McAfee offers management tool for SMB suites

McAfee unveils ProtectionPilot, a tool to help small businesses manage security software.

McAfee introduced on Wednesday a new tool to help small and medium-size business (SMB) customers manage the company's enterprise security software.

ProtectionPilot is aimed at reducing administration time by centrally deploying and managing security updates. It also allows administrators to check for malware infections and locate out-of-date systems through its Interactive Security Dashboard, the company said.

The tool supports McAfee's SMB Edition security software suites, which include antivirus protection for desktops and file servers. McAfee's stand-alone Anti-Spyware enterprise product can also be managed using ProtectionPilot, the company said.

ProtectionPilot with McAfee Active Virus Defense SMB Edition, which includes virus scanning for gateways, servers, workgroups and desktops, is about £480 (AUD$1,160) for a five-node pack, excluding taxes. A node refers to either a server or workstation that the product protects.

McAfee Active VirusScan SMB Edition with ProtectionPilot management costs around £250 (US$606) for a five-node pack, excluding taxes.

SMBs are often unequipped to prepare and defend against new threats and ProtectionPilot streamlines security management for IT generalists, McAfee said. Spyware, or programs that surreptitiously monitor computer users' actions, have been labelled by McAfee and other antivirus vendors as an increasingly prevalent new type of threat that companies are now struggling to handle.

A recent survey of European companies by Websense, for instance, found that only 35 percent of respondents were able to stop spyware from sending confidential information to external sources. McAfee and other industry players such as Symantec and Sophos have all bolstered their antispyware offerings in recent months. McAfee is hoping to gain an edge by offering centralized management of its antispyware product using ProtectionPilot.

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