AVG Internet Security Business Edition (2016) Review

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  • Pros

    • Remote management for IT
    • Excellent user interface
    • Non-obtrusive, and light on resources
    • Quick and easy installation
  • Cons

    • Expensive, relative to McAfee and Norton
    • Windows Defender had faster scanning times

AVG Internet Security Business is the company’s most fully-featured offering for business. This software provides top to bottom security, including anti-virus, a firewall, email security, and IT remote management. Extra features are included as well, such as the ability to create personal data safes. This software isn’t inexpensive, but it does offer a complete package for business IT.

Installation and Setup

AVG_Install3AVG’s Internet Security Business suite is available in both 32- and 64-bit flavors. This is important in a business environment, where computers may not always be running a newer 64-bit operating system. The 64-bit version we’re testing was a 255MB download from the company’s website.

The product installation took just under five minutes on our Windows 10 testbed, which had a cable Internet connection. After opening the installer, it takes precisely two clicks to start the installation. Business IT can do a custom installation if they wish, which includes the ability to select the install directory. The installer will download newer update files during the install, which can vary how long it takes to complete.

Once installed, the software opens and automatically begins to update its threat definitions. This took less than a minute to complete over a cable Internet connection. The install is, overall, about as simple as it can be.

User Interface

AVG’s user interface is compact. It’s immediately obvious whether your system is protected or not, based on the color-coded circle icons. A red circle indicates something is wrong, while a green circle means everything is set correctly. The perimeter of the circle may be completely highlighted, as our screenshots show, which means that particular area of the software is fully configured. Partially highlighted circles indicate more configuration remains. Sometimes, a red exclamation point may appear in the circle, which indicates attention is required.

AVG_Interface1 AVG_Interface2

The icons are touch-friendly, another major plus. More and more touch-enabled devices are making their way into the business world, especially tablets like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet and Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Advanced Settings

Advanced Settings

Clicking or touching the icons brings you to the high-level settings, which consist mostly of turning on and off specific features. Clicking on the Computer section allows you to enable or disable anti-virus protection, for example. The small gear-shaped icon at the lower right of the AntiVirus icon brings up the advanced settings for that particular part of the software. These icons are throughout the software, and helpful since you don’t have to hunt through the advanced settings – just click the settings icon on whichever part of the application you want to access advanced settings.

The advanced settings are a boon for IT, though of less concern for regular users. We noticed the setting to “Report enhanced set of potentially unwanted applications” option was unchecked by default. This probably makes sense in a business scenario; business software tends to be more variable in nature. The last thing IT wants to do is have to deal with security software getting in the way of productivity. As we’ll see momentarily, IT can remotely manage these settings, turning them on or off at will from a central location.

Remote Management

AVG_RemoteAdministrationAVG offers remote administration for business IT. This allows IT administrators to connect their AVG installations to a central admin server, which syncs down settings, and also allows client PCs to send back statistics. These include scan results, events, and the status of connected PCs. The fact that settings can be stored in a central location removes a good portion of the setup legwork for IT. After installing AVG on an employee’s PC, they can simply connect it to the AVG admin server, and it can then be managed remotely. Given client PCs sync up their status and scan results, IT can stay abreast of any potentially dangerous situations.

Extra Features

One of the extras included with AVG Internet Security Business is Data Safe. This is available in the Computer section of the application. You can create multiple safes, which will show up as separate local drives on the computer.

The location is of your choosing, and must be set to a specific size (it can be adjusted later).

AVG_DataSafe1  AVG_DataSafe2

The safe will then show up in Windows Explorer. The first safe on our testbed showed as a D:\ drive. It’s normally accessible through Windows Explorer, as any other drive would be, though if you lock the safe (which is done through AVG’s interface after clicking the Computer section), the drive completely disappears. To re-open the safe, you’ll need to enter your password in AVG’s interface. It takes about five seconds to re-appear in Windows Explorer. Data Safe is a smart feature, and especially useful in a business environment where secure files may need to be stored locally. It’s also a good place to store personal documents that require safeguarding, such as password lists.

AVG right click menu

AVG right click menu

Also around data security, we liked that AVG added a right-click menu option to files in Windows Explorer, “Permanently Shred with AVG”. It takes just a second or so to delete small files under 10MB using this feature. AVG overwrites the place on the drive where the file is stored in such a manner that it’s (allegedly) impossible to recover. We weren’t able to refute this. We shredded a test file with AVG, and then attempted to recover it using Recuva file recovery software. It found no trace of the shredded file. However, Recuva was easily able to recover the same file when we simply deleted it in Windows.

