BitDefender Business Security Suite 3
Strengths: Smooth installation, good value, effective policy-based security
Weaknesses: Exchange 2003 not supported by BSS console, basic reporting, poor client anti-spam performance
Verdict: Good value, but SMBs running Exchange 2003 should wait
BitDefender has traditionally focused on the consumer market, where its security software suites have got accolades. This year it moves firmly into the SMB market, where its Business Security Suite 3 (BSS3) offers a complete security solution for workstations and servers, under a centralised management console.
BSS3 can be customised - you can pick and choose from BitDefender's entire software stable, with clients available for protecting workstations and file servers plus components for mail, SharePoint, Samba and ISA servers. But only the BitDefender component for Exchange 2007 can be managed centrally by BSS3. The majority of SMBs will still be using Exchange 2003 and to protect this you must use the Security for Mail Servers standalone application. BitDefender advised us that integration with the management console will happen early this year.
The main administration manual is well written and structured. Consequently, installation is a pleasant experience and one we completed in a few minutes. The routine loads the management server and console and adds SQL Server Express 2005, if needed.
On first contact with the console, you'll find BSS3 has already run a network discovery and placed all the systems it finds into a default unmanaged computer group. Deploying the management agent is simple and licensing is handled with a single process.
Systems are placed in different groups for easier management and the Network Builder tool lightens the load, as you can use this to view all unmanaged systems and drag and drop them in required groups.
For Security for File Servers to be included in the management console you need to apply a small add-on. You then have a set of server-specific policies to deploy that will result in the File Server component being automatically installed on member systems. For virus scanning, you can enable realtime protection, choose a protection level, and decide on quarantining. For local workstation anti-spam, you have five detection levels to choose from.
User controls apply fairly basic web filtering at the client. However, you can stop specific applications being run by users and it's possible to block web access.
More client controls are provided, as you can assign WMI scripts to systems and groups that will run specific tasks. Scripts can be used to enable or disable RDP access to a workstation, restart or shut down selected workstations or entire groups, get reports on running processes, memory and disk utilisation, run programs remotely or remove applications. System reports and task results are displayed by selecting a WMI script and viewing its last response. This is an area where BSS3 is wasted: it should offer more sophisticated reporting tools.
We tested anti-spam performance on a Vista client and found out-of-the-box results disappointing. With an aggressive policy setting, we watched BitDefender score less than a 50 per cent accuracy.
BSS3 is one of the easier security software suites to deploy and its pricing makes it good value for smaller businesses. Management is easy but anti-spam performance is poor. It will be incomplete without the Exchange 2003 component.