Agnitum’s Outpost Security Suite Pro 2009 is the latest version of a suite of security tools designed to protect you against Internet threats, and scan your computer for viruses or malware. Unlike rivals such as McAfee and Norton this isn’t an all-in-one solution for disk maintenance and backup as well; Outpost focuses purely on protecting your machine.
While this narrows its target audience somewhat, it does mean that Agnitum’s suite is far cheaper than most rivals and from a security perspective it should certainly offer everything you need.
The main interface splits the various tools into categories; namely the firewall, host protection, anti-malware, web-control and anti-spam. You can switch between beginner (which basically hides some of the more advanced controls) and expert view, but whichever you choose the main screen offers a quick summary of the state of each component along with the time of the last update and scan.
There are also some handy additional resources here including comprehensive help with the application itself, the ability to test your current security level and a ‘Security Teacher’ that offers tips and advice.
Each individual component of the package carries a similar theme. You’ll find a quick summary of all recent activity and threats detected on an initial screen, and are given the option to change the general level of security of a particular tool using a slider. This is a handy way for beginners to make quick adjustments without getting into the more advanced settings and is a nice way to provide a basic level of control.
When set to ‘expert view’, a range of additional settings and activity logs are enabled on the main screen, which, along with the detailed application control, means that there’s a wide array of options for fine-tuning. We can see some users being a bit daunted by how confusing it can be to perform quick adjustments to component and program access, and it would have been nice to see a wizard-based approach to clean things up a bit.
Elsewhere there are comprehensive event logs that cover everything from firewall activity and HTTP access to scan results and attack detection. In most cases these offer a great deal of information that may come in handy for diagnosing or identifying the source of threats.
When up and running we were pleased by the small system footprint of the software and didn’t notice any overheads in terms of performance while scanning or browsing. You have full control over how it behaves in terms of notifying threats and will also find an ‘entertainment mode’, which disables on-screen prompts while watching movies or playing games.