AVG Network Edition
Strengths: Very fast scanning and updating.
Weaknesses: Management interface can be overly complex.
Verdict: A competent product for small- to medium-sized networks.
AVG from Grisoft is well-known as a consumer anti-virus product – with the free light version being especially popular. So those familiar with AVG at home might be a little surprised to see a similarly straightforward approach being taken with its network version.
It’s probably fair to say that even the Network Edition of AVG is aimed a bit lower down the corporate ladder than the likes of Symantec Corporate Edition. Despite this, the software can still scale to support thousands of client machines.
Essentially, the Network Edition is a collection of AVG Professional Edition, File Server Edition and Remote Administration. We first installed the Network Edition software, then the Remote Administration module to allow us to push the software to the rest of our network.
This required the installation of a database – if you are running no more than 150 clients this can be the embedded Firebird database. If, however, you have a larger network of several hundred or even thousands of nodes, then MSDE or SQL will be needed, and extra licenses required.
During installation, AVG performed a search of the network to determine which of our workstations required an agent. It was extremely simple and intuitive; before we knew it, we had a fully protected network and were ready to go.
Depending on the size of your network, you might want to allow individual workstations to download update files directly from the internet (which is very fast). With larger installations, however, AVG allows you to dedicate a central repository from where all nodes source their updates, thereby reducing the load on bandwidth.
The Remote Administration module is comprehensive, although it can be complicated to navigate and some of the icons are next to useless.
It has two modes – basic and advanced – with the advanced version offering far more control over features such as schedules.
AVG is very much a Microsoft-based product, only providing support for Linux workstations, Lotus and Kerio. Email scanning technology comes as standard, using a combination of heuristic and standard analysis.