AVG is one of the latest security software vendors to harness cloud technologies. Its 2011 products incorporate the snappily named People-Powered Protection to gather malware data from connected users worldwide and process this to provide a rapid response to new threats.
The AVG Internet Security Business Edition 2011 package offers a centrally managed solution suitable for five to 200 PCs (Windows only) and throws in Exchange server and file server protection for good measure.
The key component is the remote administration tool, which can be installed on any networked workstation and allows full management of remote AVG clients via an agent installed on each PC.
Installation proved very easy, and intelligently chosen defaults allowed us simply to press 'Next' through most of the wizard. A Firebird database is provided, or you can use SQL Server, SQL Server 2005 Express or Oracle 10g/11g.
A Lite version can be used that just installs an update proxy server and allows basic installation scripts to be created. Database and update server roles can be divided between different systems if needed to provide a degree of load sharing.
Client PC information can be imported from Active Directory during install. The admin console can install (or update) AVG remotely, or create scripted network installs, both of which can be configured with a simple wizard. All client components and settings can be chosen from a list.
The console is fairly easy to understand even for less technical users, and includes comprehensive client status plus quick links to common help topics. Remote tasks such as forced updates, rollbacks or reboots can be selected from a list.
A good range of predefined HTML graphical reports is included but, although there's a comprehensive list of report parameters to choose from, the template layouts can't be modified.
On the client side, the interface has had a makeover compared to previous AVG versions. It's a lot clearer, with simple scan and update buttons in the left pane, but still shows links to each individual security module.
A new 'Fix' button gives one-click troubleshooting for modules reporting errors. Optionally, Windows 7 PCs can install a sidebar widget to start scans and updates, plus links to AVG's assorted social networking sites.
For web protection there's also an optional AVG browser toolbar plus a Link Scanner that also links with browsers and MSN, ICQ and Yahoo instant messaging clients.
The AVG Firewall replaces the Windows firewall, and profiles can be controlled from the notification area applet.
Scanning priority can be set to adjust automatically depending on user activity, reducing annoying slowdowns. We found this to work well, and AVG services used well under 100MB of RAM in normal running.