Tactical Advice

Review: Panda Cloud Office Protection

Panda Cloud Office Protection offers businesses a cost-effective managed security solution.

Cloud-based security solutions, which are provided from the Internet rather than being locally installed, offer a variety of advantages for both IT admins and end users. When it comes to antimalware and endpoint security, the cloud simplifies management and reduces costs, while also providing more effective security with less impact on PC performance.

Small and medium-size businesses face many of the same challenges and compliance requirements as larger enterprises, but most lack the budget and expertise to effectively manage security. Panda Cloud Office Protection (PCOP) provides cost-effective enterprise-class security for SMBs. PCOP is software as a service, hosted in the cloud, that provides an option for a managed security solution while still allowing customers to administer and maintain control.

End-User Advantages

Panda Cloud Office Protection does its job in the background and doesn't overwhelm the user with cryptic alerts they don't understand. The Panda logo is available in the Windows system tray, and right-clicking it reveals a handful of options that are available if the end user needs them.

Users can conduct quick or full scans and update the Panda protection from the systray. The Panda protection runs silently in the background and does not require any interaction from the user. If malicious activity is suspected, the user can choose to execute either a quick or full scan. It’s also possible to scan e-mail or specific files or drives manually to detect and identify malware.

Why Panda Cloud Office Protection Works for IT

One of the strengths of Panda Cloud Office Protection is that it is preconfigured with sensible defaults that provide adequate protection right out of the box. Protection can be configured and customized as needed, but it is nice that the default installation provides at least a baseline of security best practices.

When logged in to the Panda Cloud Office Protection Web console, IT admins are provided with a number of options for deploying protection through the Installation and Settings tab. Separate profiles — custom configurations of security settings — can be created for different scenarios, such as desktop PCs in the office versus notebook PCs connecting from a hotel lobby or neighborhood coffee shop.

One of the most critical capabilities for AV products today is heuristic detection, or the ability to identify and block unknown malware threats before signature updates are developed. Panda is a leader in the area of proactive heuristic malware detection. In the AV-Comparatives test for proactive detection of new malware, Panda came in first place, with a 63 percent detection rate. Panda was No. 1 among all AV competitors for threat detection on the PC Security Labs tests and received an overall rating of five stars — again, the highest ranking possible.

Disadvantages

One downside to any cloud solution is that its efficacy hinges on being connected to the cloud. Malware scans and signature updates rely on a functional Internet connection, and if that connection goes down or is impeded in any way, the quality of the protection can be dramatically reduced.

That said, security is a full-time job. There is no silver bullet that can simply be installed and left unattended. Security software must be kept up to date, with someone dedicated to monitoring updates and keeping abreast of emerging threats and attack techniques. For SMB clients that don't have the resources to implement and manage security effectively, PCOP represents a viable security solution that delivers a solid bang for the buck.

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About the Author

Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley writes and blogs on network security and other technology topics. You can follow Tony on his Facebook page, or contact him by e-mail at tony_bradley@pcworld.com. He also tweets as @TheTonyBradley.

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