McAfee plans to deliver more scalable versions of its email and web security appliances, designed for enterprise users.
The new products will be available by the end of 2007, according to McAfee CTO Christopher Bolin, who discussed them at McAfee's analyst conference in New York. "We've recently just okayed a project to build a very high-end enterprise product, a blade server approach to this problem," he said during a webcast of the event.
McAfee already sells web- and email-filtering appliances called Secure Web Gateway and Secure Messaging Gateway, but these new products will be able to serve a much larger number of clients, McAfee said, without disclosing specifics.
McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt told analysts that the need for an enterprise-class offering was made clear to him in a recent customer meeting with Citigroup. "We didn't have the ability to cross-sell our network appliances very easily, at least not at the enterprise level," he said.
The new products will ship into a marketplace that is in the throes of consolidation.
DeWalt said that web filtering vendor Websense's recent purchase of SurfControl also presented an opportunity for his company in the enterprise market. "It's going to take them seven plus months to bring those two companies together. We can completely disrupt that market," he said.
The SurfControl acquisition is expected to close four months after final regulatory approval, which is still pending in the UK.
Another competitor in this space will be Cisco, which is on the verge of completing its $830m acquisition of IronPort Systems, a seller of web- and email-security appliances.
McAfee is taking the opposite approach to its closest competitor Symantec, which last year shuttered most of its security appliance operation in order to focus on software development.
Still, McAfee may find opportunities in this new sliver of the enterprise market, said Andrew Jaquith, an analyst with Yankee Group Research. "It's a good strategy to try and skim off some revenue that's being taken by others in this space," he said. "I don't see how it can hurt them."