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Reporting. Enterprise managers need access to a wide range of information about the status of their antispyware operations, from overviews of infection status all the way down to detailed reports of particular infection and containment actions.

McAfee offers the most comprehensive set of built-in reports, with enterprise-wide summaries and detailed system-by-system breakdowns. SurfControl's built-in reports are solid, but not as comprehensive as McAfee's. In particular, SurfControl splits on-demand and real-time detection into separate reports.

CA's reports offer the information we expected, with nice management summaries, such as top 10 lists of infected machines, spyware specimens and infected users. Trend Micro offers a good set of reports, which seem to be more management-focused than offering fine-grained details on individual machines. We liked its report breakdowns by category of spyware, including keystroke loggers and browser hijackers. Webroot's reports don't include any behavior-based detection results; the data is stored in log files at the client. But, the product's on-demand scan reports are solid, offering a list of the most infected machines and most prominent spyware specimens.

eSoft's reports are essentially text-based outputs of scans.

Lavasoft's reports are the most disappointing--just summaries of enterprise-wide scans, without any detail about the particular spyware that was detected and what action was

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taken (e.g., quarantine, delete).

Finally, because several of these products use a back-end SQL database for logging report data, they support highly customized report generation using third-party tools. eSoft, McAfee and SurfControl work with MSDE, which is included, for smaller deployments, or Microsoft SQL Server. Webroot's default install uses DBISAM for smaller installations, and supports SQL Server. Trend Micro relies on MySQL and supports its interfacing query tools.

CA's proprietary back-end database offers no support for third-party SQL query tools, which reduced its grade. Lavasoft doesn't store any detailed information on the server, so it isn't useful for third-party query tools.

This was first published in May 2006

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