Products of the Year 2008:

Antimalware

Gold Award:

McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and AntiSpyware Enterprise

McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and AntiSpyware Enterprise

With Microsoft getting in the antimalware game--behind free antivirus and antispyware in Vista and its Forefront Client Security business software--standalone antimalware vendors have to adjust their strategies and improve centralized management, spyware and rootkit protection.

Readers deemed McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and AntiSpyware Enterprise ahead of the pack, praising the speed of signature updates to the product as well as its ability to detect, block and remove malware. Administration and configuration also scored well with readers.

"Viruses, zero-day exploits, vulnerabilities in software, keyloggers, spyware, rootkits--customers want protection from all these threats in a single integrated fashion," says Ed Metcalf, senior product marketing manger for McAfee. "They don't want to manage them with multiple management consoles."

McAfee AntiSpyware Enterprise satisfies concerns over administration by pushing its protection onto systems where McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise is installed, providing both defenses with the same engine, DAT files and management interface. VirusScan Enterprise, like many antimalware products, moves beyond a strictly signature-based design. McAfee's tool also uses heuristics and genetic detection to provide protection from malicious code.

Another feature of the antimalware combination is its access protection rules, where customers can define how a system is used. "With [these] rules, we can lock folders, files and processes down," says Metcalf, suggesting that a user could configure VirusScan, for example, to block the execution of any non-Windows executables, close ports or prevent the alteration of any file extensions.

Users are also able to customize the update process for remote systems, and tailor field updates to physical locations and connection speeds.

In addition to the management capabilities, readers praised McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and AntiSpyware Enterprise's reliability and ease of use. McAfee's focus on integration and management put it over the top. Both VirusScan and AntiSpyware Enterprise are essential parts of McAfee's Total Protection product, released a year ago. The suite includes a desktop firewall, host intrusion prevention and a network access control system.

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