ePolicy Orchestrator Minds Anti-Virus Lines

Network Associates Inc.'s McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator 2.0 provides large companies with an easy-to-use anti-virus software management tool.

Network Associates Inc.s McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator 2.0 provides large companies with an easy-to-use anti-virus software management tool. Although it is limited to Windows systems, ePolicy Orchestrator provides more comprehensive reporting than competitors as well as the ability to manage anti-virus clients from Network Associates and Symantec Corp.

Released last month, the ePolicy Orchestrator update is priced at $17 per node for 500 nodes.

In eWeek Labs tests, ePolicy Orchestrator proved to be a solid management tool for McAfee anti-virus products that provides real-time, up-to-date analysis of new viruses. The main changes in Version 2.0 are a shorter setup time, a smaller size (104MB instead of about 200MB), support for Windows 2000 and Windows ME, less bandwidth usage to manage machines, more report types that are easier to read, and the addition of the MSDE/SQL database engine, which is Microsoft Corp.s Microsoft Data Engine (based on the Microsoft SQL Server engine).

The market for virus protection software is very competitive, and companies running heterogeneous environments will find other products have a broader reach than ePolicy Orchestrator. Symantecs Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.5 is a solid product that supports NetWare as well as Windows environments.

Symantecs product offers centralized management for a slew of Symantec anti-virus products but falls short of ePolicy Orchestrator in ease of use and reporting features, including cross-vendor reporting support. ePolicy Orchestrator allows administrators to get reports on McAfee VirusScan and Symantec anti-virus products, whereas Symantecs product reports only on that vendors software.

eWeek Labs tested ePolicy Orchestrator 2.0 on a single-server network running Windows 2000 Advanced Server on the server and Windows 98 on the clients. Installation was quick and simple. The console and the MSDE/MS SQL engine are installed on the server.

The administrator consoles interface makes it easy to push agents out to client machines. The centralized management console helped us oversee all computers in the network and let us put them in groups so anti-virus policies could be set for groups rather than individually. We could also cut and paste groups of machines from one group to another.

Administrators can select the types of virus updates they need. A handy new scheduling feature lets companies save on bandwidth and computer resources by scheduling the task of virus definition file updates once per day so every time a client computer reboots, it doesnt have to run auto-update checks.

Another new way ePolicy Orchestrator saves bandwidth is with incremental communication between the client agents and servers. Rather than sending all of a clients policy and machine property information to the server every time it communicates with the server, the agent only transmits information that has changed since the last transmission.

A great new reporting feature in this version let us pull up an outbreak analysis report that graphically displayed the start and end dates of virus intrusions and let us see which machines were involved, which helped determine the entry points of viruses.

For mobile workers, ePolicy Orchestrator now performs auto-updates or upgrade tasks at each dial-up connection to provide those workers with the most up-to-date information at log-in. We tested this feature using a laptop to enter the test network through a virtual private network via a dial-up connection, and the updates were made.