Avast adds advanced security features to small business suites

By Dave Bailey
18 Apr 2011 View Comments
Avast business security management console beta screenshot

Czech security vendor Avast has updated its products aimed at smaller frims, demonstrating the enhancements to a handful of journalists in Prague late last week.

To make administration of desktop security software easier for organisations with limited inhouse IT expertise, the firm is to introduce a simplified management console. Called the Small Business Console, the software features a Silverlight-based centralised management interface designed to make it easy for small business owners to monitor, scan, update and protect PCs in their network [see picture].

Further reading

Avast business console beta 'Reports' screen shot

Avast's software quality assurance director Lukáš Hasik said: "The sweet spot for our business products will be firms with between five and 99 users, but the console will be able to manage anything up to 200 desktops installed with our anti-malware system."

Also due for release in the next few weeks are Business Protection 6.0 and Business Protection Plus 6.0, which include features culled from version 6 of Avast's free consumer desktop malware system, Avast 6.0,  which was launched on 23 February.

Both packages include auto-sandboxing, a virtualised environment that tests suspicious code safely on a user’s PC, and SafeZone, a separate desktop environment protected from threats including DNS poisoning and key-loggers, which allows for important tasks such as online banking.

Other features include a boot time scanner designed to tackle rootkits called Boot-time Scan, and a new plug-in called WebRep designed to enable community voting on web site reputation [see picture].

Avast WebRep feature screen shot

Avast chief executive Vince Steckler said: "Some 86 per cent of current threats are coming from infected web sites, so having a community vote through WebRep on web sites' reputation is a great way of protecting community users."

Steckler explained that the auto-sandboxing feature opens web sites in a virtualised environment designed to stop malware writing to the system disk and altering registry values, such as those enabling security software to run. SafeZone is an Avast controlled web browser allowing users to take on security-sensitive tasks such as online shopping or banking.

It differs from the auto-sandboxing feature in that it keeps malware out of the browser, while auto-sandboxing allows malware to run, but only inside a secure environment where it can't damage critical system processes and programs and user applications.

The Boot-time Scan option allows Avast processes to run before Windows boots, the aim being to stop infected systems gaining control of the run-time environment.

To achieve this Avast does not run the standard Windows file system drivers to access the hard disk, but runs its own drivers to allow lower level disk access.

Avast Business Protection and Business Protection Plus will be available in the UK before the end of June.


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