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McAfee FOCUS Conference 2012.jpgEvery year, McAfee hosts the FOCUS security conference to pull together its customers, partners, and industry leaders.  The conference informs and educates attendees on the latest threats, trends, best-known-methods, and showcases McAfee's new technologies and services.  This year's conference was another grand event and success, with a 20% attendee increase over last year, two keynote speeches, and over 70 targeted, highly technical sessions organized into 14 tracks.

 

The first day focused heavily on technologies and how the threat landscape is manifesting new types of attacks.  Mike DeCesare, co-president of McAfee, and Michael Fey, McAfee CTO, did a wonderful job of outlining McAfee's strategy and how it aligns to legacy and emerging attack methodologies.  DeCesare clearly showed how McAfee’s acquisition by Intel is paying dividends with the integration of Intel/McAfee technology, resulting in DeepSAFE/Defender and an ePO-vPro AMT extensibility.  Fey and his team did a real-time demonstration of how new malicious malware continues to evolve and is a real threat, by showing the audience a new critical level Denial-of-Service takedown of a PC, MacOS, and Android system.  They explained how the DeepSAFE/Defender product could prevent such attacks and how ePO with Intel vPro AMT technology can recover PC's remotely without the need of a physical touch by a technician.

 

On day-2, Mike Fey announced a new strategy to advance both the capabilities and economic automation of security controls through a more comprehensive and open ecosystem.  It will leverage the vast McAfee GTI sensor cloud to identify tactical opportunities and advise customer environments, which can benefit at their discretion, by instituting local rules and even share their data to 3rd party services for advanced analysis and management.  This will finally allow customers finer control of risk decisions for their environment, based upon near real-time intelligence gathered worldwide, to rapidly institute and easily maintain technical rules which may be inappropriate at larger scales or for broader communities, but fit perfectly for their local environment and risk appetite. 

 

On the technology side, what was talked to last year with great anticipation, was shown in practice in this year's conference.  In one of the most attended technical sessions, a team of Intel and McAfee speakers showed the architecture and spoke to the benefits of Deep Defender.  In the past year, Deep Defender has become available and activations have been aggressive.  Audiences were impressed with the capabilities and game-changing potential of this exclusive offering.

 

Deep Defender and other DeepSAFE technologies represent a disruptive change in the balance between how attackers and defenders interact.  It has the capability of shifting the initiative to defenders, forcing the attackers into an undesirable position of responding to innovative detection and response technology.  This is very good news for McAfee customers benefiting from the Deep Defender.

 

For those who explored the trade show floor, they were able to catch a glimpse of future Intel/McAfee technologies which may come to market.  Demonstrations of secure boot technology, secure storage, virtualized IPS, secure video/audio, and others were available with lab folks to discuss the potential.

 

Overall, this year’s McAfee FOCUS conference was great investment of time for customers, partners, technologists, and security veterans.  I can’t wait to see what next year’s conference has in store.

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