(INTC) McAfee Offering Mobile Security

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (INTC), has announced a couple of products targeted at the smartphone and tablet markets.

While the smartphone product, dubbed McAfee Mobile Security, is for all smartphones, the WaveSecure tablet edition is specially designed for tablets based on Google Inc’s (GOOG) Android OS. They are available for $29.99 and $19.99, respectively at both McAfee and the Android Market.

The products are intended to strengthen McAfee’s position in the mobile security market, which is expected to assume great importance over the next few years. According to a recent report by Juniper Research, roughly one in twenty smartphones and tablets currently have some sort of security software installed, while the potential for growth is tremendous (277 million devices, or revenue of $3.6 billion by 2016).

As enterprises increase their usage of mobile devices (both smartphones and tablets), installation of security software will also increase. The enterprise segment going mobile is expected to be the biggest driver of growth for the mobile security market.

Juniper estimates that 69% of mobile security sales will come from enterprise customers by 2016. Moreover, secured tablets will continue to grow faster than secured smartphones, gradually overtaking secured smartphones some time during this period.

However, consumer demand for security is also on the rise. As McAfee’s own studies reveal, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for both official and personal purposes. Therefore, loss of data, whether through theft or loss of the device, or its crashing, remains a top concern.

McAfee’s mobile security solutions that are based on its WaveSecure, VirusScan Mobile and SiteAdvisor products provide backup for files and prevent misuse of the device. If the device is stolen, the security solutions include features to track it down and enable remote removal of data if required. It also provides protection against viruses, malware, etc and protection from malicious websites, phishing, identity theft and credit card fraud.

The McAfee acquisition is a big boon to Intel, which is still struggling to find a presence in the mobile device market. Although its super-light Ultrabooks should point it in the right direction, actual performance and adoption by customers remain uncertain as of now. If performance is good, then the device should provide some stiff competition to Apple Inc’s (AAPL) iPad given the fact that it is very competitively priced.

However, Intel’s efforts in security are not limited to the mobile segment. At the moment, the company is very focused on security in the cloud. For this purpose, it is working with major cloud players, such as International Business Machines (IBM), Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Hewlett Packard Company (HPQ).

Intel intends to build security right into the hardware and support it with adequate software, so the cloud itself may be secured. Judging from the $7.7 billion it paid for McAfee, Intel clearly has very big plans.

Intel shares currently carry a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the short term (1-3 months). Our long term rating remains Neutral.

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