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Firms 'pick-n-mix' anti-virus products
Friday, August 30 2002
by Matthew Clark

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Most corporations prefer to deploy anti-virus software on their e-mail server, but increasingly firms are placing products at multiple points on their network.

In a recent report, UK-based research and marketing firm Frost & Sullivan said that around 80 percent of firms deploy anti-virus (AV) software on their e-mail server. Interestingly, however, over 70 percent have also placed malware stoppers on desktops, and nearly 60 percent have AV e-security products sitting on their corporate firewall.

These figures suggest that many companies are now electing to place anti-virus software at multiple points on a network, in order to increase the odds of intercepting harmful software, noted Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Jose Lopez.

"Clearly, the optimum solution for end-users appears to be using different anti-virus products at different parts of the network," Lopez added. "However, whilst vendors stronger at the desktop such as Network Associates and Symantec look to upsell server-based solutions, there are obviously also opportunities for other vendors such as Trend Micro and Sophos to gain a foothold within these customer bases."

Indeed, the report went on to say that corporations are choosing to roll out products from different vendors, a strategy viewed as fail-safe. This is because differing anti-virus software makers have established varying reputations in terms of how effective their products are in different points on a network.

Moreover, Frost & Sullivan's research said that although corporate security experts can recognise specific product brands, in many cases they are not aware of which firm makes which product. "The vast majority of respondents could provide the name of at least one anti-virus vendor... however, product rather than vendor brand names enjoyed higher recall among many end-users, with respondents often confusing the product with the company name," Frost & Sullivan said.

"This issue was particularly evident in the case of the two main anti-virus vendors in the market - Network Associates and Symantec," the company added.

Other notable points in the research said many of the large global AV vendors are now facing "a stiff challenge" from regional vendors, with prominent competitors such as Panda Software (Spain), Sophos, Message Labs (United Kingdom), F-Secure (Scandinavia) and Kaspersky Labs (Russia) emerging.

Finally, the report said that in terms of customer perception, 20 percent of respondents to Frost & Sullivan's survey identified virus detection rates as being the main selection criteria for anti-virus software products. Time lines, ease of signature updates and speed of virus detection also featured prominently. Price was not accorded much importance by end-users, Frost & Sullivan said.

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