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Mike Carpenter, McAfee’s SVP for Public Sector, on How He Plans to Maintain Growth at McAfee

Mike Carpenter, McAfee's SVP for Public Sector, on How He Plans to Maintain Growth at McAfee - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Mike Carpenter
Mike Carpenter
Mike Carpenter

Mike Carpenter brings dynamism and an entrepreneurial mindset to his duties at McAfee. As senior vice president for Public Sector, he has presided over the fastest growing section of McAfee. We had the opportunity to speak with him about how he intends to maintain that growth and how McAfee intends to continue to bring  the best and brightest into the workforce.

ExecutiveBiz:  Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Mike Carpenter:  I've been at McAfee for more than eight years now, starting as the company's youngest Regional Director. I started in McAfee commercial markets and ran a state and local team for the eastern U.S. market. Prior to joining McAfee, I was actually an entrepreneur, running businesses in Massachusetts and California.  The last business was the Praetorian Group, a web portal that concentrated on services within the public sector market.

ExecutiveBiz:  As the Senior VP for Public Sector at McAfee, what are your duties entail?

Mike Carpenter:  My responsibilities range from the big picture to the smaller details. I handle initiatives such as strategic development, budget management, product guidance and vertical campaign strategy. I oversee all of our intelligence, defense and civilian government agency work, as well as providing the leadership for our second-to-none staff that are delivering these vital services to the federal government. I also manage our state and local government, Healthcare, and CIP businsses.

ExecutiveBiz: What are some of McAfee's core competencies?

Mike Carpenter: Security is McAfee's core competency. It is all we do. We're the world's largest dedicated security company and we firmly believe that security is something that requires dedication; it can not be a part time activity as it is for some vendors. Key attributes of McAfee security are Global Threat Intelligence, integration, customer support and visibility. Global Threat Intelligence is the information we pull, collect and analyze around the globe to provide the best protection. Whether it is a systems-based products or a network-based product, all of these different technologies are powered by our Global Threat Intelligence and make our security predictive rather than reactive. This also speaks to integration. Our products, from the system products installed on PCs, laptops and phones, to the network and cloud-based products, are integrated. That means that technologies such as your endpoint protection can learn from threats that are happening on the network and vice versa, offering superior protection. This competency is reflective of a major investment on McAfee's part to separate us in the market as the largest pure place security company.

The third attribute is support. We have a global support organization that deals with CONUS and non-CONUS defense operations. We can follow the sun with English speaking support personnel and also deal with the classified environments. The fourth is enterprise viability. Given the fact we've deployed nearly seven million nodes (computers, servers and laptops) within the Department of Defense, the credibility we have established with this project, combined with the experience and flexibility to deliver this solution, has been a pretty large differentiator for us in the federal market.

ExecutiveBiz:  I understand as well that the federal sector is the fastest growing section in McAfee.  How do you plan to maintain that growth in the coming years?

Mike Carpenter:  I challenge myself by thinking about that question everyday.  The future of where McAfee needs to go must address three core areas: ““one is being able to continue to develop great technology that is focused on delivering solutions tailored to specific problems.  The second piece is to take the success from the HBSS program, like the Air Force deal, where we have large deployments with lots of experience and success and bring that across the federal government and the public sector market.  The last core area is to continue to develop our intelligence strategy and not just feed products from McAfee but put ourselves as a trusted advisor where we can help develop better intelligence solutions.

ExecutiveBiz:  McAfee was recently awarded a service agreement to deploy the HBSS system.  How does the system help the Air Force in its mission?

Mike Carpenter:  The Air Force, like its counterparts, lives in a net-centric warfare environment, not to mention they have global deployments dealing with everything from CONUS operations to tactical environments, which lead to environmental difficulties in deploying a large solution. Their planes, offensive technologies, and communication technology are all running off of IP based platforms.  Those platforms need to be protected and defended against and the HBSS solution does that is by helping protect the core of the operating system.

The HBSS program, which is made up of a lot of different products, is an extensive solution for the Air Force. McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS) is the technology that is the foundation for the Air Force HBSS solution for the SIPRNet. We can monitor, detects, and counter against cyberattacks while also providing the Air Force with our integrated security capabilities, from device control to buffer overflow protection to firewalling to helping work with the identity management part of security.

The SIPRNet award to McAfee is reflective of the track record we have built by not only helping DISA, the architect of the HBSS program for all of DoD, but also the responsibility we bring in program management. McAfee is working closely with Northrop Grumman, the prime on the Air Force project. We are the ones designing the architecture, training people on the deployment, and managing the deployment. The accessibility and accountability we bring to the customer is the foundation for our success.

ExecutiveBiz:  As the demand for skilled IT professionals increases, how does McAfee plan to attract top talent?

Mike Carpenter:  We build a great training environment.  We've had a lot of success in recruiting because of the progress and penetration we've had in the federal market ““ customers and other IT professionals are leveraging our technology. We're also taking a heavy look at the university space. One of my major initiatives next year is to help build out university partnerships where we would help build IT defense courses. That way we can pull them out of universities for their job experiences once they graduate and send people into the market with McAfee experiences.

ExecutiveBiz:  What is something about yourself that most people might be surprised to learn?

Mike Carpenter:  I am incredibly aggressive and competitive, since I live a pretty athletic life and play sports such as basketball, tennis, and tag football. The perception is that personality is stemmed from athletics. In reality it's from a different part of my background. My father was handicapped and had the talent to focus on end results and not get bogged down by obstacles that could typically change the flow. What I got from my father is the ability to dream, be self-motivated and not be stopped by simple obstacles.

I learned at an early age to only accept what you want and nothing else. Everything is possible to those that are willing to take it.

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