Webroot to offer security by subscription

Easing security woes for SMBs

Nobody likes desktop PC security software. It's intrusive, it slows you down, and it constantly needs updating. And if you think blocking viruses and other malware is a pain on your home computer, spare a thought for the IT staff at work. When you have dozens or even hundreds of PCs to manage, security can quickly become a fulltime hassle.

Webroot claims it can help. Beginning in June, the company will offer a new service designed to ease security woes for small to midsized businesses. There are no servers to manage, no database updates to download, and no client software to install. All it takes is a simple monthly fee.

The idea is to stop attacks from viruses and Trojan horse software before they happen, by filtering network content at the source. Customers of the new service will have their Web traffic diverted to Webroot's datacentres, where software filters will screen it for suspicious URLs, malware, and other security exploits.

In principle, it's not unlike what you can already do with some intelligent routers or firewall appliances. The difference here is that Webroot manages everything, eliminating the need for security training or dedicated IT staff.

Webroot has offered a subscription e-mail security service since early this year, which competes with similar services from the likes of Postini and Trend Micro. Subscription-based Web malware filtering seems to be a first, however.

Mind you, Webroot isn't telling you to retire your desktop security software just yet. Even companies that subscribe to the new services should still run anti-malware scanners on their desktops "as a second line of defence," the company says. I say selling security software sounds like good work if you can get it.

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Neil McAllister

PC World (US online)
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