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In the past, maintaining a regular virus-scanning regimen on your network was sufficient to prevent, or at least contain, viruses. Viruses typically spread through disks, and email was much less prevalent than it is now. Today however, email is the primary communication tool in many work environments. Users create, send, and receive countless email messages and attached files every day.

Because most viruses now spread through email, it's difficult to ensure that your networks remain virus-free. What is an overworked network administrator to do? One solution is to install a server-side virus scanner.

The products listed in this Buyer's Guide act as a filter between your Microsoft Exchange Server system and the clients who receive email messages through that system. Every product listed works to proactively prevent email viruses from spreading throughout your network. Some products monitor data as it's distributed to clients. Other products scan for and eradicate viruses as soon as the server receives infected email.

Typically, you want your email antivirus application to run unattended, so make sure that the solution you choose doesn't require you to constantly monitor your servers. Features such as automatic quarantining, flexible alert options, and the ability to automatically download and install virus-definition updates will rank high on your feature checklist.

You also should consult with vendors and ask how frequently they update their virus-definition files. You want to have fast and frequent updates to ensure your system's safety.

When you install one of the products listed in this Buyer's Guide and take the proper precautions, email viruses simply won't get through. You'll feel assured that a virus won't replicate your address books or comb through your system and ravage your files.