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Q&A: The future of Stonesoft

McAfee recently completed its acquisition of firewall company Stonesoft. Ashish Patel, regional director at Stonesoft, now a McAfee company, tells Amy-Jo Crowley what the deal means.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Why was Stonesoft founded and what technologies does it provide?

Stonesoft was founded as an innovative provider of integrated network security solutions to secure the information of distributed organisations. We like to believe Stonesoft has led the way in the development of applications that are designed to ensure maximum security across both virtual and physical environments since 2002.

In 2010 we identified a previously unknown network security threat – Advanced Evasion Techniques (AETs). These provide hackers with a means to bypass security devices, penetrate deep into a corporate network, and launch attacks. Stonesoft is working hard to co-ordinate the industry’s response to AETs, and is currently one of the only providers offering protection against these threats to our customers.

How will the recent McAfee acquisition provide Stonesoft with ‘a competitive advantage’ in the network security space market?

This acquisition provides Stonesoft with a clear competitive advantage in the network security space, by allowing our customers to have access to an expanded portfolio of network, endpoint, management and analytics offerings with world class support. With the addition of McAfees key technologies, such as the Global Threat Intelligence (GTI), Stonesoft is able to stand out from its competitors with one of the most complete and effective network security portfolios in the industry. Together, McAfee and Stonesoft will be able to meet the high-performance needs of demanding, secure, distributed networks in today’s future.

How else will the deal shape Stonesoft’s future?

Stonesoft will retain the current team as it is, to help focus the efforts for Stonesoft’s existing end-users, partners and new prospects coming from McAfee looking at our Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) offerings. We will look to expand the team to assist in the exciting prospects the McAfee business unit will bring, with its exceptional relations in both the enterprise and Government market place and the channel. Since the announcement we have seen an upturn in interest from both the channel and end-user community.

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Does the deal present any other challenges for you or the business as a whole?

On the contrary, the deal brings many opportunities for both the existing Stonesoft team and the McAfee community. The only challenge I can see is how to prioritise the opportunities being created. As we have been aware for many years, Stonesoft’s NGFW and IPS capabilities are exceptional and McAfee obviously understand this, shown by the acquisition. With this technology and the McAfee brand and reputation, we can only succeed.

How do you expect online threats to unfold in the near future and how can your firewall technology deal with these threats?

Threats will only continue to grow and become more complex. AETS are a good example of this – for the last few years we’ve been talking about the real-world threat that AETS could bring, and now we are really starting to see them become more prevalent. Companies need to ensure that they are prepared with solutions such as Stonesoft’s Next Generation Firewall products, which are able to deliver a high availability of network security, by creating a protective perimeter around a company to prevent against such complex attacks. These preventative measures will ensure a company’s security, so that they can get on with business.

Who do you feel are your main competitors, and what can you learn from them?

There are many competitors in the NGFW and IPS space. But when you add the unique capabilities surrounding Multi Link and AET protection amongst others that are in the Stonesoft technology, and apply the McAfee capabilities with Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) and ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), we arguably have very few, if not any, real competitors for such a complete solution.

How else are you expanding your portfolio?

As we can see from the acquisition, dynamic organisations, such as McAfee, are continuously expanding their portfolio with the right technologies. The only real challenge we face is apathy around the subject of security from the end-user community in some niche sectors.

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