By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2005-02-14 Print this article Print

With its CounterSpy Enterprise solution, Sunbelt exhibits its experience in designing enterprise-class software.

CounterSpy Enterprise is the only product we reviewed that includes integrated deployment tools. During tests, we could push agents to clients directly from the administration console, or we could create .exe or .msi files to use with other deployment methods. However, to deploy agents via Microsoft Corp.s Group Policy Objects, Sunbelt required us to create an .msi package and then use a separate tool (which Sunbelt provides for free).

Click here to read reviews of Tenebrils SpyCatcher 3.0 Enterprise and Webroot Softwares Spy Sweeper Enterprise 2.0.
CounterSpy Enterprises central server comprises three primary components: the Policy service, which maintains and distributes the policy settings; the Update service, which is responsible for updating clients with the latest definitions; and the Reporting service, which collects usage data and leverages Business Objects S.A.s Crystal Reports to provide a nice variety of canned reports.

Currently, all services must be installed on each CounterSpy Enterprise server, but Sunbelt officials said they plan to offer distributed partial installations in the near future. That will be a welcome change, because running this multitude of services frequently placed a heavy load on the CPU of our test server as we changed screens or created new reports.

CounterSpys Admin Console, which can be installed directly on the CounterSpy server or an administrator workstation, is the only console application we reviewed that requires a password. We could log in to multiple CounterSpy servers, although we still had to manage servers individually.

Unlike the other products we tested, CounterSpy Enterprise does not organize managed computers into groups. Instead, administrators assign a workstation directly to a policy that dictates scan schedules, remediation actions and connection settings. Although wed prefer that Sunbelt allow us to configure group objects to simplify management while mirroring our organization structure, Sunbelt has at least provided excellent filtering tools for organizing many managed workstations within a policy.

Sunbelts anti-spyware products have the advantage of leveraging multiple spyware research teams that identify spyware strains and create detection and cleaning routines. In addition to its own researchers, Sunbelt receives definitions from Microsoft researchers because of a previous licensing agreement with Giant Company Software Inc.s Giant AntiSpyware. Giant Company was purchased by Microsoft late last year. This advantage became apparent while cleaning our test systems, as CounterSpy Enterprise narrowly bested Webroot Spy Sweeper by leaving the fewest spyware traces (as detected in a mop-up scan).

Click here to read a review of Microsofts AntiSpyware beta, a repackaged version of Giants anti-spyware application. CounterSpy Enterprise has the best reporting tools weve seen by far, offering a wide array of high-level and heavily detailed reports that can be organized by date ranges.

CounterSpy Enterprise, which started shipping in December, is an excellent value, especially given its performance: At $18 per machine for 100 clients or $13 per machine for 500 clients, its the least expensive product we reviewed.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at andrew_garcia@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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