AVG Internet Security Business Edition 2013 review

£768
Price when reviewed

Aimed at protecting up to 200 networked systems, Internet Security Business Edition 2013 (ISBE2013) takes everything AVG has to offer and amalgamates it into a centrally managed package. Most users will have come across AVG’s free consumer antivirus software; this package adds anti-spam and email scanning for workstations and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007/2010, web security, identity protection, a client firewall and support for SharePoint servers.

It looks good value, too, as the price includes support for workstations and servers. Mail server protection is included; when you buy a 25-seat licence, for example, you get protection for 25 mailboxes as well.

Management is carried out via the AVG admin console, which loaded in a few minutes on a Windows Server 2012 system. Its DataCenter component provides data storage for workstation configurations, while UpdateProxy looks after all updates and can be deployed on multiple systems.

Client deployment is handled by a separate utility, which can remotely install the client software to selected systems, Active Directory (AD) domain members or those in an IP address range. We found the install routine to be host-resource-hungry, taking up to ten minutes per client. IP address scans are also slow, taking 1hr 30mins to check a single IP subnet.

AVG Internet Security Business Edition 2013

For clients, we used a range of virtual Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 clients hosted on VMware and Hyper-V servers, plus physical Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 systems. All systems were domain members, so we could pick them by searching our AD tree and shoot the software at them.

During this phase, we noticed the virtual clients with the lowest resources were taking the strain. One host briefly lost contact with the deployment utility due to CPU usage that reached 100% at times.

Deployment to Windows Server systems is the same, but the process is manual for Exchange servers. For our Exchange 2010 server, we had to run the executable locally and update the client with an Exchange anti-spam filter and scanners for the hub server role, SMTP and VSAPI.

The admin console is easy to use, although AVG hasn’t made any significant updates – it’s almost identical to the central console from 2007. It allows you to place your protected systems in different groups, each with their own settings. As new systems receive the client software, they’re placed in a default group for immediate protection, and clients that have problems are moved to a separate “non-compliant” group.

The workstation client has the same Windows 8-inspired interface as the latest free antivirus app, minus the annoying adverts. Windows servers get the antivirus and anti-spam components, but lack identity protection, web browsing or the firewall.

Group shared settings determine the security stance of each member. All AVG components are accessible from here, so you can switch them on and off, modify them, create scheduled scans and push the changes out immediately.

AVG Internet Security Business Edition 2013

For malware detection, you can have the client pop up a local warning and take remedial action. When we introduced a selection of malware to our clients, AVG spotted them immediately and produced a warning icon in the console next to the relevant system.

For email, the anti-spam client pops up to let users know it’s scanning. It worked well, but we found its 91% zero-day protection rating in our last security suite roundup mediocre.

Reporting features are pretty ropey. You get the eight report templates that were introduced three years ago, with none for email scanning or spam activity. For information on the latter, you can only view a simple statistics window. The same applied to our Exchange server: we were able to view activity only locally, or pull up a simple statistics screen at the console for each plugin and export it as a CSV file.

ISBE2013 is good value, and it largely looks after itself once deployed. However, it’s disappointing AVG has made so few changes to the admin console, and the reporting facilities need improvement.

Details

Software subcategory Internet security

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