GFI Cloud review

Price when reviewed

GFI’s Cloud takes a very different tack from the competition as it joins up anti-malware and web-filtering services with a complete network support toolbox. While keeping our users safe we could monitor their system vitals, inventory their assets, ensure they were fully patched and run remote support sessions using TeamViewer.

GFI Cloud review

The base anti-virus service starts with a ten-seat licence for one year costing £180, while monitoring, patch management, web protection and remote control are all optional. GFI’s agent only supports Windows systems and takes less than a minute to install, after which each system popped up in our account portal in seconds. 

After reviewing our licences, we decided which components should be activated on each system. For the anti-virus service, this extended install time to six minutes… and this increased to around 13 minutes for those with web protection and monitoring activated. 

New systems go in a default group with a base set of profiles for controlling licensed services. It was easy to create new groups for our servers, workstations and Exchange 2013 system and tweak their policies to suit.

GFI Cloud review

The portal dashboard shows systems requiring attention while the network view reveals them all, with each assigned a coloured status icon. Click on one to access their services, check their hardware, see what they’ve been up to on the web and run malware scans.

Named simply as Antivirus, this component uses the VIPRE scanning engine that GFI spun out recently to ThreatTrack Security. This hasn’t affected its efficacy as it found all 20,000+ samples in the AV-Test malware reference set and returned a solid 99% zero-day detection score.

A quick scan of 72GB-worth of data on a dual E5-2400 Xeon Windows Server 2012 R2 system took four minutes but a deep scan dragged on for nearly 2 hours. System overheads weren’t a concern, though, with CPU usage averaging only 3% during the deep scan.

The monitoring service keeps an eye on areas such as hard disk health and running processes, provides four system performance monitors and lets you run remote command line or PowerShell sessions. Asset tracking is free and we found its hardware and software inventory very accurate.

GFI Cloud review

Activate patch management and it will download a database of recommended patches and scan systems to see what’s missing. We could auto-approve patches from selected vendors and reduce download demands by nominating one group member to act as a central repository.

The quick responses to portal commands impressed us, with policy changes and quick scan requests acted on in under a minute. Remote reboot requests sent a pop-up warning to the targets in only 14 seconds with the reboot following 5 minutes later. 

Emails are sent out regularly when systems aren’t responding or have issues, but this doesn’t include malware alerts so we had to keep a close eye on the portal to spot any concerted attacks. GFI doesn’t provide email protection either, so you’ll need to source this separately.

GFI’s star player is web protection. Up to 75 URL categories can be blocked or allowed on a per-policy basis, while bandwidth allowances can be applied to general usage, streaming media and uploads. Email alerts are issued if a threshold is breached and the portal provides handy graphs for bandwidth usage, website requests and alert status for the entire network or selected systems.

Subscribing to all services will more than double your outlay over other cloud security products but you are getting a lot for your money. If you want stiff client security and web filtering teamed up with network support and asset management then GFI Cloud comes highly recommended.

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