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McAfee ePO enhancements offer performance boost

Company adds real-time querying capabilities to ePolicy Orchestrator and enables SIEM to automate security response to suspicious events

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McAfee is enhancing its business security platform by adding near real-time querying capabilities to its ePolicy Orchestrator software and by integrating it with its security information and event management (SIEM) product to automatically initiate endpoint security policy changes.

The ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) software is the core of McAfee's Security Connected framework and strategy, that aims to have all security products used in a business environment working together and sharing information. It is a central security management software that lets businesses gather data from endpoint systems, update and deploy configurations, initiate endpoint and network security policies, and interact with other security products, not only from McAfee, but also from other vendors in the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance.

Managing tens or hundreds of thousands of endpoint systems in an enterprise environment can be a time-intensive task. In order to reduce the time penalty, McAfee launched McAfee Real Time for ePO, a technology that reduces query time to seconds and allows businesses to get information from products installed on endpoint systems and investigate possible security events much faster.

"For example, if I want to know if all files are up to date on endpoint systems or some information about registry, I can get that in seconds with Real Time for ePO and with very light load on the network at the same time," said Gretchen Hellman, director of product marketing for SIEM at McAfee. That's thanks to a new communication mechanism that uses a chaining query method where instead of querying each endpoint individually, the server sends out a single request that gets passed around in a peer-to-peer fashion, she said.

The performance improvement will vary depending on network environment, Hellman said. On small networks, such operations can now be performed 10 times faster, but on really large networks the performance improvement can be up to 1,000 times, she said.

The second platform enhancement that McAfee announced today was the integration of its SIEM product, the McAfee Enterprise Security Manager, with ePO, McAfee Vulnerability Manager and the McAfee Network Security Platform.

The SIEM already uses McAfee's Global Threat Intelligence feed, which contains information about malicious resources such as websites, domains and file servers. This allows the product to analyse logs and event data collected from endpoints and alert the system administrator of any suspicious communication with a potential bad actor.

However, the new SIEM enhancements enable the product to also automatically take action based on predefined rules. For example, when the SIEM sees potential interaction with a bad actor it can automatically initiate a scan on the affected endpoint to see if there's malware running on it or can instruct the McAfee Network Security Platform to immediately block the suspicious communication, Hellman said. It can also tell ePO to make policy changes and tag the system for additional investigation.

"What the SIEM actually does now is take intelligence and turn it into intelligent action," Hellman said.

These enhancements are part of McAfee's Security Connected strategy to focus its efforts on achieving greater integration between its own products and the products of its partners, that the company announced in January.



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