Product review: TVD eases virus update deployments

In the ongoing battle against network infection, keeping users up-to-date with the latest antivirus software and virus updates is an IT manager's greatest challenge. To help ease upgrading antivirus software and virus updates across a network, Network Associates offers Total Virus Defense (TVD) Management Edition 2.0.

This release adds centralised distribution of Network Associates' antivirus software and updates to TVD Management Edition.

Sites heavily invested in Network Associates' virus security solutions -- such as VirusScan, NetShield, GroupShield, or WebShield -- will greatly benefit from TVD Management Edition 2.0, a cost-efficient tool for deploying antivirus software across a network. I was most impressed with how easily TVD Management Edition now lets network administrators update end-users' machines.

Installing TVD Management Edition was simple, and I ran all seven of its components, including the Management Console, Server and Agent, Software Repository and Alert Manager, from one machine.

After completing this phase, I installed the antivirus components, NetShield and VirusScan, in the Software Repository, which holds the installation files that will be distributed across the network.

Before I could install the Management Agent and the antivirus software components, I had to manually tweak the configuration on my NetWare servers. For instance, I edited my NetWare server's AUTO EXEC.NCF file and added NAIAV.NCF to it so that the Management Agent would load.

The Management Console, a dual-pane window with drag-and-drop capabilities, reduced the time it took to configure the Windows NT server. I used it to name my domain, select the server for the Management Server, and drag and drop my servers and clients to my antivirus domain.

Also via the Management Console, I could configure and install antivirus software on any machine in the antivirus domain, coordinate scheduled scans, review alerts, generate reports, and set up all of my notification settings using the Alert Manager.

The Management Console also let me easily define all of my scanning options, which could be set to scan at any specified time of day. The on-demand scan option will be exceptionally useful for accessing a single machine, a group of machines, or every machine within a domain. The scan results were detailed, showing information about every machine in the antivirus domain, including alerts if a virus was detected.

TVD Management Edition makes updating Network Associates' antivirus software easy. To install antivirus software in the Software Repository, I could either use the Management Console tools or drag and drop the updates into the products page of the repository dialogue box.

I also liked TVD Management Edition's use of Network Associates' Alert Manager utility to notify administrators when a virus has been detected on a network server. The Alert Manager includes several notification options, including SMTP, e-mail, pager, SNMP, and Desktop Management Interface.

Administrators who have to manage many domains separated by a WAN link will appreciate TVD Management Edition's mirror repository utility. This feature let me copy new antivirus software from the master repository to a mirror repository on a remote site, where member machines could update themselves as they accessed their local mirrored repositories. This also lets you assign groups to update their software at different times, balancing network traffic.

TVD Management Edition is an effective and useful real-time software distribution system that provides easy implementation and administration. If you use Network Associates' antivirus software, this utility will ease your battle against network infection.

Technology analyst Ana Orubeondo (ana_orubeondo@infoworld.com) specialises in telecommunications and networking technologiesThe bottom line: VERY GOODTotal Virus Defense (TVD) Management Edition 2.0Administrators responsible for protecting networks from virus attacks will find this utility helpful for easing antivirus software deployment and updating processes for Network Associates' antivirus software.

Pros: Drag-and-drop administration; hierarchical centralised management architecture; easily defined scans; many notification optionsCons: Some manual configuration required for NetWare serversNetwork Associates, Santa Clara, California, www.nai.comPrice: $US24 per node for 5000 nodesPlatforms: Management Console and Server: Windows NT Server or Workstation; member machines: Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT Server and Workstation, NetWare 3.11 to IntranetWare 4.11

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