As you may or may not have noticed from my earlier posts, I’m not a huge fan of the Kaspersky Internet Security suite. I love their anti-virus but I will never install their firewall again until they completely rehaul that system (for reasons like this and this – specifically deleting rules to keep KIS from spamming me).
So here is what I’ve decided to go with for the time being…
avast! Professional Family Pack
This package contains a WHS version of avast! and 10 Pro client licenses and updates for all 11 licenses for 3 years, all at a nice price of $150. My WHS is home-based and falls within the WHS version’s license and the other 10 Pro client licneses can be used on all of my computers, even my for-profit computers. Avast isn’t the #1 in detection rates (Kaspersky still beats Avast here) but it isn’t that far behind either. Also, if for some reason I need more licenses than this, I can begin to use the Free Home version of Avast on my personal copmuters at home and move my Pro licenses to any add’l for-profit boxes I might have. And lastly, having my WHS box be a single point to monitor and manage all AV installations would be quite nice!
The verdict is still out on this one but I THINK I’ll be using SuperAntiSpyware (SAS) for a majority of this. SAS has a free license but also has a better pay-for version that is very cheap and you can even get a lifetime license with it (a couple ways to do it but on average of $40 per 2 licenses for lifetime upgrades). I don’t have a whole lot of personal experience with it but have been doing some researching of various posts around the interweb and everybody seems to keep coming back to SAS for a lot of stuff. The name is definitely kind of a turn-off but I’m trying to get over that. The main points for me that I like are that it has a relatively small footprint, it has very high detection rates (unofficially determined by many different forums posts by people), it integrates into Windows Security Center (makes WHS happy), and it claims to play nicely with other anit-spyware applications (meaning I can have it run beside another application for better protection). I wish it was a bit cheaper but I’m not gonna complain much there – I’ll be able to get the 10 licenses I need for $200 for lifetime updates. Unfortunately, I cannot have WHS maintain all of these installations. Additionally, I do not believe there is a WHS version of this and I’m not going to test this on my WHS box to find out. I have yet to find anything for my WHS box for anti-spyware software.
Unfortunately, I have not yet determined what I want to use here. I guarantee you that Kaspersky is right out the window though! I THINK for now, all of my Vista boxes are going to happily continue using Windows Firewall. For my XP and 2003 boxes, I’d like to have something better than Windows Firewall, but I don’t know what I can use that are easily monitorable without requiring me to babysit them. Firewalls like Kaspersky’s with the constant nagging of allow/block is not an option because I am not going to babysit all of my boxes. And I think the main thing with Kaspersky’s firewall is that it’s more than just a firewall – it monitors executables that have changed and all other kinds of things which, don’t get me wrong, have value in some scenarios, but not when I have to personally administer 10 boxes that want to continually ask me about things every time there’s a windows update or even sometimes when an anti-virus app updates itself – NO WAY!
I’ll hit this topic again once I’ve decided on my final setup but in the mean time I’d appreciate any input on these things! Keep in mind that there are three important criteria for me:
#1. The product is one of the better quality products in detection rates or whatever
#2. The product integrates with WHS one way or another
#3. The product is very low-maintanance or is something that I can maintain universally from WHS
and a somewhat distant #4 is the cost – I’m happy to pay for the software but cheap/free is good too.