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AVG Internet Security SBS Edition 8.0

It's feature packed and good value but is that enough for AVG's latest business package?

Price
£389

Introduced in 2007, AVG's Internet Security SBS Edition aims to deliver a complete network protection solution to small to medium businesses relying on a single server to provide all key services such as file sharing and email. It's based on AVG's Internet Security Network Edition and delivers a wide range of features including anti-virus, anti-spyware and client anti-spam services for local email clients.

The pricing structure is geared up to single server environments as you purchase licenses for the number of clients you want to protect and the price includes protection for one Windows server as well. Along with the standard set of features the latter also includes anti-virus for Exchange and for file servers. The whole shebang can be looked after by the AVG Admin component, which provides centralised management plus deployment tools for the client software, signature updates and configuration settings.

For testing we used a Dell PowerEdge 2900 rack server equipped with 1.86GHz quad-core Xeons and running Windows SBS 2003 along with Exchange Server 2003. Essentially, installation is a three phase process and you start by loading the AVG Admin 8.0 remote administration console which is used to deploy the software to your server and all your workstations. AVG Admin comprises a number of components with the DataCenter providing data storage for workstation configurations, scan settings and so on.

A FireBird database is included as standard but the DataCenter can use existing installations of SQL Server or Oracle. A wizard helps streamline the AVG software deployment and you can use it to scan a network subnet or specify individual IP addresses. However, we did find the scan process an unacceptably lengthy affair with it taking over an hour just to check a single IP subnet. AVG also provides a plethora of manuals and we found the Network Edition the best one to use as the SBS quick start guide lacks cohesion and doesn't explain the various dependencies clearly.

The AVG Exchange component also needed to be installed on our SBS server but this can't be deployed from the console and is a separate manual process. It runs as an Exchange plug-in it which can only be accessed from the Exchange System Manager where you can view message scanning information. There's nothing to do for configuration as it scans all messages in the private and public folders, automatically removes infections and posts notifications in the Windows event log.

Existing users with paid up licenses can upgrade free to this latest version but note that it is not backward compatible. Consequently, workstations running v7.5 must be migrated across from the older console where you create an export file for all selected systems and then import it into the new console. AVG 8.0 is then deployed to them and they then need to be removed from the old database.

The tidy Admin console makes light work of ongoing monitoring and management. Each workstation can be placed in various groups with each one having its own set of scan configurations, which are deployed to all group members. Usefully, any workstations that are not compliant, such as those with out-of-date signature files, will be added to a default group where you can see easily what the problem is as each is shown with the versions installed and older ones will be highlighted.

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