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McAfee promises new round-the-clock support

Want to add another IT staffer to your operation? McAfee says you can have one for $35,000 a year.

For $35,000 a year, McAfee says it'll give enterprises what amounts to an extra IT staffer.

That's one of the key selling points the Santa Clara, Calif.-based antivirus firm is using to market a new, souped-up support service it rolled out Monday. Customers have a choice between two levels of service -- Gold or Platinum. Both consolidate a variety of smaller, previously available services into one centralized package companies can tailor to their specific needs, McAfee said.

Go with the Platinum package and McAfee promises to assign you your very own security advisor.

"Instead of individual services, the customer gets a centralized package with everything rolled in," said Mike Callahan, VP of McAfee's technical support group. "It also allows customers to better customize that support to fit their needs. The big point about the Platinum service is that for a $35,000 [a-year] add-on, you get your own security advisor."

The company said customers can access the new services through McAfee SecurityAlliance partners globally. Prices vary based on the level of services an enterprise asks for, Callahan said.

The Gold package includes live round-the-clock telephone support and gives enterprises quick access to "experienced and highly skilled IT security support staff -- during and after business hours -- for emergency product and security assistance when customers' critical operations are affected," McAfee said. "Customers decide on a service level with the option to add services, such as multilingual support or on-site hardware service. McAfee will also offer customizable support options that can be purchased independently as stand-alone programs."

The Platinum package includes the Gold features plus "additional personalized proactive support on a 24/7 basis from an assigned certified technical account manager with deep expertise and knowledge," McAfee said. The Platinum package also includes McAfee's security alert feature, weekly account updates, on-site evaluations from the account manager and a security newsletter.

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Callahan said the new services are in response to customer feedback.

"Customers have told us they want faster advice, a faster response and they want to be able to do things on their own timetables," he said.

The new service is McAfee's latest attempt to regain some of the footing it has lost in an increasingly saturated antivirus market. Last year the company changed its name from Network Associates to the name of its flagship AV product. At the RSA Security conference in February it unveiled a new antispyware tool for enterprises. Symantec, one of McAfee's main competitors, released its own enterprise antispyware tool on the same day.

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