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McAfee, Verizon Business partner to develop cloud security services

Extensive deal also positions Verizon as major McAfee reseller and managed security services provider for its products.

McAfee Inc. and Verizon Business have entered a far-reaching partnership, featuring co-development of new cloud security services and Verizon signing on as a major reseller and managed security services provider of McAfee products.

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"McAfee has a lot of partnerships and established close relationships with other providers, but this is a deeper type of relationship that goes beyond the traditional channel agreement," said Amy Larsen DeCarlo, senior analyst for Stirling, Va.–based Current Analysis. "Both are gaining some good benefits that augment their strengths. The development pieces are most interesting."

Starting in 2010, the companies will leverage McAfee's security technology, Verizon's global IT backbone and extensive presence in the security services market to develop new cloud-based services, including email and Web content filtering, firewall, intrusion detection/prevention, antimalware and SSL VPN. 

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"Over the last six years, Verizon has built out the architecture to put security technologies in the cloud, such as our DoS detection and mitigation service," said Cindy Bellefeuille, Verizon director of global security product management. "We're looking to take advantage of that architecture, and we feel technology is ready with partner McAfee to deliver services to our customers."

McAfee acquired one of the last major independent hosted email service providers, MX Logic Inc. in July, but the two companies were non-committal on how MxLogic, which also offers hosted Web content filtering, might figure into the partnership. McAfee became a major network security company when it bought Secure Computing in 2008. That deal also brought in the CipherTrust email and Web security product lines.

The reseller agreement opens important enterprise market opportunities for McAfee said, through Verizon's extensive customer premises equipment (CPE) business, for both product sales and managed services for on-premise hardware and software.

"This is a big deal," said DeCarlo. "It's a huge channel for selling McAfee products."

However, this might not sit all that well with McAfee's other major channel partners, she said.

"Verizon competes against McAfee's partners, not just on reselling products, but on all the services wrapped around them."

The partnership also allows McAfee to tap into Verizon's 1,200-person professional services force. 

"McAfee has a small professional services force," said Paul Rolfe, McAfee vice president of global strategic alliances. "This will give us a partner we can scale with to deliver a breadth of solutions."

In broad terms, the partnership will enable McAfee to expand its presence in enterprise markets, while the new cloud-based services will give Verizon more business opportunities among SMBs.

McAfee will also get a boost in infrastructure by providing data center outsourcing services and helping it consolidate the data centers, to improve management of its Web hosting operations and help it deliver cloud-based services.

Finally, this fall, Verizon will offer McAfee's PCI services to acquiring banks and other organizations that have been charged by the PCI Security Standards Council with bringing Level 4 merchants into compliance.

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