The recent arrival of Google’s Chromebook — a gadget designed to run only a Web browser — was heralded by some as spelling the end of antivirus and a nail in the coffin for companies that sell antivirus software.
The Chromebook is part of a burgeoning category analysts call “post-PC devices.” Since these devices are purpose built, they typically restrict the applications that can be run on them. This is good news for security because those restrictions can also stop malicious software such as viruses and worms.
Many industry watchers expect sales of post-PC devices to eclipse the sale of traditional computers. I am not convinced of that yet, but I do know these purpose built devices will have wide adoption.
Forbes Writer Andy Greenberg last week concluded that many of these post-PC devices “will be post-antivirus, too” and as such “could spell real trouble for antivirus companies.” Andy just might be right in his observation, they may not need anti-virus. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t need security. Whitelisting seems like a much better alternative for a purpose built device.
At McAfee, we’re fully committed to the post-antivirus world. We recognize the world is changing, however, one thing that won’t change and will actually escalate in importance – is the need for cybersecurity.
When you’re surfing the Web on your Chromebook, you’d want the infrastructure you’re connected to be secure and bad Web sites to be blocked. Additionally, the datacenters that hold all your personal data in online services also need protection.
A smart employer will want to be aware if you’re using the company WiFi network with the Chromebook and if you’re accessing other corporate resources on the device.
While Andy at Forbes talks about a “larger post-PC problem” for McAfee, instead the world beyond the PC is a major opportunity. The opportunity is already paying off for McAfee through partnerships with dozens of companies globally, including mobile phone operators and hardware makers.
Over the past years McAfee has transformed from a business focused on antivirus software to a company focused on cybersecurity as a whole. We have long moved beyond the PC and beyond simple antivirus to secure myriad endpoint devices, networks as well as the cloud. And as we have grown, with each passing year endpoint antivirus has become a smaller and smaller percentage of our overall business.
The exponential growth of cybercrime hasn’t been slowed in any way by the advent of newer devices – it has only accelerated as the number of potential targets has proliferated. As part of Intel we will innovate further and provide additional technologies for the world beyond the PC. We expect a 50-fold increase in connected devices over the coming decade, posing a formidable security and management challenge. We’re ready for that challenge and the opportunity.
By George Kurtz