McAfee MPOWER conference focuses on AI and the cloud

It’s about time.

That was the theme of security firm McAfee’s MPOWER conference in Las Vegas, where it unveiled new products and a platform that offers threat protection across the entire environment from device to cloud to help security professionals detect and deal with threats more quickly.

“Time is our most valuable resource,” chief executive officer Chris Young told attendees, adding that McAfee detects five new threats per second. In fact, on the first day of the conference, according to the continuously updating scrolling display above the stage, by 9 am Pacific time over 164,000 new threats had been discovered.

Adversaries use time to their advantage, Young noted. Ransomware, for example, uses time pressure to force payment. Adversaries will also infect systems on a network with malware, which then remains dormant for a while, learning traffic patterns and seeing what’s important before deciding what to attack, perhaps months after the initial infection.

Newly announced MVISION Insights gives security professionals visibility into the threat landscape using telemetry from the more than one billion sensors worldwide monitored by McAfee. Using machine learning, it tracks and makes sense of the data, providing information on what threats are of greatest risk to an organization and offering suggestions on appropriate actions. Users can then click directly into the right tool to deal with the threat. Insight’s open application programming interfaces (APIs) allow customers to add their own inputs to the mix to generate context.

MVISION Cloud, the cloud access security broker (CASB) that came from McAfee’s 2018 acquisition of Skyhigh Networks, natively integrates security tools into the cloud.

“We’ve gone from cloud fear to cloud friendly to cloud first. Security is not only about protecting data and eliminating risk, it’s about enabling the customer,” said Rajiv Gupta, senior vice-president of the cloud security business unit at McAfee (formerly CEO and co-founder of Skyhigh Networks).

Hackers are increasingly landing in the cloud by taking advantage of misconfigurations, he pointed out, and even when a site is well configured to begin with, drift happens over time that creates vulnerabilities. Combining traditional CASB controls and analytics can mitigate the risk. MVISION Cloud also includes a Cloud Value and Maturity Advisor that provides an objective and peer-compared assessment of a company’s cloud security posture using industry-standard benchmarks, as well as recommendations for improvement.

McAfee Unified Cloud Edge converges the capabilities of MVISION cloud, McAfee Web Gateway, and McAfee Data Loss Prevention through MVISION ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) to provide a single place for security administrators to investigate security events, run reports, enforce a single user experience, and establish and enforce policies across an organization.

Web Gateway and CASB pulled together “is a beautiful thing,” said Said Scott Howitt, senior vice-president and chief information security officer of MGM Resorts International.

Ash Kulkarni, executive vice-president and chief product officer at McAfee, noted, “Data protection has to be consistent across endpoints, network, and cloud. It’s a recipe for disaster using multiple engines and sets of policies; you need one engine, one set of policies, applied consistently.”

Despite the focus on cloud, McAfee’s endpoint security product, ENS 10.7, wasn’t neglected. It received several new features, chief among which were Story Graph, a visualization tool, and rollback remediation that can restore a system to a known good state when malware activity is detected.

Canada, noted Bryan Rutledge, McAfee’s regional vice-president & country manager for Canada, is a bit behind the U.S. in adoption of cloud security, and are also suffering from the universal security talent shortage. McAfee is founding sponsor of a Masters program at the University of Guelph designed to help remedy the latter problem. The company has built a lab there so students can get hands-on experience and thus be valuable in the marketplace more quickly. Rutledge is also focusing efforts on educating both customers and partners about cloud security.

“We won’t stop until we make the cloud the most secure platform for business,” said Young.


Lynn Greiner’s flight and travel accommodations were paid for by McAfee. McAfee did not review this article prior to publication. 

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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