McAfee Enhances Product Portfolio, Unveils New Security Operations Centers

Since emerging from Intel as a standalone cybersecurity company in April 2017, McAfee has consistently made multiple new product announcements simultaneously. It has continued that model this week with a new version of the Enterprise Security Manager (ESM 11), and enhancements to Behavioral Analytics, Investigator, Advanced Threat Defense, and Active Response.

Significantly, it has also unveiled two new security operation centers (SOCs) that combine physical and cybersecurity into the McAfee Security Fusion Centers, located in Plano, Texas and Cork, Ireland. This is McAfee using its own products for its own organization: McAfee ‘eating its own dog food’ as its own Customer Zero. 

McAfee LogoThe SOCs have a triple purpose — to protect McAfee; to use McAfee products in a live scenario to provide practical feedback to the developers; and to provide an educational environment for customers to see McAfee SOC products in live action rather than choreographed simulation. The ‘practical feedback’ also provides an illustration of a key principle in McAfee’s product philosophy: man and machine integration, each learning from and benefiting the other. 

“The big deal for the McAfee Security Fusion Centers,” writes McAfee CISO Grant Bourzikas in an associated blog, “is that they have a dual mission: 1) to protect McAfee, and; 2) help us build better products. And for myself, I would add a third objective: help our customers to learn from our experiences protecting McAfee. We want to help them build better reference architectures, learn how to communicate with boards of directors and become more innovative in solving cybersecurity problems.” The Fusion Centers also, of course, demonstrate McAfee’s faith in its own products.

The new ESM 11 architecture shares large volumes of raw, parsed and correlated security events to allow threat hunters to quickly search recent events, while storing the data for future forensic and compliance requirements. The architecture is horizontally scalable with active/active availability through the addition of extra ESM appliances or virtual machines.

Behavioral Analytics provides machine learning technology to discover high risk events that might otherwise be missed by human hunters. It distills billions of events down to hundreds of anomalies and then to ‘a handful of prioritized threat leads’ — highlighting the signal in the noise — and integrating with the McAfee product portfolio and other third-party SIEMs. 

Investigator shares data with open source and third-party tools to streamline workflows and improve collaboration.

Active Response has been enhanced by integration with Investigator to help analysts scope the impact of a threat across endpoints in real-time. Integration with Advanced Threat Protection also allows analysts to view sandbox reports and IoCs from a single workspace; while allowing the detection of PowerShell exploits and their remediation by isolating any affected host.

“Existing tools and approaches are too reliant on human expertise” says Jason Rolleston, VP of security analytics, commenting on the product announcements. “The answer is human-machine teaming, where analytics- and machine learning-powered solutions augment the security team to detect more threats, faster and with fewer people.”

ESM 11 and Behavioral Analytics are available now. Investigator will be available in April, and the enhancements to Advanced Threat Defense and Active Response will be available in May. 

Related: McAfee Launches Security Platform for Azure Cloud 

Related: Inside McAfee’s Acquisition of Skyhigh Networks 

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.

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