Hot Stuff: Enterprise-Class Anti-Spyware Software
Several readers wrote in to remind me that individual software packages for anti-spyware are all well and good for individual users or small businesses, but that larger IT operations demand systems that support centralized controls, security policy enforcement, automated update deployment and all the other bells and whistles that now apply to other kinds of security software. Given that firewalls, antivirus protection and security policy and access controls are all amenable to centralized management and control, why not anti-spyware/adware protection as well?
Why not indeed? This query/observation got me started on an odyssey of investigation that had me researching offerings from the likes of Symantec, Trend Micro, McAfee, F-Risk Software and all the other usual suspects in the “enterprise security client” game. Much to my surprise, I found that while a lot of these companies are either planning to offer or are already working on centralized, managed security solutions that include spyware/adware coverage, only one company has a product that’s available today in that particular space. (That said, Norton Internet Security 2004 and Norton Internet Security 2004 Professional already include coverage for spyware, adware and so forth, but no centralized management yet.)
The company is PestPatrol, maker of the synonymous end-user product of the same name. Its enterprise-class version is called PestPatrol Corporate Edition 5.0, and it offers just the kind of centralized controls that most savvy enterprise-level IT departments might want. This means controls over installation, deployment, administration and updates through a single console. PestPatrol includes both adware/spyware-scanning tools (to root out already-established infestations) and blocking tools (to prevent new infestations from taking hold). Pricing starts in the neighborhood of $300 to $400 (which explains why PestPatrol helpfully points out that only organizations with 10 or more PCs to protect will find this offering of interest) and costs $30 to $40 per seat per year, depending on purchase volume.
It also seems inevitable that the next few months will witness a spate of new product introductions as other major players in the managed security, antivirus and security software markets start muscling in on enterprise class tools that include spyware/adware coverage. Stay tuned for more coverage here, if and when that happens.