By Varun Aggarwal
What portion of your revenue comes from SaaS offerings? How do you expect it to grow?
Globally, our SaaS business constitutes 5-10 percent of our revenue. We expect this to grow to 10-15 percent in the next couple of years. IDC has predicted a growth of 27 percent in the Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) market over the next five years, so we also expect similar growth in our SaaS revenue. The on-premise market is growing at roughly 10 percent. Thus, the SaaS market is growing three times faster than on-premise, offering opportunity for our partners and us.
How are you taking SaaS to the market? How do partners benefit from this offering?
A recent report released by Zinnov Consultancy states that cloud services in India will be worth $1 billion by 2015, while an IDC survey reveals that 87.5 percent of users surveyed cited security concerns as the primary issue in adopting cloud-based services. McAfee plans to leverage its comprehensive SaaS portfolio of cloud-based security services along with its global threat intelligence network to help make the broader cloud computing ecosystem more safe and secure. As in the case of our other products, we will be using channel routes to bring this product to the market, and will therefore look at adding a few channel partners in the near future. Partners will be entitled to similar margins and benefits from McAfee.
What are the challenges of security in the cloud?
The concern is largely around the integrity of data. Customers could be storing business-sensitive data in the cloud. What we must do is build customer confidence. If we are able to prove that the technology which cloud providers are using is vulnerability-free, and that the technology can’t be penetrated, we’re driving up the customer’s confidence.
Today we have a solution which automates the validation. From a cloud we can identify vulnerabilities in the cloud provider’s cloud and help him understand what these vulnerabilities are and also help to remediate them. Security certifications such as ISO27001 happen just once or at the most twice in a year, whereas we update our security assessment for a cloud provider on a daily basis.
You have appliances, on-premise tools and cloud-based security, so which tools are meant for which requirement?
We want to be delivery-agnostic. Our customers could opt for an appliance, a cloud-based service or on-premise software. We want to be able to meet their needs. We are seeing customers of all sizes use appliances. UTMs are growing significantly in India, especially in the SMB sector because they get all the technologies they want in just one box. A larger organization won’t look for an appliance that combines all features and functions because to scale to say 1,00,000 users would push the architectural boundaries of appliance technology.
While we have a firewall only as an appliance, other solutions such as e-mail and Web filtering are available as an appliance as well as over the cloud. We are seeing a gradual shift in e-mail and Web filtering toward the cloud. Over 50 percent of SaaS is e-mail security—that’s moving fastest to the cloud. However, we feel that firewalls and intrusion detection will continue to be in the appliance form.
The key would be to be able to manage a large number of gateway appliances from the cloud using a management console. The console should be able to manage all the types of security solutions that you have.
What were your channel activities in the last 6-8 months?
We recently held the McAfee Partner Advisory Council which was an interactive platform for us to share with our partners our technology, product roadmaps and info about the various channel programs being rolled out.
We also launched our Star Trac training series for our Elite and Premier Partners. By the end of the training partners were able to articulate McAfee’s value, key differentiators, and successfully sell our solutions.
What are you doing to enable your partners in newer technologies such as MOVE?
The McAfee Management for Optimized Virtual Environments (MOVE) is a platform which addresses emerging threats to the modern business. MOVE technology provides a platform through which we and our partners will be able to use our research and expertise in virtualized environments as a leverage to provide specifically-designed security for our customers.
We have already briefed our partners and have made prices available to them for the Indian market. We will work with our partners to generate leads and support them in closing new business in this emerging area.