Kaspersky Small Office Security review
Kaspersky Small Office Security provides protection for five standard Windows PCs and one server running Windows Server 2008 or Small Business Server 2011. Our tests focussed on desktop protection, but if your business uses Windows Server, it's important to keep the server safe too. Unfortunately for businesses that want centrally managed anti-malware but which have a Linux or even a NAS-based server, Small Office Security isn't available in a pack without the Windows Server module, although its five-desktop licence is still very reasonably priced.
It's hard to argue with Small Office Security's performance in our tests. The software protected our desktop PC effectively in all 100 rounds of testing, completely blocking 98% of malicious programs. Only two made it onto the PC at all, but they were neutralised before they could do any damage. The program's accuracy in our false positive tests was also good, only blocking one benign program, while warning that another six carried some potential risk, making it one of the least oversensitive business security suites around.
When you install the desktop anti-virus client, you can protect its settings via an administrator password. This prevents users from tinkering with the settings you've imposed for their (and your company's) benefit, even if they otherwise have full administrator rights on their PC. Once enabled, you'll need the password to change web policy settings, access the management console and exit the application on a client system, but you can also apply the password to application and backup settings if it's important than no one fiddles with those either.
The desktop console shows you at a glance whether your system is protected, and also provides a number of tabs that give you full access to the program's key features. The Protection Center lets you click through to see which protection modules are currently engaged in keeping safe your files, applications and online activity. You can then click through to each module's advanced settings.
The Security Zone tab provides access to a sandboxed web browser which allows you to open suspicious URLs in a protected virtual environment that keeps malicious programs from gaining a foothold on your PC. You can also look at the cookies and identity data stored on your PC, although the list view can be overwhelming, particularly as it includes entries for programs that aren't installed on the system. Finally, Application activity lets you look at the programs on your system, take a look at the status Kaspersky has assigned them, such as trusted or unsafe, and view the resources they're taking up if they're running.
Other shortcuts allow you to manually start scans and updates and provide access to Small Office Security's extra tools, which include a utility to make and restore backups locally, on removable media, on a network drive or on an FTP server. There's also a password manager, which allows you to save all your passwords in a single encrypted store, use a virtual keyboard to securely enter passwords for secure services such as online banking without fear of key loggers, optimise your browser security and create a rescue disc - you can also use the installation disc for this purpose.
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