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Review: Antivirus Protection That's Suite

With viruses, trojans, worms and assorted malware raining down on today's desktop PCs, Grisoft is handing VARs and their customers an umbrella of protection via its AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5, which provides a blanket of protection for a Windows PC.

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The Milburn, N.J.-based vendor's latest security product, AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5, combines antivirus, antispyware, antispam and a software firewall to create a blanket of protection for a Windows PC.

Security suites are becoming more important than ever before, given today's sophisticated, blended threats and attacks. What's more, the concepts behind malware have changed. Viruses, trojans and worms have largely been about vandalism, pretty much like delinquents dropping stones from a highway overpass and then bragging about it. While that's bad enough, the latest threats are much worse. Malware has become the avenue to information theft, fraud and identity theft, where stealth is the key to success. Never detected quickly translates to never caught, a thief's dream.

Grisoft has effectively addressed the shift in data protection needs with AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5, which was released last week. Although the idea of multipronged protection in one product isn't new, Grisoft ups the ante by offering a concise unified interface, which melds all of the primary tasks into a single management screen. Users no longer have to worry about the status and management of individual security products and at a glance can see how the product is performing. Unified management also means simplified product updating; now all signatures and program updates occur automatically for all of the elements in the package.

The CRN Test Center installed AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5 on two different Windows XP systems for testing. The first installation was done on a PC infected with spyware to see how the product performed cleanup and protection tasks.

The product is installed from a single executable file that's either downloaded from the Grisoft Web site (www.grisoft.com) or launched from a CD. The downloaded file, usually the most up-to-date and featuring the latest patches and changes, proves to be a better installation choice.

During installation, the product does a quick compatibility scan and then offers installers options. Installers will need a product key to continue at this point. Part of the installation includes running the firewall setup wizard, which automatically scans the hard drive for Internet-compatible applications and uses that information to build an allowed and not-allowed Internet applications list. That proves to be a real time saver for building a safe access policy.

Installers will need to pay close attention to the firewall settings. The product blocks VPN and file sharing by default, so adjustments will need to be made to allow those options. Luckily, that change requires just a mouse click during installation. A reboot is required after the installation completes.

After the reboot, the application launches a first-use wizard, which can perform a complete system scan and download the latest code. On the infected test machine, the product discovered 32 instances of spyware, tracking cookies and a virus. The product successfully repaired all of those problems.

Interestingly, the product detected adware/spyware that wasn't discovered by the free tools available on the Web, such as Spybot and Adaware. The scan was time-consuming and took almost an hour on about 35 Gbytes of disk data. Installation on the non-infected system went smoothly, and no problems were discovered on the initial scan.

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Grisoft AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5
www.grisoft.com

Tech Rating:
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Channel Rating:
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Distribution: Direct to VARs

Note: "Recommended" status is earned with a score of 8 stars out of 10.

Keeping the product up to date is critical, especially with new viruses arriving daily. AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5 offers manual and automatic updating, so all that's needed is a We connection to keep the product current.

While overall management of the product is seamless, those looking to tweak individual settings can use an advanced management console to delve deeper into the suite's individual applications. For example, users can quickly add exceptions to the firewall or disable Web access. Virus and spyware scans can be scheduled for different times, and many other aspects of the product can be customized. In most cases, the factory defaults will suit users just fine.

Those looking to troubleshoot security problems will appreciate AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5's test center application, which allows quick scans to be accomplished for individual problems or for an individual user. An integrated virus encyclopedia provides additional information on malware for administrators looking to understand what potential damage malware can cause.

Rounding out the protection are the antispam and e-mail scanning applications, which provide the security one would expect. The antispam capability checks for spam and tags spam e-mail as such, and the e-mail scanner looks inside e-mail to check for malware or phishing schemes.

On the channel side, Grisoft offers a basic partner program that creates an opportunity for higher margins, which can be realized with higher sales volumes. The authorized reseller program is where most VARs will find their channel support. The program offers competitive end-user pricing and has no minimum sales volume requirements.

High initial discounts help make AVG Internet Security Suite 7.5 attractive for small VARs, and an aggressive, graduated discount structure ensures high returns for VAR with high sales volumes. Grisoft also offers an aggressive discount program for government, churches, schools and charities.

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