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Interview: McAfee eyes mobile and cloud security for Africa

November 4, 2010 • Security, Top Stories

Gert-Jan Schenk, newly appointed President of EMEA at McAfee

Gert-Jan Schenk, newly appointed President of EMEA at McAfee, was recently in South Africa for a meeting with McAfee’s partners and end-users. ITNewsAfrica.com caught up with the new face at McAfee to discuss security trends and African strategies.

ITNewsAfrica.com: What is McAfee’s strategy for Africa?

Gert-Jan Schenk: Our strategy going forward is related to what we call “security connected”: connecting end-point networks and cloud via one global intelligent management solution. We are after all an end-to-end security provider, however we’re known for our flexible approach. We are working with open standards, through alliances with other industry leaders: Citrix, VMWare, Intel and so on, to provide customers with a safety net. This is where we are different.

We had a meeting with our channel partners and I was surprised at how advanced the business in Africa is and the level of interest in networking and mobile security. Africa is, from a mobile perspective, the biggest growth market in the world. Other lucrative markets for us are Russia and the Middle East – especially Saudi Arabia.

ITNewsAfrica.com: Can you give an overview on the future trends in security?

Gert-Jan Schenk: Research indicates 50 billion worldwide devices connected to the Internet by 2020. This includes end-point devices like PC, notebooks, ATMs, smartphones and basically everything that has an IP address. I won’t be surprised if smartphones become the ultimate end-point to interconnect with other devices and perform all sorts of tasks. This is the future and
McAfee’s sees a huge opportunity to provide embedded security solutions. On the other hand, mobile and cloud security is a top priority and concerns both companies and private individuals.
This includes social media tools – a huge cloud itself. In Africa, Security as a Service is growing aggressively.

ITNewsAfrica.com: Is there a shift in latest threats and cybercrimes and how is this affecting Africa?

Gert-Jan Schenk: Cybercrime is everywhere – the most common is stealing identities and credit card details. Online threats become more sophisticated, such as hackers trying to plant the virus between the processor and OS. That is where our relationship with our partners (e.g Intel) becomes crucial. Analyzing traffic patterns is part of our core services – McAfee labs register 4 billion a day, from 70 million different end points in 110 countries, including African states. I think cybercrime in Africa is similar – the only difference relies in the lack of sound risk and compliance policies.

ITNewsAfrica.com: How is McAfee addressing the risk and compliance procedures in Africa?
Are there any significant regional differences?

Gert-Jan Schenk: Threats are less coordinated in Africa and there is less regulation surrounding risk and compliance, especially in countries like Kenya and Nigeria. Our role is to educate our customers on the multiple services we offer to address this. Besides security, McAfee covers data loss prevention, data protection, enterprise mobility, encryption. As part of our strategy, we often have meetings with our partners and clients and use as often as possible social media to communicate further.

By Denisa Oosthuizen

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