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antivirus for nt4.0 server

Posted on 2003-03-27
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I need to put antivirus software on an nt 4.0 server which is serving about 10 computers.  What is the best antivirus software to purchase?  
Are there any problems I need to be aware of?
Will it slow down my machine alot (the server is nothing special)?
Additional suggestions and comments are most welcome.

Thanks,
j2
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Question by:johnnydos
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19 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8220601
...oh yeah, and I'm not sure if any service packs have been installed.  (Where can I find that information on the server?)

I had read of compatiblity problems between nt4.0 and antivirus programs.

j2
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LVL 10

Accepted Solution

by:
pbarrette earned 2000 total points
ID: 8220867
Hi johnnydos,

Personally I've used Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition for a long time, and I'm extremely happy with it.

You can force virus updates down to the clients, and the updates can be funnelled through the server, which reduces bandwidth usage in larger networks. Also, the clients can be installed and managed remotely from the server.

Most importantly, Symantec is usually very good about keeping updated with the latest virus signatures.

If you don't want to bog down the server, then you can disable "Real-Time" virus protection, but the processor overhead really isn't that bad unless your server is handling a lot of volume.

The only problem I've had with NAV Corporate, is in burning CD's. To burn a CD, you must temporarily disable the "Real-Time" scan to prevent buffer-underruns caused by the CD data being scanned as it is written to the CD.

Just my opinion,
pb
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Expert Comment

by:HVYMTL
ID: 8220967
johnnydos,

 I would suggest you apply antivirus software to your workstations and leaver your server alone.
 My M.I.S. software vendor tells everyone- do not use anti virus software on client or server. (even though they run it themselves on their machines- they will not offically approve of it)
 But- since my Lan is exposed to virus introduction, I run antivirus on the workstations. Also- since many antivirus programs eat up resources, and can conflict with other services and software, I also limit how intensive the antivirus looks over each machine. It's a compromise of performance versus security.
 Another problem- I have had problems with compatibility with some antivirus brands. Last fall I uninstalled a antivirus program that was not working out well- during the uninstall- it crashed the O.S., took me several days to get that straightened out- had to edit registry to remove all traces of program- not something you would want to do on a server!
 As far as "the best" program- only you can determine that based on what you need to do, and how often do you bring in information from other sources that may be infected. It also depends on what O.S. you run- some program are best on 1 O.S. but not another.

 here are a few of my favorite virus advice links pages-

http://www.gladius.f9.co.uk/virus.html

http://open.jeffersonhospital.org/tju/dis/virus/resources.html

I use the Hamburg University tests for my selections- you can read about each vendor product and how it scored on each type of test. Look at only independent tests- not tests sponsered by the software producers.

 On the service packs applied question- when server or work station is booting up @ blue screen you will see-
NT4 build XXXX service pack x

 last but not least- I use free products as well as the usuall stuff. Price is not a indication of quality or performance.

 hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:JDMeister
ID: 8221233
I use Norton Corp also, and they have a 10 client license version available.

If you are scanning the server, it uses too much CPU, and your users will complain. Esp if your server is not much.

I do have it installed on the server, and it does catch the odd e-mail virus, and I only scan the server when they go home.

So many morons, sending viri out they, it hard not to have anivirus installed.

Hope it helps
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markmedici
ID: 8221502
Another vote for Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition, now called Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition.

I agree that scanning the server consumes lots of resources.  That's why you schedule this to happen during off hours (and infrequently at that).

The real-time protection is going to be your first line of defense, anyway.  But this can also affect performance if you don't adjust the default settings.  Disable scanning all network activity right off the bat.  Then consider whether you want to check every file every time it is acccessed (I don't), or only when it is created or modified (I do), and whether you want all files checked (I don't), or just those that are at risk of carrying a virus (I do).

My configuration doesn't result in any noticeable performance difference, and most of our servers are 3 years old, and under 1GHz CPU.
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Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8221512
>I would suggest you apply antivirus software to your workstations and leaver your server alone.

HVYMTL... I like that suggestion because the server is not great and I'd like to leave that computer alone as much as possible.

All...
However, I would like to do a one time scan of all the files on the server and then just let the virus protection on the workstations provide the protection of the network.  I would rather not spend the $250 for the norton corporate.  Can I use the personal edition of norton on nt4?  I don't think it supports it.  Is there a different company that supports nt4 server in the personal edition (~$75)?
And, if so, is this an adequate solution?

Thanks,
j2
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markmedici
ID: 8221520
Oh, FYI, I have a client that uses NAI/McAfee NetShield.  It seems to work, but does not include any central management, configuration or update facilities, and its automated update is rudimentary.  

Overall, I am not as comfortable that NetShield is properly configured and up-to-date as I am where the client uses Symantec AntiVirus.
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Expert Comment

by:markmedici
ID: 8221602
When looking at the price, remember that NAVCE (or SAVCE) is for a MINIMUM of 10 computers (server or workstation doesn't matter), and INCLUDES the management application AND ONE YEAR OF LIVE TECHNICAL SUPPORT plus software updates.

We're talking about $700 for SAVCE: that's $70/computer.  You can install, configure, update, maintain and verify SAVCE from the server without ever touching the client PC.  

If you buy individual, desktop versions of an antivirus product, you'll have to visit each PC to install and configure, then periodically revisit each PC to verify they are still configured properly and up-to-date.  With individual desktop antivirus software, your users may be able to change, disable or unload the protection.  And you'll still pay around $50 per computer.  Isn't your time and peace-of-mind worth that extra $20 per PC?

Your choice.

