With limited resources, time and IT expertise, it's challenging for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to find anti-virus and anti-spam systems that work. As viruses and worms continue to wreak havoc over the Internet, infecting business networks of all shapes and sizes, smaller business owners know their data is at risk.
Unfortunately many anti-spam and anti-virus products on the market are enterprise-level network security systems that have been downsized to fit software licensing parameters for smaller businesses. These products do little to simplify tedious maintenance regimens that require constant attention from network administrators.
Then there is the fact that client-side upkeep of anti-spam and anti-virus programs are only as efficient as the individuals using the PC. If each and every employee doesn't download new security patches, then the entire business network remains at risk.
Ample SMB Protection
Trend Micro believes its come up with a way for small- and medium sized businesses to readily manage their security systems. The Cupertino, Calif.-based software maker today introduced three new security products designed to provide comprehensive virus and spam protection for smaller businesses.
Richard Sheng, Trend Micro product marketing manager for small and medium business, said SMBs are just as likely to experience the same type of mixed security threats from viruses and spam that any large organization would today.
"We think of small businesses as those with fewer than 100 employees, and medium-sized businesses as those with 100 to 1,000 employees," Sheng said. "Small businesses used to think that they're not as vulnerable as corporate enterprises, but this isn't true. Microsoft is the most prolific server-based system small businesses use. As a result, viruses are not just a problem for enterprises anymore."
This is where the biggest problem for small businesses comes into play, anti-virus and anti-spam systems usually require a high level of IT sophistication. So Trend Micro went to work and produced a simplified a way for smaller businesses to install, manage and update their security systems.
"Our beta test show that we've built an out-of-the-box solution for small businesses," Sheng said. "Once deployed, the system updates itself every hour, on the hour, and then pushes protection to PCs after the download is complete."
There is one tradeoff for this level of anti-virus protection. When installing the Trend Micro software, any non-Trend Micro anti-virus programs will be removed from desktop PCs. Some employees might be surprised to find their Norton or McAfee programs are gone. Of course, they'll be equally relieved to know they don't need to keep and eye out for security updates anymore.
If your small business network consists of five to 50 PCs and a file server or two, then Trend Client/Server Suite for Small and Medium Business 2.0 fits the bill. The software suite provides effective anti-virus protection for servers and desktops, but does not require constant maintenance from technical support staff.
Sheng said Client/Server Suite for SMB 2.0 provides protection for desktops and laptops, and file and application servers against multiple security threats through a single, integrated console.
"During a virus outbreak, the ability to deploy update protection to all employees from one place can save crucial time in blocking new threats from penetrating businesses," Sheng said.
If your small business network also handles e-mail via a Microsoft Exchange server, then Trend Micro's Client/Server/Messaging Suite for Small and Medium Business 2.0 offers the necessary protection to keep users safe from Internet born viruses and unsolicited e-mail. This suite includes built-in heuristic anti-spam technology, which helps lower the cost and complexity of anti-spam protection. Trend Micro's Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMBs is also priced 20- to 30-percent less than similar products from Symantec and McAfee.
"For a five-user pack our Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMBs costs about $46 per user," Sheng said. "Symantec's Antivirus Small Biz system with Mail Security costs about $55 per user and McAfee's Active Virus Defense costs about $140 per user."
Finally, if your small business network needs security at its gateway to the Internet, then Trend Micro's InterScan VirusWall for Small and Medium Business 5.0 is the ticket. This software bundles provides all the benefits of enterprise-class security solutions, without intensive IT support.
InterScan VirusWall for SMB 5.0 is an all-in-one gateway anti-virus and content security solution designed to scan for threats on simple mail (SMTP), hypertext (HTTP) and file transfer protocol (FTP) streams. Also included is POP3 traffic scanning which helps ensure a network is protected even when an employee accesses Web-based e-mail accounts. Sheng said this level of protection is often overlooked by small and medium businesses.
"This is the most effective anti-virus and anti-spam product we make for small businesses," Sheng said. "Eight-five percent of viruses, worms, and Trojans come from the Internet so protecting the gateway is the key."
The only type of messaging format that Trend Micro's products do not address is instant messaging. It's up to you whether you disallow use of IM applications in the office, or not.
According to beta testers, Trend Micro's small business security products are easy to deploy and maintain. Once the initial installation is complete, the single-product design allows small businesses to have a set-it-and-forget-it security system in place.
Mike Mulvey, senior associate at Kornberg Associates, said the architectural firm was looking for an anti-spam solution that wouldn't put a strain on its limited IT resources.
"Most of the solutions we investigated would not work right out of the box until we discovered Trend Micro's Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMBs," Mulvey said. "It is a huge relief to find a solution that is geared toward small businesses and is instantly workable."
Trend Micro's new security products are only available from resellers, many of which tested out the new software while it was still in design. Rich Morales, director of technology at Southland Technology, said he recommends Trend Micro's solutions for small and medium businesses because it provides a comprehensive security solution at the Internet gateway.
"Our SMB customers like Trend Micro's ease of deployment and management through the intuitive interface," Morales said. "The system results in a lower cost to secure the business while ensuring they have the necessary protection installed."
Through the introduction of its new security products for SMBs, Trend Micro believes that it is addressing the specific needs of any-size business that needs a simplified management system for protecting desktops, servers, and gateways.
Client/Server Suite 2.0, Client/Server/Messaging Suite 2.0, and InterScan VirusWall 5.0 suites for SMBs will be available in an English language interface one Dec. 1, 2003. Pricing begins at $625 for up to 25 users. Micro Trend will upload the final code for its new security products to its website today. Anyone interested in giving the programming a spin can check it out for a 30-day free trial.
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