Conventional Internet security suites are great for standalone PCs, but try protecting a larger business network and you'll have to deal with real users who do unpredictable things, such as changing important settings. Sophos claims that its new Sophos Security Suite Small Business Edition 2 is just the tool to bring them into line.
The process begins by installing a management console on a central PC, which then enables you to set up the standard antivirus and firewall settings for everyone to use. You could make sure everyone has a scheduled virus scan that runs at lunchtime or overnight, say. And the firewall provides various interesting instruction detection options, such as the ability to block processes if their memory is modified by another app.
The sheer configurability of each package means the setup process can take a while. It's worth the effort though, because you'll be able to automatically install the firewall and antivirus tool across the network. You can then enforce your standard settings in a couple of clicks, ensuring everyone's running at the security level you need.
It's the inclusion of PureMessage that's the real corporate plus point here, offering spam blocking for Exchange 2000/2003 or IIS (SMTP) gateways. Exchange message stores may be accessed as emails are viewed, and newsgroup postings are checked for infected attachments.
The core spam blocking functionality doesn't offer the configurability you get with other suites, but it's accurate, and perfect for large networks. At £303 for five users, Sophos Security is significantly more expensive than the regular desktop suites. Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007, say, can be run on three PCs, and provides basic network management for only £40.
The price falls as you add more licences, though, with a 50-user, five-year deal costing only £23 per seat. And Sophos does a much better job of enforcing your security standards than PC-cillin. If you need Exchange spam blocking as well, then Sophos Security Suite would be our first choice. Mike Williams