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McAfee releases new security suite for Macs

Citing an increased use of Macs by businesses, McAfee unveils Endpoint Protection for Mac to help enterprise customers centrally manage security.

Updated 1:45am PST Tuesday with pricing information.

McAfee has released a new security suite designed to help businesses better handle security for their growing segment of Macintosh computers.

Targeting small to large companies, McAfee Endpoint Protection for Mac provides antivirus and antispyware features, and both an inbound and outbound firewall, McAfee said Tuesday.

The company is positioning the tool as a plus for IT administrators and for users. Administrators can use the same console to manage McAfee security on both Mac and Windows machines, said the company. The software lets administrators deny or control which applications can run on supported Macs. The suite's ePolicy Orchestrator tool can also generate reports of malicious activity for review.

Some have debated whether the Mac needs security software since it has traditionally been a less visible target than Windows for attack. But with Internet threats continually on the rise, few computer environments are completely immune. Even Apple has advised Mac users to protect themselves with security software.

Antivirus software for the Mac has been sold for a long time by companies such as Symantec and McAfee. But most products have been geared to the individual user.

McAfee sees its Endpoint Protection suite as filling a growing need at schools, companies, and government agencies that have adopted more Macs in recent years.

"The demand for Macintosh in the enterprise is steadily growing, yet organizations are either not using any security technology for these endpoints, or they are using a standalone, non-manageable anti-virus protection solution," Peter Lincoln, IT director at Aquent, said in a statement provided by McAfee. "The use of McAfee Endpoint Protection for Mac enables us to have complete protection on all our endpoints. Using the same integrated management console also allows us to lower our operational cost and ensure security and compliance."

A survey conducted last year by ITIC showed that a greater number of companies were planning to allow Macs into their workforce.

McAfee Endpoint Protection for Mac is compatible with the latest release of Apple's Snow Leopard as well as existing Leopard and Tiger environments. A McAfee spokesperson said the product's retail price would be $55.08 per computer for a network of 500 - 1000 computers. The pricing includes one year of Gold technical support.