I'd be interested in hearing from someone use uses NetScan/VShield with eOrchestrate Policy Manager (NAI's extra-cost management app for McAfee) or TrendMicro's corporate offerings.  How do these compare?
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Expert Comment

by:HVYMTL
ID: 8221707
Johnnydos,

 checkout all those links- you will gain a wealth of knowledge about all products.
 it appears you are looking at protecting a small network- 1 server and 10 work stations.
 In my opinion, a server based product to push updates out to workstations, central file management etc. is over kill for a small LAN- but that depends on your time and access to those machines.
 I admin a similar setup, with no internet access from the LAN, updates for me are done manually, a few minutes per machine for each update. All virus threats come from floppy or CD disks at the work stations- no one touches my server. If you had a virus on your server it would more than likely be present on your work stations as well.
 If you have a active internet connection to your LAN than I would go the full bore server & workstation package route and make sure you have hardware and software firewalls installed.
 and markmedici has made a very good point- corp. versions and multiuser Lic. are often the most economical per unit compared to individual retail versions.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Netman66
ID: 8222592
Panda Antivirus is very cheap in comparison to Norton Corporate.

Last time I priced it it was $65CDN for the server license.

Check it out here:

http://www.pandasoftware.com/

Cheers,
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Netman66
ID: 8222617
You'll need to email them with your question and they'll tell you the correct product you need and price the single license.  It's a great product and the pre-sales team is very good.

0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markmedici
ID: 8222712
In regards to your service packs, you should be at Service Pack 6a on Windows/NT 4, plus there's a number of subsequent hotfixes that should be installed.  You can determine your SP level by running "WINVER" from the Start --> Run menu.

You can use Microsoft's HFNETCHK program (see http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/tools/tools.asp) to determine if you're missing any hotfixes.  MSIE 5.1 or greater is required.

As far as the anti-virus goes, I guess I'm being stubborn, but 10 minutes spent on each PC to logon, check the config, update the .dat and logoff, times 10 PC's and one server = 1 hour and 50 minutes.  That's roughly equivalent to a movie with my kids, dinner out with my wife, half a round of golf, five runs down the ski slope, a swim across the lake, a walk in the woods with my dog, or even a long nap.  As far as ROI goes, the extra $200 for managed vs. unmanaged antivirus sees a positive return after only five weeks, assuming the administrator makes $50k/year.

After all, the advantage of IT is automation: doing things in a consistent and predetermined manner to get predictable results with a minimum of human effort and reduced costs.

How much good is saving a few dollars if one user disables his antivirus because he thinks its slowing-down his machine, and then gets hit by SoBig and sends infected email to all your clients?  Or your boss comes to you with a CNN article about a new virus and wants to know if the company is safe, and you have to spend an hour or two checking that each PC is protected?  Or a the new virus that came out on Tuesday infects all your PC's on Wednesday before you update your .dats by hand on Friday?

Are there cases where I wouldn't use a managed antivirus?  No.  Even with only 5 users I'd pay (have paid!) the $700 for a managed antivirus, and would save that money in less than a year.  If the server was so old, slow and short of memory and disk space that the antivirus or management utility would interfere with reliability or performance, I would STILL buy the managed antivirus, but install it unmanaged on all the client computers until the server was upgraded/replaced.

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Expert Comment

by:bij202
ID: 8226436
I currently use NAI/McAfee Anti-virus on my servers and workstations.
Although being somewhat cumbersome to install (instructions are not very clear) it is easy to maintain, use and also very good at detecting viruses. :-)

Using ePolicy Orchestrator to manage the entire domain is very simple and easy, I have also used it to manage multiple domains and it is optomised so not to kill a network (not bandwidth hungry).

The latest version (enterprise 7) of their a/v software will work on servers as well as workstations happily.

Support from NAI is also very good.

Hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:HVYMTL
ID: 8232016
johnnydos,

 here is a list of products I have tried.

McAfee-used for several years on W95/98 O.S., worked ok, but slowed O.S. down as well as applications.

Norton-"                        " ditto

Inoculate for about 1 year on NT4 workstations, worked fine, O.S. and apps ran much better compared to above. This was a free program which later cost me $10 to upgrade to current version-EzAntivirus.- I continue to use this product. Only complaint- it fights with Zone Alarm when I reboot, other wise works fine.
 At home- Ezantivirus became a pain on Win2000 O.S., since I shutdown, reboot this computer daily I removed it. Tried free download of Panda. I really liked this program used for several months- worked fine except again- firewall conflicts.
 Currently use AVG by Grisoft on Win2000- free download version. Works fine, daily updates. No firewall problems.
They have a NT4 server version(must purchase/possibly trial download?)
 I can not vouch for NT4 performance but I often see it recommended along with the Panda programs.
 Another product, F-prot has a free version and trial versions also- not sure if it runs on server.
 checkout @ http://www.f-prot.com/
 And far as cost goes- as markmedici pointed out don't "spend a dollar to save a dime"
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Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8232881
good feedback.  I'm off for the weekend, so I'll be checking out some of those ideas monday morning.

thanks,
j2
0
 

Author Comment

by:johnnydos
ID: 8239909
Thanks all for the feedback.

I decided to go with Norton Corporate.  Seems like most of the responses supported this solution.

j2
0
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:pbarrette
ID: 8247133
Hi Markmedici,

I have posted points for your help here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinNT/Q_20570398.html

pb
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:markmedici
ID: 8249028
pb, I appreciate the thought, but the points aren't important to me.  Better for you to hold on to them for future use.  I'm just happy I could help.

-- Mark
0
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:pbarrette
ID: 8249090
Hi Mark,

Please, take them. I have a Premium membership, so I have points to burn. You deserve them.

pb
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