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I'm an IT volunteer at a local non-profit. I'm looking for a good AV/malware solution.

We currently use a mishmash of different client solutions, and want to move to something centralized. There is no full time IT staff.

What I'm looking for:

  • centralized administration - server is Windows Server 2003
  • minimal admin overhead
  • ability to do e-mail notification/alerts/reporting would be very cool
  • 10-25 XP Clients (P3/P4 hardware)
  • free or discounted solution for non-profits

We can get a cheap license for Symantec Endpoint Protection. My past experience with Symantec has been bad, but I've heard good things about this product. However, I've also read that it's kind of a nightmare to setup and administer, and may not be worth it for the size of our network.

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Check the recommendations against VirusTotal's lists of AV's. They don't release scoring information (how many each engine caught) but if it's not there I'd think twice about using it. virustotal.com –  reconbot Mar 16 '10 at 18:52

8 Answers 8

Check out Microsoft Forefront client security. Microsoft has a pretty good non-profit program under the open license charity program. unlike symantec Forefront is licensed per user, not per client, so as a side benefit your users can use it at home as well. I've tested it it vs symantec in my environemnt and it's far simpler to admin and deploy.

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We use AVG. It fits the requirements and is relatively inexpensive, compared to other AV platforms.


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We use ESET Smart Security/NOD32 and have been very happy with it -- see my answer to a previous question below. We're also a smaller company (<50 XP workstations) but have enjoyed the central management features -- the Remote Admin server is a free add-on, and the clients go for a pretty reasonable price. You'd need to ask them for an edu/govt/non-profit quote, but usually there's some kind of discount.


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Look at http://www.techsoup.org/. They serve non-profits by selling software extremely cheaply. The software is donated by various big companies and a valid non-profit can get things for almost nothing. In this way, you can have a "big boy" solution for peanuts.

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That's where we would get Symantec from, if we go that route. Getting Symantec cheap is only a good deal if it's really a good product, which is what I'm trying to find out. –  Jason Mar 17 '10 at 14:22
I've used Symantec for a number of companies of size 5 people to about 10,000 people. It has worked very well for me. –  Beau Geste Mar 28 '10 at 0:32
Also, Symantec can run managed with a central server for definition distribution and report or unmanaged where each system is on its own. Both work fine. Depends on what type of environment you want. –  Beau Geste Mar 28 '10 at 0:33

Check the fine print, almost all of them (including MSE, AVG, Avast, etc.) do NOT allow non profits to use them, just "home" computers.

Of course, you may choose to ignore the EULA.

The only one I can find that specifically allows non-profit use is Panda Cloud Antivirus


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MSE is licensed for business use on up to 10 client computers - though not for academic or government organisations: microsoft.com/security_essentials/eula.aspx#mainNav –  Oskar Duveborn Nov 23 '10 at 22:01

Take a look at sunbeltsoftware.com's VIPRE, with their new version of VIPRE Premium. It now incorporates a great firewall with the AV program. Get the Home version and you can legally install on any number of computers that are under the control of the NP. I've been using their product for about 6 years and this is the best version and with the family pack license I have it installed on all 14 of my PCs on my home network. The firewall can be set to simple or advanced mode (advanced mode you train it over time and it remembers what sites, applications, etc. you have authorized to run). It finds problems with systems that McAfee and AVG say are fine and they update their configuration files (AV) at least once a day. The app isn't a resource hog either on your system unlike some of them. You can even install a fully working copy and use it for 15 days, just be sure no other AV program is running or it could slow the system down by a factor of 50% or better.

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Tested and rejected this one. Almost no control over AV scanning and, contrary to what others might claim, has a serious impact on the machine's performance. On top of that, an absurd number of false positives. –  John Gardeniers Oct 27 '10 at 4:53

I don't think it's worth implementing a centralised server for your AV if you have 25 clients and are a non-profit with low budgets.

You will gain max benefit with min outlay by:

  • Standardising your AV client down to a single product. My recommendation would be Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free and very low maintenance. Installation takes a few mins per machine.
  • Withdraw local administrator rights from users wherever possible. If you're spread across multiple offices, nominate the person with the most IT savvy at that site to hold admin creds, but noone else.
  • Configure your internet links to use OpenDNS for name resolution, and take advantage of the malware blocking it transparently provides.

Apologies for answering somewhat off-topic. Lately though, I cringe at home and small business folks talking about paying for AV. I really don't think it's justifiable any longer.

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I agree about paying - believe me, we don't have any IT budget. But getting a free solution that requires tons of maintenance, or just doesn't work, is not a good deal. Having to individually maintain each client machine is an enormous headache when it has to be done by volunteers after hours. –  Jason Mar 17 '10 at 14:24

I would argue that using ClamAV would be a good solution. I have deployed this on a 100+ clients on a Windows/Linux network with pfSense acting as the edge protection device for network firewall IDS/IPS with snort.

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