McAfee executive says Cork staff play vital role in IT security firm

Future of IT security sector will look at growing connectedness

McAfee  and frequently sends complex security problems to its Cork site for resolution, McAfee  Chief Information Officer Patty Hatter has said. Photo: Bloomberg

McAfee and frequently sends complex security problems to its Cork site for resolution, McAfee Chief Information Officer Patty Hatter has said. Photo: Bloomberg

 

IT security firm McAfee highly values its Irish operation and frequently sends complex security problems to its Cork site for resolution, McAfee Chief Information Officer Patty Hatter said yesteday.

Ms Hatter revealed that Cork, as McAfee’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) HQ, is a vital part of the Intel owned antivirus company which is headquartered in Santa Clara in California but also has operations in Plano, Texas and Bangalore in India.

“Cork is our central location for EMEA geography and the office has grown significantly in the ten years we have been here, not just in size from 40 staff in January 2005 to our current staff of 350 but also in scale,” said Ms Hatter.

“And I was quite serious when I mentioned how we often say in Santa Clara if we have a problem, ‘Okay, let’s bring this to Cork, let’s figure it out in Cork’ because the mindset of the teams here, the ability to think through very complex problems is very impressive.”

Ireland has been a great strength to the company, I see some similarities between Cork and Silicon Valley with Cork’s willingness to take on new challenges, the diversity of skills sets and the ability to draw people from different countries with multiple language skills.”

Ms Hatter, who was speaking during a visit to the Cork site, instanced the role that the Cork staff under Senior Director of Operations EMEA, Tim Daly played in the company’s acquisition of Finnish software company, Stonesoft in 2013 for $389 million.

Asked about future trends within IT, Ms Hatter said the main focus in IT security in the coming years will be on cloud technology and the increasing “connectedness” which will see some 50 billion devices worldwide connected to the Internet by 2019.

“When you look at the technologhy trends - the level of connectedness offers both opportuntity and problems. The whole cloud space is a big area - traditionally companies had perimeters, they kept their data inside their networks and that’s just not the case any more.

“When you look at public clouds, private clouds, the multititude of SaaS (Software as a Service) providers, there’s a reason that companies go in that direction - the speed of enabling the business, the cost-effectiveness of using those type of technologies are very compelling.

“But all of a sudden, all your data is out there and the cloud is now the new normal and we have to ask how can we help ... It means that companies like McAfee and other security companies need to look at how we protect our customers in a fast changing enviroment.”

Ms Hatter instanced recent security breaches at American retailers, Target and Nieman Marcus in the last 12 months where hackers obtained millions of credit card details as highlighting the importance of proper internet security for companies.

“Those breaches have made security much more top of mind for folks but you have to recognise the fluidity of the security space and realise how connected the technologies are and that’s going to accelerate over the next few years,” she said.