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My network guy, Hector Morales, found that Avast is now free for educational institutions. I'm thinking this is a no-brainer for budget savings. 


Has anyone had any bad experiences with Avast? I'm installing it now and giving it a try. The approval process took about 10 minutes.

Mike Schmelder
Director of Information Services

Lancaster Country Day School
725 Hamilton Road
Lancaster, PA  17603-2491

717.392.2916 x246

www.lancastercountryday.org

  

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Here’s the struggle I’m going through:

 

[INTERNAL MONOLOGUE]:

I’d be interested in hearing if anyone has encountered an anti-virus product that (in real-time) protects the user 100% of the time.

 

It has been my experience that EVERY anti-virus product works in the following manner:

·         If the user has permissions to modify the operating system, the AV has limited ability to protect

·         Real-time protection only works on previously known “stuff”(virus/spyware/malware), not anything new

·         Most of our interaction with “stuff” is on the cleanup end (post-infection)

 

Someone mentioned to me the other day about focusing on not letting the bad stuff through your firewall to begin with (perimeter AV protection) and I think I will take that advice and focus my dollars in that manner.


While it’s great there are free programs out there (Avast, Microsoft), how much time should we spend on AV  and/or reduce the performance of the computer [with a real-time installation of AV] if only a few users become infected? (In our case it the SAME users!)

 

 

J

 

 

I'd like to second what Joe said. In fact, we rarely see large infections as in times past. When we do, it's usually malware that A/V doesn't block anyway.

For a while now we've been just as satisfied with free Microsoft Security Essentials as we are with corporate/paid Sophos (I wont even bring up Symantec which, in my opinion, is as bad as any malware!). We've realized that recovery AFTER an infection is more important than prevention. Keeping easy to restore system images on-hand and keeping documents backed up reliably (saved on the server or backed up with Backup Exec, a CDP device, TimeMachine on Macs, or our current cross-platform favorite: Carbonite) allows for the shortest downtime for our end users, and the least time waste or frustration for us.

It's rare, but when when someone does get badly infected, we just reimage their machine and restore their documents and settings. It takes far less time than trying to remove a pesky slew of malware.

As long as you have a reliable backup/recovery strategy, you don't have to worry about data loss. Free a/v like Security Essentials keep infections down and don't hurt performance significantly. A perimeter a/v firewall like a Barracuda limit those infections further.

That's what we've found.

J
------
Jeremy Angoff 
as Manager, OunceIT LLC. 

phone: 617.600.4605
email: jeremy@OunceIT.com
twitter: @MyTakeOnIt

Message from greene@glenelg.org

One thing that's been mentioned before - you get what you pay for. That makes me a bit hesitant about employing anything free at the enterprise level across the board.... Who's your point of contact on installation & distribution, never mind function? Where's your recourse if there is "an outbreak"? What is the incentive for the free product to keep improving? It will be great if it works out for you and others may follow suit based on your success. I think it's a bit intimidating to take the risk; but without risk takers, we might be missing out on a lot in life!

Joe's point is well taken. We find with Windows 7 and Kaspersky (migrations that happened pretty much at the same time), our time spent "fixing" computers - either through scanning/quarantine or, in the case of the stronger malware, simply reimaging machines in the interest of time (even me, a die-hard "let's find out the why, so we can avoid it in the future" person, has been a convert to this approach) - has DECREASED exponentially WHEN THE UAC has been employed so that our typical users do not have elevated privileges. The start of the academic year has been the best indicator: traditionally, when teachers have returned in August after having their laptops home all summer with all the convenience for pursuing personal interests (i.e., treading in the highly probable virus/trojan/malware waters), our small staff has spent a crazy amount of time working on cleaning up a large percentage of machines. But now? Simply a few. There's no comparison, really, other than "night and day".

Over the past week, I personally had to reimage two machines due to malware infections. One user had Admin privileges that had probably been given and forgotten about when she needed to install software & drivers for her home printer. The other user did not have admin privileges, but had a lot of "non-standard" and unnecessary-for-her-job software on there - my guess is that this second user either had the favor of a designated individual or somehow knew that person's password - a complicated matter, indeed, that is not really a good discussion to have but is a great reason to "think bigger" than the infection....

Right now, to deal partly in our (IT) own best interest and partly in response to the common gripe that comes against the business model approach ("but we're not a business!"), we're in the first steps of using BeyondTrust power broker software to allow elevated privileges for things like installing printers or installing updates to the "one-off" software - such as the music, math, and language software - so that we aren't being tracked down for our credentials each time another update comes out. We are actually downgrading the elevation of those users who for one reason or another had been put in the administrators group for their computer's UAC. Hopefully, they won't really know the difference but WE will because they will not be unintentionally corrupting their machines. I think getting the right balance will be time consuming at first; I imagine we will have to reevaluate things based on the different needs of different users (i.e, math teachers might be more inclined for us to freely allow them to install the latest update of Java - which we only push periodically instead of the nearly daily update that Java wants, but which also comes by default with the "Ask" toolbar). But in the long run I have high hopes that with UAC, BeyondTrust, a strong firewall and a strong A/V suite, we will be able to elevate the integrity of our machines & infrastructure as well as save on the expenditures of our time.

Message from mlederer@chapinschool.org

Sorry Mike, I don't know about Avast, but I'll add my two cents to the discussion.  I use Malwarebytes as a second tool before I reimage.  It is very effective on malware and "drive by" web installations.  Running it once on a full scan in the background is worth it if I don't have to reimage. 

