GriSoft AVG 7.1 Network Edition

Price
£3,034
  • A comprehensive central management system
  • Legacy Windows systems are not catered for

GriSoft's anti-virus product provides comprehensive anti-virus scanning features with a centralised management system that can install, monitor and administer the anti-virus software installed on each individual computer on the network.

The management system, known as the AVG DataCentre, offers two management modes: Basic, providing a simple interface suitable for small networks; and Advanced which offers detailed control suitable for larger networks with differing user requirements.

Grisoft have improved the centralised management and reporting features in the latest edition and have added an "all Stations" report, which shows the status of all managed systems on the network, and an "Inaccurate State" report, which lists only those stations that need attention. Reports can be filtered on any column or item, and are also searchable. The "Inaccurate state" report can be configured to include systems that have not been updated for a while, systems that have been out of touch for longer than permitted, and, most importantly, stations that have detected a virus.

It is now possible to configure more items on the client stations than before too. The resident shield configuration can be altered, the e-mail scanner can be set up, and the firewall settings can be changed from the remote management interface. Installations can be customised using scripts created with the AVG S-Tool, which also controls remote installation to workstations.

The management system makes periodic checks with Grisoft's Internet servers for updated virus signatures and scanning engines, downloading them to its own server as necessary. The anti-virus scanners installed on the individual workstations then obtain their updates from this server rather than from Grisoft's own servers, which reduces Internet traffic and also ensures that all the systems are using the same updated versions. The server defaults to using the supplied Firebird database engine, which can handle up to 150 workstations, but it can also be set up for Microsoft SQL Server via ODBC if larger numbers are needed.

The frequency with which the server checks for updates and the types of updates it will look for can be altered as needed as well. This worked well under test, even when there were several large updates to be applied. The Administrator software components can be installed on different computers too, allowing the distribution and update functions to be installed at a secure location while allowing administration to take place elsewhere.

Last but by no means least, the scanner software can be configured with different task and rule sets. These settings can be applied to groups of systems or even individual machines if necessary, which makes it very flexible. Virus detection alerts are logged and displayed in the event log at the central administration machine, and an alert message is displayed at the workstation detecting the infection. A further option is available to display the alert to all users while e-mail warning messages can be sent to specific users.

In tests, the system detected and blocked our attempts to introduce viruses, but it did not react to our remote control software. The centralised reporting system, local virus distribution and individual client configuration options provide network administrators with a flexible and detailed anti-virus management system.

Verdict

An extremely flexible anti-virus system

Requirements: Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Server 2003

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