Wellington-based security company Network Pro has a big order from a government department, but its representatives were not allowed to identify the department late last month when the company presented its new managed virus checker.
Spokespeople from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were not so reticent. They pronounced themselves impressed with the capabilities of the product and attendant service, now being implemented in MFAT's overseas posts.
Execution of virus checking policies in those remote places is imperfect, says one. Staff may forget to do a regular virus-profile update. In the past, even when updates were sent to them by email, they were still sometimes not implemented promptly.
The Network Pro service pushes out an agent over the internet or a virtual private network like the ministry's to update the virus checker periodically, without any effort needed on the part of the remote office.
A special update can be sent out in the wake of detection of a particularly harmful virus; with luck this will get in ahead of the virus's spread to the remote location. This should confer more protection even than an assiduously maintained periodic update.
The product uses McAfee VirusScan as its core virus-checking engine.
Ministry representatives say the product was identified by word of mouth and selected without a competitive tender.
The managed environment not only processes updates automatically, but accumulates statistics on instances of viruses. In particular, it will identify any individuals within the organisation whose communications contain an unusually high percentage of infection. They can then be reminded of policies and warned to take more care.
While MFAT has control over the PCs on its network, many outposts also have PCs linked directly to the internet, and these cannot be controlled in the same way, a spokesman says. Here, the ministry is reliant on the good execution of regular updates by staff at the post.