Packed with security features that can protect a company's computers from attack, Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus offers nearly complete defense from the worst that the web can throw at your business. From its firewall and Virtual Private Network (VPN) to a data shredder and password manager, Pro Plus can keep data safe and secure. On the downside, it let known viruses through, saps too much of a system's resources and lacks backup software.
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Like other malware programs, Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus uses overlapping defensive techniques: traditional scanning of the system's memory and storage for known viruses followed by heuristic behavioral analysis to detect the signs of an attack. When the software sees something new and potentially dangerous, Avast's CyberCapture technology kicks in, sending a code snippet to Avast's cloud lab for analysis and a fix. Happily, all this occurs behind the scenes and your company can decline to send malware-related material to Avast.
In addition to a two-way firewall, the PC version has Avast's Behavioral Shield, spam protection and Rescue Disk – all of which are absent. Pro Plus for PCs goes a couple of steps further with a secure sandbox that can try out suspect code without endangering the rest of the system and can protect against emailed malware or someone hijacking an employee's web cam and phishing attempts.
Rather than just removing the File Allocation Table (FAT) entry for a file Pro Plus's data shredder randomly overwrites the file's contents. In other words, it's gone for good.
Its built-in password manager consolidates an unlimited number of log-in credentials, including for the company's data infrastructure, making online life safer and easier for employees. For those with a short attention span, Pro Plus has a Silent Mode that blocks malware warnings.
A must-have for companies with mobile workers, Avast's SecureLine VPN encrypts communications. The SecureLine network has servers in 34 countries – from Australia to the UK – including 16 locations in the US alone.
With many of the same protective features, Kaspersky Small Office Security adds integrated backup and can help workers recover from a ransomware attack by copying key files and restoring them behind the scenes. It does without Pro Plus's VPN, though.
Business Antivirus Pro Plus's version 18.6 works with Windows (Windows 7 and newer) and servers (Windows Server 2008 through 2019 and Exchange Server 2010 through 2016). Apple Macintosh computers with OSX 10.9 or newer software can be protected as well.
After downloading the 7.3MB installer file, Avast's software does a quickie scan, followed by automatically installing the program. Because Pro Plus works with a server-based management console, you'll need to configure it to send email alerts. It took eight and a half minutes to download, install and configure the program to start protecting a PC.
Security and Performance
Based on AV-TEST's most recent survey (July and August 2018), Pro Plus version 18.5 provides adequate, but not airtight protection. During July, Avast's software identified and disinfected 99.2- and 99.9-percent of zero-day and widespread threats. This improved to perfect 100 percent scores in August, showing that the software adapts to new threats. The competition (Kaspersky Small Office Security, Symantec Endpoint Protection and Trend Micro Office Scan) all had perfect 100 percent results in both months, though.
Pro Plus protects without any annoying false positives, according to the AV-TEST results. The program did eat into system performance. A Standard PC slowed down the opening of popular Web sites and a dozen business apps by 24- and 14-percent. The competition had a lighter touch with Symantec's Endpoint Protection lowering performance by 10 percent on Web work and Trend Micro's Office Scan slowing the launch of apps by only 8 percent.
It took the program 33 minutes and 50 second to do a Full Scan of my company's HP Elitebook Folio G1 with a 1.2GHz M7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 250GB of solid-state storage capacity; the scan looked at 859,409 files. The software performed a Smart Scan of the newest threats (including new viruses, passwords, browser add-ons and network weaknesses) to the system in 21.9 seconds.
The Pro Plus client interface is functional and occupies half of the system's screen. Dark blue, it can seem ominous, but the main Status screen is dominated by a prominent check mark in the middle to show the system is safe. It turns to a red exclamation mark if you're under attack or the license has expired.
Up front, Pro Plus's side tabs lead to Protection (including scanning, the Sandbox and Firewall), Privacy (including the VPN, password manager and Data Shredder) and Performance (including the software updater). The program's Settings section gives access to customize features but be prepared to do some scrolling up and down to get to what you want.
Pro Plus has a Task Tray icon that provides a handy backdoor to the program. It includes instant access to updating the software, turning on its silent mode and opening the full interface.
The Administration Console is powerful and shows the current virus definitions in use across your company's computers. Company IT admins can also track scanning results and send an alert about an incomplete scan or malware found on an employee's computer.
Support and Pricing
If an employee has a problem with an infection, Avast has a dedicated team for business support. They get 24-hour treatment on weekdays, but there are no technicians available on weekends for emergencies. In addition to a thorough knowledgebase and forum with common problems and solutions, Avast lets you submit support tickets.
The software includes a way to make a rescue disk that could help revive a computer overloaded with malware. It takes a few minutes to set up and can be loaded onto a flash drive or DVD.
While Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus costs $60 for a single seat per year, a 10-pack license goes for $540 ($54 per seat) and a 50-pack license costs $2,200 ($44 per seat). By comparison, Kaspersky Small Office Security is a bargain at $150 for 5 users ($30 a seat) and $1,080 for 45 users ($24 each).
It may not offer perfect protection, but Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus can secure every employee's computer with a firewall, capable Virtual Private Network and thorough data shredder. Its powerful management console can keep an eye on every computer in an organization. If your company has lots of mobile workers, Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus's VPN is a good way to protect their data and communications from online assault.
On the downside, the software defenses can slow systems and Pro Plus is on the expensive side at $44 per seat when you buy 50 at a time versus half that for the competition.
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