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Over the last five years, McAfee has amassed a huge cache of security technologies that span the gamut of consumer endpoint protection to enterprise risk management systems. Its one weak spot: professional services.

But the world’s largest pure-play security company isn’t going to develop its professional services. Rather, it plans to push more of its services opportunities through channel partners.

“We want partners to be the services arm for us,” said McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt in a meeting with press and analysts. “How we do this is to certify and train our channel partners.”

DeWalt said probably no more than 5 percent of services opportunities would be handled directly by the professional services teams.

McAfee’s commitment to driving professional services through partners is both a scalability issue and a channel enablement issue.

McAfee executives said utilizing partners for security assessments, systems architecture planning and deployments, and incident remediation services provides solution providers with profitable engagement opportunities and avoids direct-indirect channel conflict issues.

Building a professional services arm greater than 5 percent to 10 percent of the gross revenue has the potential of generating animosity and mistrust among channel partners, DeWalt said. 

Building a large professional services team is not on the McAfee agenda. DeWalt and other executives maintain that McAfee’s goal is to be the supplier of security technology and not be a services company.

DeWalt extended that to managed and cloud services; he said McAfee would rather sell into the cloud and enable managed services than deliver them directly. McAfee recently bought managed security services company MX Logic for $140 million. MX Logic is one of the largest service MSPs that supports more than 40,000 customers through 1,800 resellers. McAfee is developing a new managed services channel program with discounted licensing fees and marketing support for partners delivering remote services.

McAfee acknowledged that it will be adding capacity and capabilities to its professional services division to meet the needs of its limited number of enterprise direct accounts.

“I don’t want to build a services business, but I’m being forced to based on the size of the deals we’re in,” Michael DeCesare, the company’s executive vice president of sales, told partners in attendance.