Deploy virus updates automatically

Panda Software's Global Virus Insurance 24h-365d is a centralized antivirus solution that automatically deploys and updates virus scanners and antivirus signatures on your organization's servers and workstations. Global Virus Insurance 24h-365d comprises Panda's flagship enterprise server product, Antivirus for Local Networks, as well as the company's premium client antivirus software for client workstations, Antivirus Platinum 6.0. The package's Messaging API (MAPI)-based antivirus scanner protects Microsoft Exchange Server systems.

Installing Antivirus for Local Networks was straightforward, requiring Windows NT Server and about 99MB of hard disk space. I used a Compaq ProLiant 2500 with a 200MHz Pentium Pro processor and 256MB of memory as my distribution server, and a Compaq ProLiant 3000 with a 450MHz Pentium II processor and 640MB of memory as my Exchange server. After installation, Antivirus for Local Networks' GUI utility, Panda Administrator, becomes the central distribution and management point for antivirus scanning engines and signature files, as Screen 1 shows.

When you run Panda Administrator for the first time, you can choose to scan your network by domain or by individual server. Each time you start Panda Administrator, the utility enumerates each domain you've provided. Depending on your network's size, enumerating your servers and workstations in this way can be time-consuming. I called Panda's technical support, and a technician provided a workaround that involved limiting the number of displayed domains. Instead of implementing protection across the entire domain, you can install protection on individual servers. That way, you don't need to scan entire domains and networks at startup.

From Panda Administrator, you can configure the product to notify you when it detects a virus anywhere in your network. You can remotely install antivirus protection on your servers, and you can configure the software to automatically install protection on client workstations. After you install the antivirus solution on client systems, users can modify the local Panda Antivirus configuration but can't disable the protection. The ability to retain control over which workstations receive protection is an important feature in mixed environments that use more than one antivirus solution.

I also tested the Exchange Server connector's virus-scanning capabilities. The software correctly detected my test virus and several macro viruses that I introduced. At press time, the virus list in Panda's signature file recognizes more than 48,500 viruses--comparable to other major antivirus packages.

Updated antivirus signature files are free for 1 year following the date of purchase. Panda updates its virus signature files several times a day. You can use FTP to configure automatic updates. The software's scheduling feature lets you ensure that workstations and servers obtain the most recent antivirus signature files from the distribution server. Panda offers a daily email newsletter that includes security news, vulnerability updates, and virus reports.

Global Virus Insurance 24h-365d offers striking features that simplify antivirus deployment. Panda needs to make some minor usability improvements to its administrator product, but overall, the company has a powerful product that LAN administrators will embrace.

Global Virus Insurance 24h-365d
Contact: Panda Software * 818-553-0599
Web: http://www.pandasoftware.com
Price: $320 for a 5-user license; $1597 for a 25-user license
Decision Summary
Pros: Simple installation; automatic deployment; daily automatic updates
Cons: Time-consuming enumeration of domains and servers; slow startup in large enterprises