McAfee, Cisco team up on threat intelligence sharing, automation

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McAfee, Cisco team up on threat intelligence sharing, automation

McAfee and Cisco are partnering on security, the two rival companies have announced.

The partnership, announced at the McAfee MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit in Las Vegas, brings together McAfee's Data Exchange Layer (DXL) with Cisco's Platform Exchange Grid (pxGrid).

McAfee CTO Steve Grobman said the partnership "bridges the gap" between the two solutions, allowing for partners to maximise the value of both by sharing threat event context and automation across the network and endpoint security frameworks.

The two companies said the partnership would create the most extensive open security framework, and allow for automated threat mitigation and improved decision making around security events. 

"The beauty in this approach is that it empowers the organisations to use whatever environments they feel most comfortable in, yet it also exposes all the features and capabilities that are available in both environments," Grubman told CRN USA.

McAfee announced the launch of OpenDXL last year, a move that open sourced the solution and allowed partners and developers to integrate other solutions into the DXL framework.

The move was part of a push by McAfee to drive more integration and collaboration to its security portfolio and across the security industry. Grobman said McAfee noticed Cisco was building a similar strategy with a "more network-centric flavour".

He said the two companies decided to team up, rather than compete, with the solutions to "maximise value by extending the reach of collaboration between the technologies."

For partners, Grobman said the partnership allows them to further take on the role of an integrator for a wider set of security offerings. He said that provided "tremendous opportunity" for partners to offer value to customers by setting up policies, orchestration, and security capabilities across both ecosystems. He said the partnership also allowed partners and customers to get the benefits of threat information sharing across both platforms, while operating on the platform they are more comfortable with.

"It is absolutely of immense value to the partner community … It really opens the opportunity for many, many use cases that would have been challenging without that capability," Grobman said.

The partnership comes as Cisco looks to double down on its security strategy. The company has made multiple acquisitions around security, including Observable Networks in 2017 and CloudLock in 2016, as well as launched multiple new security products. Cisco's security practice was one of the fastest growing revenue areas for the company in its most recent quarter, growing 3 percent year over year to US$558 million.

It also comes as McAfee looks to expand the number of integrations offered into its DXL platform, both through its OpenDXL framework and through its Security Innovation Alliance partners. The company also announced IBM as a new SIA partner at the MPOWER event.

Grobman said McAfee's strategy as a standalone company focuses on providing advanced security controls for the endpoint and the cloud. However, he said the company also recognised that no vendor can do it alone in security and has forged forward with integration as a "strong element of our strategy." That includes working with competitors, such as Cisco.

"While we both have IPS products, we have been able to become great partners along the lines of DXL and making sure we can mutually add value to both of our customers with this DXL-pxGrid partnership," Grobman said.

"We recognise that [partners will] have customers with multiple vendors and maximising the value of McAfee capabilities, even when there are other products from other sources in the mix, is a unique way of thinking about the environment. We are eager to see the rest of the industry moving in that direction as well."

This article originally appeared at

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