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Best server Antivirus for SBS 2003 plus 5 workstations?

bigkeefer asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hi All,

I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to the usual Symantec and Mcafee etc. solutions for a SBS 2003 environment with 5 clients (although only have 3 for the time being)

Avira's personal AV gets good marks for best detection etc in the free personal market. But has anyone experienced their Server solution? Or heard any opinions from other people?

Failing that: any other solutions?


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Sophos makes a decent small business suite.

AVG is decent and a great buy:  http://www.grisoft.com/doc/SmallAndMedium/lng/us/tpl/tpl01

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Top Expert 2006
Hi bigkeefer,

also heard some good things abotu avast

Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
I know you asked for OTHER softwar rather than Norton or McAfee ... to me, my data is important to my business, so I don't want to trust it to relatively inexperienced antivirus vendors that may undercut others in price... and in turn, in quality.  Here's my standard comment regarding Antivirus Software.

When it comes to antivirus software, I believe you should not go cheap (aka free).  Free products ARE better than nothing, but commercial products, in my opinion, have better chances of success and better chances of catching newer viruses.

Which would you rather, go to a doctor with 6 months experience or go to a doctor with 25 years of experience?  I want the experience so my chances of being misdiagnosed are far less.  

For business, I recommend McAfee.  For enterprise environment, McAfee Enterprise Edition is a great product that is highly manageable and easily installed.  McAfee has been making quality antivirus software for at least 20 years - they generally know what they are doing.  I've used them in a large environment before with almost ZERO conflict with any installed program (the one exception I can recall was Corel Easy CD Creator in the mid 90's).  They update virus definitions quickly and in my experience, a well updated network running McAfee will have a very LOW chance of experiencing a virus outbreak.

For business, I DO NOT recommend Symantec.  While things may well have changed in recent years, a few years back, I tried installing a current version of Symantec Antivirus Corporate edition on a Windows 2000 Terminal Server 6 months after 2000 was released.  Symantec did not support terminal services.  McAfee had been working great on terminal services EVEN IN BETA VERSIONS OF 2000 for months prior to it's release.  (I'm sure the current version supports Terminal Services, my point is, I find it difficult to excuse their slow progress in keeping the product compatible with current technologies).  A couple years later there was a couple of highly publicized virus outbreaks.  My company was hit with one the day of the outbreak early in the morning.  By midafternoon, McAfee had definitions to remove the virus. Another company I consulted for used Symantec.  They were hit as well and they used Symantec.  Symantec took two days to release a non "beta" definition file - they did release a tool to clean it - MANUALLY.  Had we used Symantec at the larger company I worked for it would have required hundreds of man-hours to clean the systems using the manual symantec tool.  McAfee covered us in hours.

For home use, I still lean towards McAfee, though I'll admit not as strongly as with corporate.  McAfee doesn't do nearly as much messing with your system that Norton does, but I have seen it occasionally interfere with e-mail, when it's on-demand email scanning is enabled. But that was only once on one client's system.

I do NOT recommend NORTON ANTIVIRUS at all (for that matter, I do NOT recommend MOST norton products - the last product they made that didn't slow down the computer more than it sped it up was the Norton Utilities for Windows 3.1 in the early 90's).  My reasons are similar to corporate.  The norton definition files can be significantly slow in being released.  Further, it seems whenever there is a new service pack or even AOL version, Norton has a tendency to conflict with something.  I've seen issues where it couldn't install after being uninstalled because norton still leaves registry settings and files behind - they have a special tool to remove it completely - the simple need for such a tool is, in my opinion, a glaring example of why Norton is poorly programmed.

If you really don't consider your computer's safety and reliability important to you, then by all means, use a free product such as AVG, Avast, AntiVir, ClamAV, or another free product.

Trend, BitDefender, CA's product, and the various others may be just fine.  But I trust experience and my data is important to me, so I'll pay for protecting it (until I switch to linux).

Here are some links with reviews:
(If they are outdated and don't respond, please let me know).

Some notes:
One virus software may claim to find 50,000 viruses and nother 150,000 - this doesn't mean that one is better than the other - it means one considers each variant of a virus a unique virus where another considers all variants to be under one virus.

These are my opinions, based on my more than 11 years of professional experience and 16 years of personal experience.  Others may feel differently and have different experiences.  

And remember, NOTHING is 100% certain.  Most programs have hueristics that have varying degrees of success, but the best way to identify a virus is through definitions and they can't be included in the definition until SOMEONE has been infected.
Additional information:  Microsoft Antivirus partners:  http://www.microsoft.com/security/partners/antivirus.asp


Thanks all for your comments!

I also do not like Norton AV (or Security Suite) products for many of the same reasons: conflicts with other programs, breaks itself, doesn't always live update properly, resource hungry etc. etc.

I think I'm going to try Avast - it's the only reasonably priced one for Small Businesses!

I've split points among you all - many thanks for your time and input!
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