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McAfee, Panda, and Trend Micro all have complex pricing models in addition to many feature sets to deploy to your desktops. All three vendors offer discounts for various circumstances, such as multiyear licenses or quantity purchases.
Trend Micro's pricing model is the simplest: $58 a year per desktop for a single version of OfficeScan and all of the product's features. This price includes two desktop licenses -- one for the software itself and one to manage it. (These licenses aren't bundled because of how cloud software is installed and activated.)
McAfee Total Protection has four differently priced versions:
- Basic: Antivirus, antispyware, desktop firewall and basic Web-surfing protection ($35/yr.)
- Extended: Basic plus Web filtering and vulnerability scanner ($44/yr.)
- Advanced: Extended plus email protection and email server protection ($60/yr.)
- Software-as-a-service email protection only ($26/yr.)
Although the Panda website is a confusing mish-mash of products and prices, basically there are two options: You can purchase just the Cloud Office Protection for $55 per year, or you can pay $62 per year for a bundle of all three cloud versions.
Traditional client/server antivirus products are in the same price range as these cloud-based services. (Symantec, for five licenses, ranges from $24 to $35 per license.) Therefore, there is no cost advantage to purchasing the cloud-based products at this time -- especially because in certain circumstances, they may end up costing you more.
The ideal cloud-based antivirus product would have a combination of the best features in the three services reviewed. It would have Panda's scheduled automatic scans and detailed reporting, the very granular detection capabilities of McAfee, and the simplicity of a single version, limited memory footprint and host intrusion detection from Trend Micro.
Not one of the cloud-based products is better than the others, and none of them offer the range and depth of protection that standard client-based products offer. As a result, the tried-and-true Symantec endpoint protection (or your own favorite client/server product) is a better choice in terms of features, price and protective measures. Unless you have to manage a very mobile and distributed workforce, I recommend sticking with the client products.
The cloud is still not an entirely a safe place to protect your PCs, but each of these vendors continues to improves its products. Therefore, it's worthwhile to check back in a few months and see what has changed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Strom is a freelance writer and professional speaker based in St. Louis. He is the former editor in chief of TomsHardware.com, Network Computing magazine and DigitalLanding.com. Read more from Strom at Strominator.com.