User Notifications and Online Security

Silent mode options

Silent mode options

IT departments generally want the security software on client PCs to be as non-obtrusive as possible. AVG includes a Silent Mode with Internet Security Business, allowing you to turn off any or all user notifications. The notifications were enabled by default, but these are settings that can be synced down from the remote management server. Therefore, disabling notifications on client PCs is as simple as setting it on the remote admin server.

The only other day-to-day activity where users may notice AVG appearing is while surfing the web. Internet Security Business includes AVG’s LinkScanner utility, which is actually free software. This scans and highlights links on web pages, indicating whether they’re safe to click or not.

AVG_WebProtectionThe Online Sheild is the second web browser-related feature. It’s enabled by default, and automatically scans files as they’re downloaded. You’ll receive a pop-up notification if a file you’re downloading is dangerous.

Scanning Performance

To test AVG’s scanning performance, we connected a 2TB external hard drive to our test bed via USB 3.0, and scanned a particular folder on the drive with 354 folders, 4,847 files, and 42.4GB of used space. It took 9 minutes and 15 seconds to complete the scan. We scanned the same folder with Windows Defender, and it took 6 minutes and 35 seconds. We suspect AVG does a bit more thorough scan, though we did have AVG set to the quick setting.

AVG’s memory usage was reported as 76MB in the Windows Task Manager, with the usage from all of its running services added together. This is a relatively small footprint, given modern business PCs typically have 4GB of RAM or more. Our testbed had 8GB of RAM.

We observed our testbed’s processor usage range between 5 and 30 percent during the test scan, which means there was plenty of leftover performance for general tasks. Scheduled scans shouldn’t interrupt user activity. Overall, AVG Internet Security Business appears to be rather light on computer resources.

AVG_Scanning AVG_ScheduledScan

Speaking of scheduled scans, AVG Internet Security Business isn’t set to perform scheduled scans by default. We’d actually like to see scans be scheduled automatically. IT can change the schedule later by managing it on the central admin serer, but at least if scheduled by default, AVG would be actively scanning from the initial installation. AVG prompted us to perform our first scan 20 minutes after the installation completed.

Price and Value

One-year subscriptions to AVG Internet Security Business started at $50.39, after an instant 20 percent discount as we wrote this in mid-July 2016. Two-year subscriptions were a better value, at $75.99, again after an instant 20 percent discount. That brings the cost per year down to $38.

For comparison, McAfee’s Small Business Security subscriptions start at $79.99 per year, but cover five devices at that price. Norton offers a similar arrangement, covering up to five devices with their Small Business suite for $99.99, for the first year only. By comparison, covering five computers under AVG Internet Security Business would be $199.99, and that’s after the instant 20 percent discount. But AVG isn’t expensive for no reason. Keep in mind that the feature sets between these softwares aren’t entirely comparable. A firewall, included with AVG, wasn’t listed as a feature on the mentioned Norton or McAfee products, as of writing.

Potentially less expensive is AVG’s AntiVirus Business Edition, which was $35.99 per year, per device (again, after an instant 20 percent discount). It’s not the same as the software we’re reviewing in this article, so we can’t outright recommend it. AVG’s site shows it’s missing just one feature relative to Internet Security Business, however, and that’s email server security. This one feature is larger than it seems, comprised of three pieces: AVG email server security, anti-spam, and an email scanner. Given that threats are commonly spread via email, it’s a not-insignificant advantage in the Internet Security Business suite’s favor, and certainly worth consideration.

Conclusion

AVG Internet Security Business is a highly configurable software suite with business-friendly features. Its most exciting feature for business is remote management, which allows IT departments to both sync settings down to client PCs, and receive statistics and reports back, where they can be centrally aggregated and reviewed.

The AVG software installation was simple; it took us only minutes to complete. Furthermore, this software is non-obtrusive. We weren’t prompted or notified about AVG’s activity after we turned on its Silent mode (which again, can be done from the central admin server).

We liked AVG’s compact yet intuitive user interface. It’s touch-friendly, which is increasingly important as businesses adopt more touch-enabled devices like tablets.

The major downside with this software is that it’s expensive. The subscription price per computer, per year was $50.39, as of publishing this article. McAfee and Norton offered similar business security suites for considerably less per device – McAfee, for example, charged $79.99 per year, which covered five devices – but didn’t necessarily have the feature set offered by AVG. You could also consider stepping down to AVG’s AntiVirus Business Edition for $35.99 per device, per year, though you’ll miss out on the email security features.

avg boxartOverall, we’re impressed with AVG’s Internet Security Business software, and send it off with our recommendation.

Pros:

  • Remote management for IT
  • Excellent user interface
  • Non-obtrusive, and light on resources
  • Quick and easy installation

Cons:

  • Expensive, relative to McAfee and Norton
  • Windows Defender had faster scanning times



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