McAfee touts security management standard

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Security firm McAfee has rolled out a new application which aims to streamline IT security management.

Version 4 of ePolicy Orchestrator allows administrators to link network security, antivirus, risk compliance and other enterprise security tools through a single interface on one console.

Kevin LeBlanc, director of product marketing at McAfee's system security and data loss prevention unit, said that the goal is to reduce the clutter on client and administrator desktops.

As the security industry has evolved, users have typically acquired software from a number of vendors, each of which has to be managed individually.

"Time and time again we have heard that the challenge is integrating these pieces of a security system to correlate the data," LeBlanc told

McAfee has aggressively built out its product portfolio in recent years, but the firm admits that it is still lacking a security suite. It does not offer software for virtual private networks, for instance, or to manage digital signatures.

Rather than attempting to edge out other vendors with its own products, McAfee will be inviting them to integrate with ePolicy Orchestrator through a programme dubbed the Security Innovation Alliance.

McAfee revealed a series of APIs as well as a software development kit that allows third-party security vendors to let ePolicy Orchestrator manage their products.

Although McAfee refers to its standard as an "open architecture", the underlying standards are still controlled and governed by the security firm.

Vendor-controlled APIs have a poor track record in gaining industry-wide support because they put potential partners at the vendor's mercy.

Competing security firms such as Symantec and Trend Micro, for instance, have little to gain from supporting McAfee's standard.

McAfee has added support for Symantec Antivirus 9 to a version of ePolicy Orchestrator due to ship on 25 September, and has promised to add support for additional competitors in the coming moths.

Chris Christiansen, vice president of security products and services at IDC, argued that smaller security firms that create so-called best-of-breed solutions are more likely to be attracted by the programme.

The analyst also believes that supporting McAfee's software could increase the appeal of its software over competitors that lack such support.

The ultimate success of the Security Innovation Alliance, however, may depend more on McAfee's ability to get the word out.

"I think it is too early to tell," said Christiansen. "It is all dependent on how hard McAfee evangelises around the world, but I think they will be pretty diligent."
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