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McAfee has announced the acquisition of multicloud security platform NanoSec to bolster its cloud security portfolio. Ovum sees McAfee jockeying for position in cloud security following last year's acquisition of cloud access security broker (CASB) vendor Skyhigh Networks.

McAfee is chasing cloud security's potential

NanoSec's Sentinel technology is a wrapper that works for any container infrastructure. It collects telemetry across 80 unique application behavior metrics and sends it to a back end, the NanoSec Software-Defined Controller, which compares it with a behavior-based whitelist, enabling security teams to act when anomalies are detected.

Interestingly, McAfee says NanoSec will bolster its cloud workload protection platform (its security for infrastructure-as-a-service [IaaS] and platform-as-a-service [PaaS]) and its CASB technology. CASBs have traditionally provided security for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) world, but Ovum has seen various attempts by CASB vendors to push into the burgeoning IaaS and PaaS markets to breathe new life into their product offerings. McAfee is clearly following that trend.

This is just the latest in a string of deals in which top-tier enterprise cybersecurity vendors have picked up specialist startups in cloud security. In October 2017 Trend Micro bought Immunio, in October 2019 Check Point bought Dome9, and in the past two years Palo Alto Networks has acquired a string of names, including, RedLock, TwistLock, and PureSec. Like those three heavyweights, McAfee has a huge enterprise customer base to sell cloud security to, so the potential is certainly there.

Elsewhere, McAfee has sought to realign its portfolio for the cloud with the 2018 launch of its MVISION line, which offers cloud-native versions of McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator for endpoint management, Endpoint for endpoint security, and Mobile for mobile security to increase simplicity and ease of management.


Further reading

"Palo Alto Networks Cortex XDR spans endpoint, network, and the cloud for detection and response," INT003-000351 (April 2019)

"McAfee joins the CASB fray with Skyhigh acquisition," INT003-000018 (November 2017)


Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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