Avira Endpoint Security
Strengths: Good anti-malware suite and fairly easy to administer. Reasonable value.
Weaknesses: We would have liked to see some more functionality, and a little more extensive support and capabilities outside of Windows as endpoints today are not limited to Windows devices.
Verdict: Worth looking at if you are in the market for anti-malware at the endpoints and centrally managed. You do need to be a Windows shop, though.
Avira Endpoint Security consists of Server and a professional security and management console. The management console forms the core of the system and manages all of the other components under a single pane of glass. Server protects Windows servers and Professional covers other endpoints. The predominating functionality is anti-malware. This was a Windows implementation and the deployment is typical of a Windows environment. However, Mac and Unix also are supported.
We began by installing the management console. While the other two modules - Server and Professional - have consoles, this tool is universal in that it manages all Avira products. The installation was more or less straightforward with only a few steps that posed even the smallest challenges. Sometimes we found the menus to be a little obscure but once you get used to them they work quite well.
The management console consists of a server and a frontend. Once they are installed and configured the frontend acts as the user interface and it uses a standard tree menu that is quite straightforward. Users familiar with Windows certainly will have no trouble with this. Since Avira treats all of its modules as software packages, moving a package from the software repository and installing it is simple. Endpoint computers can be added and configured easily as well. Reporting is complete and easily accessed as are user management, configuration, the security environment and events.
Avira Professional has its own console and is largely an anti-malware product. Its language, functionality and method of operation are typical of enterprise-grade anti-malware tools. Additionally, it scans in- and outbound emails and web accesses so its functionality mirrors that which we would expect to see on a gateway device at the perimeter. Of course, in this case, it sits at the endpoint. Its control centre is specific to the product and deals with detailed configurations of the web, email, system scans and firewall configuration. It is, essentially, an administration tool for the product.
The third module was the server module. Like the other modules, this is a software package in Avira-speak. It has its own console used to configure the tool. Server functionality includes a system scanner, real-time protection, a scheduler, an updater and a quarantine manager. As with the rest of the Avira products, this one is focused on anti-malware. This tool is intended to protect Windows servers and includes email functionality both in- and outbound.
Overall, we found a lot to like with this solution, but we are disappointed at its limited functionality in the context of endpoint protection. Since it focuses on anti-malware - with the exception of some firewall functions - organisations must purchase other tools to cover such things as encryption, DLP, etc. Setup was fairly straightforward, but there is overlap between the product-specific consoles and the management console tool. Presumably, a lot of what would need to be done in a large enterprise could be managed from a single pane of glass, but the individual product consoles offer some level of granularity that would be useful in a central management system. We really don't see that as a show stopper, though.
Pricing is consistent with the market. However, it is a bit better value since support is included. We liked that, and we liked that it is phone support. But we wished it was more than eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week. Things happen in the malware world outside of working hours and you may need access to product support. The website area seemed weak to us. There is a FAQ and you can download a lot of documentation, but it all was just a bit thin.
Prices are US-based, thus indicative only.