I’ll be honest- it’s been a bit tough to stay up to date on current events in the security world over the past month or so. There’s something about nonstop travel and tight project deadlines that isn’t very conducive to keeping up with the good old RSS feed, even when said browsing is a major part of your job. Not that I’m complaining about being able to pay the bills.

Thus I missed Google Chrome, and I didn’t even comment on McAfee’s acquisition of Reconnex (the DLP guys). But the acquisition gods are smiling upon me, and with McAfee’s additional acquisition of Secure Computing I have a second shot to impress you with my wit and market acumen.

To start, I mostly agree with Rothman and Shimel. Rather than repeating their coverage, I’ll give you my concise take, and why it matters to you.

  1. McAfee clearly wants to move into network security again. SC didn’t have the best of everything, but there’s enough there they can build on. I do think SC has been a bit rudderless for a while, so keep a close eye on what starts coming out in about 6 months to see if they are able to pull together a product vision. McAfee’s been doing a reasonable job on the endpoint, but to hit the growth they want the network is essential.
  2. Expect Symantec to make some sort of network move. Let’s be honest: Cisco will mostly cream both these guys in pure network security, but that won’t stop them from trying. They (Symantec and McAfee) actually have some good opportunities here- Cisco still can’t figure out DLP or other non-pure network plays, and with virtualization and re-perimeterization the endpoint boys have some opportunities. Netsec is far from dead, but many of the new directions involve more than a straight network box. I expect we’ll see a passable UTM come out of this, but the real growth (if it’s to be had) will be in other areas.
  3. The combination of Reconnex, CipherTrust, and Webwasher will be interesting, but likely take 12-18 months to happen (assuming they decide to move in that direction, which they should). This positions them more directly against Websense, and Symantec will again likely respond with combining DLP with a web gateway since that’s the only bit they are missing. Maybe they’ll snag Palo Alto and some lower-end URL filter.
  4. SC is strong in federal. Could be an interesting channel to leverage the SafeBoot encryption product.

What does this mean to the average security pro? Not much, to be honest. We’ll see McAfee and Symantec moving more into the network again, likely using email, DLP, and mid-market UTM as entry points. DLP will really continue to heat up once the McAfee acquisitions are complete and they start the real product integration (we’ll see products before then, but we all know real integration happens long after the pretty new product packaging and marketing brochures).

I actually have a hard time getting overly excited about the SC deal. It’s good for McAfee, and we’ll see some of those SC products move back into the enterprise market, but there’s nothing truly game changing. The big changes in security will be around data protection/information centric security and virtualization. The Reconnex deal aligns with that, but the SC deal is more product line filler.

But you can bet Webwasher, CipherTrust, and Reconnex will combine. If it doesn’t happen within the next year and a half, someone needs to be fired.