Kaspersky upgrades KOSS suite

Kaspersky Lab addressed specific issues raised by existing and prospective customers in its upgrade to the Kaspersky Open Space Security (KOSS) suite, said Peter Beardmore, senior product marketing manager for Kaspersky, in a visit to Toronto this week.

Three applications within the KOSS suite, which includes a range of options for network endpoint security, received upgrades: Kaspersky Administration Kit 8.0, Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Workstations 6.0 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Fileservers 6.0.

Administration Kit 8.0, Kaspersky’s management console, is entirely rebuilt and focused largely on usability and task-based administration, said Beardmore. There is a Wizard that brings you to basically everything you need to do with the product, he said.

“For the user whose whole life isn’t about using just that product and managing only endpoint security, it allows for high-level visibility of protection across your entire network,” said Beardmore.

The product is built to scale and accommodates SMBs with as few as 10 users to large enterprises with tens of thousands of users, Beardmore pointed out. “It doesn’t require a security degree to go out and deploy this product. It’s user-friendly and it’s IT-department friendly,” he said.

IT managers at small organizations will benefit from the easy-to-use dashboard, noted Beardmore. “The real-time system status is extremely important for your typical IT administrator and they can drill down into excruciating detail, down to an individual workstation,” he said.

“For the large organization with folks exclusively decided to endpoint anti-malware, it’s also a very powerful tool because it has the capability to remotely administer basically every security policy in the product,” said Beardmore.

But one of the most significant benefits of the new administration kit is “it significantly reduces the impact on operations when it comes to deploying Kaspersky products, literally starting with the installation of the administration kit,” said Beardmore.

The management console makes it easy to move from a current product to Kaspersky through an automated rip-and-replace process, said Canadian country manager Kevin Krempulec. “It is all user-driven and easy for them to discover what their current product is, remove it, install Kaspersky and do that all from a centralized console,” he said.

The two endpoint products, Anti-Virus for Windows Workstations 6.0 and Fileservers 6.0, focus on protection and performance and are the first commercial products to include Kaspersky’s new anti-virus engine that was released in its consumer line roughly one year ago, Beardmore pointed out.

The anti-virus engine has improved detection and removal of threats such as polymorphic viruses and root kits, while upgrades to the heuristics analyst better address zero day attacks, unknown exploits and reduce false positives, he said.

Kaspersky has also “spent a lot of time with Microsoft to make sure this product fits hand-in-glove with Windows 7,” said Beardmore. As a platinum partner on the Microsoft Windows 7 launch, the company is participating “in virtually all Microsoft activities here in North America as part of the Windows 7 launch,” he said.

The public prototype for Windows 7, which Kaspersky released in 2008, was extremely popular, according to Beardmore. “The Microsoft site became the No. 1 feeder for our own site in the Americas and we saw over one million downloads of that product,” he said.

One of the advantages Kaspersky had when the company first rolled out in North America was that it was Vista-ready, said Beardmore. Many enterprises chose not to adopt Vista, so it didn’t turn into the advantage Kaspersky hoped it would be, but it did allow Kaspersky to make a name for itself when it came to Microsoft platform support, he said.

Kaspersky has seen as “overwhelming response” from Canadian customers since it launched its Canadian office in December 2008, said Krempulec. “The number of transactions we’ve done has increased by 128 per cent versus where we were a year to date in 2008, so we are obviously making a positive impact on the market and people are very receptive to it,” he said.

The three “Release 2” applications are included in all Kaspersky business product bundles and existing KOSS customers can upgrade at no additional cost.

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