The Trend Micro Control Manager is designed to manage Trend Micro's many and varied anti-virus products. This is another company which has made strong moves into Unix platforms, with products for Linux, Solaris and HPUX.
Its web management interface does not support Netscape or its derivatives, so you are basically stuck on Windows. That is especially disappointing because the web console is very good - just as well as the web interface is all you get. That is not a criticism: there are no inconsistencies, no features missing, or other shortcomings.
This interface is divided into tabs of typical activities, with tree views of servers and clients. Selecting any element results in an overview.
Clients and servers are added to a user-created tree of groups and domains. Unlike many other systems on test, it is easy to move systems from one group to another, and a single key-press can bump selected systems into a temporary zone for once-off tasks.
This approach means easy access to basic tasks like scheduled scans and system updates, with all the twiddly configuration options available one level down. All commands which have been issued, and their status, can easily be tracked from a central view.
The manager also demands 'heartbeat' polls from systems, which can be set to varying intervals depending on the importance of the system. Systems which have failed to check in immediately flag up as 'abnormal' and facilitate rapid response. Also useful is an 'Outbreak Commander', which offers policies to control incidents of common viruses.
Reporting is detailed but not exceptional, and cannot output in HTML, only RTF, PDF and Crystal Report formats. It includes a Crystal Reports ActiveX viewer for use with Internet Explorer.
Console security is particularly good: the system uses strong encryption with public/private key pairs for communication, and allows admin accounts to be created with differing levels of control over specific parts of the network.
Actually finding the public key (required for adding components) was almost ridiculously difficult at first. So here is a hint: read the manual, it is clearly documented there. And that is fair enough, but it was the only time we were forced to turn pages throughout the entire Group Test.