Trend Micro Client Server Security for SMB 3 review

Price when reviewed

As part of Trend Micro’s latest worry-free initiative, its Client Server Security (CSS) suite offers small businesses an easily deployed security umbrella. It purports to require minimal support and aims to tackle viruses and firewall duties. This latest version adds plenty of extra features to the mix, including a new management interface, virus outbreak identification and containment, plus vulnerability assessments.

CSS clears the first hurdle easily, as installation is a swift affair, which loads an Apache server and the Security Dashboard on the designated server. The latter provides a tidy, well-designed interface, which we found easy enough to navigate. It opens with an overview of all components and colour-coded icons to warn of problems. All systems to be included require an agent installed and this can be achieved easily from the Dashboard. The remote install option allows you to view the network, select individual systems and push the agent to them simultaneously. Alternatively, CSS can email each client with the location of an installation script or create a domain login script. We opted for the remote install and, even though you have to provide login credentials as you add each one, we had the agent loaded on half-a-dozen systems in a matter of minutes.

Client systems and servers are placed in groups in the Dashboard, which each have their own security policy. Local access to the agent console can be locked down tight or you can open up specific functions, allowing users to run their own scans. Along with the agent, the routine loads Trend’s personal firewall service. This can be enabled and disabled from the Dashboard, and the advanced option allows you to set up custom rules and deploy them to selected clients. You can allow users to interact with it locally, but from our experience personal firewall software is far less desirable than having a solid SPI firewall at the internet gateway.

The agent also has the option to scan incoming mail for viruses, although this feature only supports Outlook, Outlook Express and Eudora Pro. However, Trend offers optional messaging security that brings into play anti-spam and email content filtering, plus anti-spyware. It requires a separate agent installed on the mail server and integrates into the main console. It only supports Microsoft Exchange, but this does make some sense, as the majority of small businesses are going to be running Microsoft’s SBS anyway.

During testing, the anti-virus functions worked well – all attempts to introduce viruses to our test systems were picked up and blocked by the local client. We attempted to download test viruses too and the process was blocked immediately. You can also decide whether a warning message is provided locally on the client system for these events. Trend’s ActiveAction is a set of predefined responses to attempted infections that are downloaded along with each new signature file.

For the price, Trend Micro is offering a good proposition to SMBs looking for simple but effective protection against viruses. The firewall component isn’t worth much to a small office, but the complete package is particularly easy to deploy and requires minimal manpower to maintain.

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