Working on the theory that one size does not fit all, Computer Associates International Inc. has released its InoculateIT network virus protection software in an assortment of form factors, each suited to a different size and scale of implementation.
The three network versions are the Workgroup Edition, Advanced Edition and Enterprise Edition. Also available is the Personal Edition, a free downloadable product for individual PCs that is not linked directly to the network versions.
“The Workgroup Edition is designed for the departmental environment or for the small company,” said Gordon Twilegar, director of security strategy for CA in New York. “It supports single-server environments, which means you can install it on a single server that could support up to 250 clients or workstations.”
The Advanced and Enterprise editions are designed for multi-server environments and feature centralized management of the product across those servers including centralized alerting, Twilegar said. They also have the added feature of automated roll-out for installing the software on multiple servers and PCs.
“The Enterprise product provides some additional features such as an option called the Internet Protection option. Basically, that uses the same technology but stands between the corporation and the Internet. It works in conjunction with firewalls,” Twilegar said.
“That option filters and scans the e-mail (and Web page information) that comes in and out of your organization for viruses or malicious code…in the form of Java applets or ActiveX controls. This looks for suspicious behaviour that might be malicious and blocks them out.”
All three versions can send out updates on a schedule or on-demand in an emergency such as the recent Melissa virus scare, as soon as the update becomes available from CA, Twilegar said.
Jim Balderston, an industry analyst with Zona Research in Redwood City, Calif., was not briefed on InoculateIT in particular, but provided general advice for choosing network virus protection. He said the most important features to look for are ease of administration and rapid response on anti-virus updates.
“As a new virus hits the network, how quickly does the anti-virus respond and how quickly can you get that patch or update on the network?”
Balderston said these type of products are useful, particularly to large organizations.
“In general, having any kind of centrally administered security product is going to have advantages over desktop-by-desktop products for a number of reasons,” he said.
The main reason is for ease of administration in terms of not having to go to each PC and update it. Secondly, central administration keeps security out of the hands of end users, Balderston said. He said this is important because users don’t tend to manage their security or virus software well, since they often don’t think infection will happen to them.
“Let me tell you, it can happen to you. I had an experienced PR guy recently who got infected with a fairly common virus that attaches itself to outgoing e-mail, and he sent me a press release that had a virus on it,” Balderston said. He couldn’t recall the specific virus but said it wasn’t Melissa. Other common viruses of this type include Happy99.exe and Papa.
“A company that’s sending out viruses to the press or to partners or to customers is going to have to do a lot of work to repair the ill-will created by that mistake,” Balderston said. Putting virus control in the hands of administrators allows for better enforcement of security policy, he said.
Pricing for InoculateIT Advanced Edition (www.cai.com/products/inoculateit.htm) begins at US$695. Client agent pricing depends on the number of agents, ranging from US$49 for one user to US$4,250 for 250 users.
Computer Associates Canada in Mississauga, Ont., can be reached at (905) 676-6700.