Some of you may know this, but before coming to McAfee, I worked for Cisco Systems. So believe me when I say that Cisco is no push-over. Cisco is competitive and the people at Cisco work hard to win. That’s why I was particularly interested in the news that Cisco recommended McAfee for its IronPort customers negatively impacted by Cisco’s current Anti-virus partner.
To add some background, Cisco IronPort Email and Web Security Appliances include Anti-Virus protection. After reading the article in Computer World, it became clear why Cisco was recommending McAfee when it already had Anti-virus capabilities built in. Apparently, Cisco’s current Anti-Virus partner contains multiple vulnerabilities that could “allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain control of the system, escalate privileges, or cause a denial-of-service (DoS).”
In today’s cyber environment, new threats are identified and published on a daily basis. It is the vendor’s responsibility to react very quickly to ensure their customers are well protected. However, in some cases problems are much more endemic, and patches take much longer to be delivered. With Cisco requiring a more robust solution, the company had to come up with a workaround that could be supported by its IronPort appliance. That workaround was for customers to stop using their current Anti-Virus solution and use an alternative antivirus program capable of supporting enterprise needs. In this case, the company issued a statement that McAfee should be considered the primary alternative, going as far as providing its customers with 30-day trial licenses for McAfee Anti-Virus.
Of course, it makes me proud that Cisco recommended McAfee. It is solid validation that McAfee is trusted, reliable, and reputable. But, honestly, I feel very encouraged by this action because it sends a strong and valuable message to the industry – a message that even the world’s largest providers like Cisco are operating in the best interest of their customers and not in their own best interest. I think that doing what’s right for the customer – especially in difficult situations like this one – will really start to catch on and when it does, the bad guys will have no choice but to find new jobs.