Anti-virus software is a must today. For the small business user, a desktop-only product is appropriate, while the enterprise is better off investing in a system that performs automatic updates and other management tasks.
Desktop products cost in the $50 to $70 range; enterprise products run
from $US20 to $US40 per seat (negotiable, obviously, depending on the number of seats purchased). With an enterprise product, be prepared for additional annual maintenance charges.
For individuals, some companies offer free detection updates, while others charge an annual fee. This is really not an optional component. An out-of-date anti-virus program is almost worse than no anti-virus program at all, since it lulls the user into a false sense of security.
As far as detection and removal of viruses is concerned, our contenders handled themselves reasonably well, according to several independent testing organizations. All passed the ICSA Labs tests, all received the West Coast Labs’ Level 1 Checkmark certification for detecting known viruses, and all but Sophos received the Level 2 Checkmark certification for removal.
In Virus Bulletin’s 100 per cent ratings (which certify the software finds 100 per cent of viruses in the wild), for tests conducted this year, CA passed all platforms. NetWare, Network Associates passed all of the tests while Panda had no submissions in 2003, Sophos passed the Windows tests, but failed RedHat Linux, and Symantec and Trend passed all of the 2003 tests.