Mark Lederer


From Mark Lederer's mobile phone
Director of Technology
Chapin School
mlederer@chapinschool.org



-------- Original message --------
Subject: [ACCESS] Avast Antivirus Free for Education
From: Mike Schmelder <schmelderm@LANCASTERCOUNTRYDAY.ORG>
To: "ACCESS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" <ACCESS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
CC:


My network guy, Hector Morales, found that Avast is now free for educational institutions. I'm thinking this is a no-brainer for budget savings. 


Has anyone had any bad experiences with Avast? I'm installing it now and giving it a try. The approval process took about 10 minutes.

Mike Schmelder
Director of Information Services

Lancaster Country Day School
725 Hamilton Road
Lancaster, PA  17603-2491

717.392.2916 x246

www.lancastercountryday.org

  

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Ah, yes: We also use Malwarebytes before we re-image.

Jeremy
------
Jeremy Angoff 
as Manager, OunceIT LLC. 

phone: 617.600.4605
email: jeremy@OunceIT.com
twitter: @MyTakeOnIt

Can anybody comment on their production use of AVAST AV?

 

1.       How long have you been using it?

2.       Do you use the centralized management features?

3.       Do you use it on servers? If so, how many?

4.       How many desktops?

5.       Do you pay for the technical support option?

6.       Would you recommend this as a good alternative to McAfee and ePO?

 

Thanks

 

Brandon Riffel – IT Manager, Technical Operations

Ottawa University

 

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Message from jcoehoorn@york.edu

I haven't used it for the college, but I used it personally for a long time starting back in 2001. Back then, continuing all the way until Security Essentials displaced it, AVast was my go-to AV for supporting family and friends. Here is what I liked about it.

1. It was free. This isn't just about cost. My experience is that end-users will eventually allow paid anti-virus subscriptions to lapse, and therefore end up out of date. You could pay for the best scanning engine and definitions in the world, but if the subscription lapses (and it always does), you may just as well uninstall. AVast did have a subscription, but that "free" price tag went a long way towards helping reduced lapsed subscriptions.

2. Small definition/engine update sizes. Back when I used AVast, most people I knew still had dial-up internet. AVast updates were typically at most only a few KB, usually 1/10 the size of updates for other products. This is what tipped me to AVast vs AVG from the time, as AVG could take more than an hour download updates. AVast was typically seconds.

3. Lightweight scanning engine. AVast just seemed to use fewer system resources than other products. This was back in the days of single core workstations, and so it was a big deal.

Again: I never used this product in an enterprise setting. The first two advantages are largely removed in a setting where the subscription is centrally managed and updates are downloaded once locally and distributed from a central server.

If you have MS Licensing, I'd vote against AVast for Education in favor of System Center Endpoint Protection for the same reason I eventually switched to Security Essentials at home: the price is right, and it's one less update cycle/tool to manage. These days, I believe the quality of scanning engine doesn't matter that much, as long as the basic functionality is there, because desktop AV is down the list in terms of malware defense. Patching your systems and not running with Administrator rights by default are far more important. Bonus points if you have a content filter at the gateway that can restrict known compromised and dedicated malware distribution sites. All three of those make desktop AV almost irrelevant.



Joel Coehoorn
Director of Information Technology
York College, Nebraska
402.363.5603
jcoehoorn@york.edu

 

The mission of York College is to transform lives through Christ-centered education and to equip students for lifelong service to God, family, and society



Can anybody comment on their production use of Avast AV?

 

1.       How long have you been using it?

2.       Do you use the centralized management features?

3.       Do you use it on servers? If so, how many?

4.       How many desktops?

5.       Do you pay for the technical support option?

6.       Would you recommend this as a good alternative to McAfee and ePO?

 

Thank you!

 

 

Kent Corser | Director, IT Technical and Client Operations

Main 800.755.5200   |  Fax 785.242.0182
Direct 785.248.2494  |  OU Help 855.268.4357


www.ottawa.edu | kent.corser@ottawa.edu

 

For 2 years, we have recommended the free version to our students (Windows and Mac) if they do not have working av software. I have been happy with its performance. We do not use it on institutionally owned computers.

Suzanne Gaynor
Director, Technology Resource Center
Hartwick College
607-431-4670


Can anybody comment on their production use of Avast AV?

 

1.       How long have you been using it?

2.       Do you use the centralized management features?

3.       Do you use it on servers? If so, how many?

4.       How many desktops?

5.       Do you pay for the technical support option?

6.       Would you recommend this as a good alternative to McAfee and ePO?

 

Thank you!

 

 

Kent Corser | Director, IT Technical and Client Operations

Main 800.755.5200   |  Fax 785.242.0182
Direct 785.248.2494  |  OU Help 855.268.4357


www.ottawa.edu | kent.corser@ottawa.edu

 

For 2 years, we have recommended the free version to our students (Windows and Mac) if they do not have working av software. I have been happy with its performance. We do not use it on institutionally owned computers.

Suzanne Gaynor
Director, Technology Resource Center
Hartwick College
607-431-4670


Can anybody comment on their production use of Avast AV?

 

1.       How long have you been using it?

2.       Do you use the centralized management features?

3.       Do you use it on servers? If so, how many?

4.       How many desktops?

5.       Do you pay for the technical support option?

6.       Would you recommend this as a good alternative to McAfee and ePO?

 

Thank you!

 

 

Kent Corser | Director, IT Technical and Client Operations

Main 800.755.5200   |  Fax 785.242.0182
Direct 785.248.2494  |  OU Help 855.268.4357


www.ottawa.edu | kent.corser@ottawa.edu

 

For 2 years, we have recommended the free version to our students (Windows and Mac) if they do not have working av software. I have been happy with its performance. We do not use it on institutionally owned computers.

Suzanne Gaynor
Director, Technology Resource Center
Hartwick College
607-431-4670


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