Ever since I joined TechRepublic, I have worked off the same desktop machine, used the same operating system, and run the same anti-virus software package that relied on updates either manually or from a software schedule program. All of this changed dramatically two days ago.

Although I’m still working on the same computer, it has been ghosted to run Windows 2000 Professional and now uses anti-virus software that is updated not from my machine, but from a server within the network. I’ve gone from client-side to server-side virus software protection. And this switch has inspired the topic of this week’s debate.
The feature presents a balanced discussion among our members on the topics of interest, such as hardware, software, and the Internet. If you have a topic for Member Debate, feel free to send us a note.
Understanding the benefits of each application
I will go on the record and say that I’m not a huge fan of client-side applications. I’ve always believed that if you wanted to distribute something throughout a network, then you should go with server-side applications. When I learned that TechRepublic planned to use a server-side virus application, I was definitely thrilled.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using server-side virus applications:

  • One stop virus update
    This is probably the best benefit that a server-side virus app has to offer. While client-side applications must be updated individually, only a single update is required to update the virus information on the server, which then distributes the new virus data to the client machines. You won’t have to worry if your users have updated their virus programs lately.
  • No need to instruct users
    With an automated system, users don’t need to understand how to operate a piece of software. They can perform their tasks safe in the knowledge that whatever happens, they’ll be protected against viruses as long as the server has been recently updated.

While these benefits may make you want to invest in server-side virus software today, the client-side application has advantages as well:

  • Helps the overburdened administrator and support technician
    Who wants to worry about updating virus information every day of the week? If your users have their own individual virus client that they can update whenever they want, your workweek can be made that much easier.
  • Makes your organization’s “worrywarts” happy
    There are always users who feel that you aren’t doing enough to protect their data from viruses. Providing these people with access to virus software that they control can make your life a little bit easier, not to mention eliminate a lot of voice mail messages asking if the virus information has been updated.

Express yourself
I’ve listed a few reasons in favor of server- and client-side virus software. Now I want to know which one you side with and why. Leave a post below or send us a note and make your case for the virus software that you feel reigns supreme.