Symantec Endpoint Protection
Strengths: A large number of security features with additional features that can be added later.
Weaknesses: Initial client installation can be tricky.
Verdict: Good network protection that can be made even better by also using the network access control product.
Symantec Endpoint Protection is a group of protection mechanisms bundled into one application, which includes the popular Symantec Anti-Virus and the Network Access Control client as well. The NAC client remains installed, but dormant, on the end-user's machine until it is activated. No redeployment of clients is needed to add Symantec Network Access Control to a network where Symantec Endpoint Protection is installed. An update to the Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager activates those features on the clients.
Symantec Endpoint Protection offers the following features: anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion prevention system, application control, device control, and proactive threat scanning. This feature set makes Symantec Endpoint Protection one of the few offerings that crosses over categories of endpoint security and provides network security, as well as device control security. As with most products, the Symantec offering covers only Microsoft clients, which are Windows 2000 and newer, with 32- and 64-bit support for Windows XP and above, but only 32-bit version supported for console installation.
The installation of the server and the console were quite easy, but the installation to push out the software to the clients was a little more complex. It took us some time to get the installation correct. For example, the client needs to have ports 139 and 445 open, and the manager needs admin credentials to install the software.
The documentation was the usual PDF-based literature. The documents were well written, but the names of the components of this package are all so similar we often had to backtrack to determine which component was really being covered.
Basic maintenance is included in the purchase price, which covers the first year of operation. Additional support packages are available and are labeled as essential support and business critical services. The essential support program is priced at $2.58 per seat per year. Symantec offers email and phone support, as well as an extensive, free knowledge base.
The Symantec offering has a price tag of $51.60 per seat, which puts the Endpoint Protection offering at the upper end of products offered in this group.