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. He is not an employee of CNET.

     

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