Protecting a Mac Network
Systems administrators and IT staff are not only responsible for protecting a single Mac; they also must ensure that all Macs (and PCs) in a network are protected against virus threats, along with protecting all the servers in a network. Depending on the network and the antivirus tools in use, there are a couple of different tactics that IT staff can take to accomplish this task.
At the very least, staff members should ensure that every server and workstation has antivirus software installed on it. They should make sure that all servers and workstations are routinely scanned for viruses and that they automatically update their virus definition files on a regular basis. In some ways this is not much different from setting up virus protection on a single computer (although ClamXav is not an option for Mac OS X Server).
Some antivirus packages provide network management features. Symantec Anti-Virus for Mac offers administrators the ability to configure a server within their network that can be used to monitor workstations to ensure that all have updated definition files and to report any virus infections to an IT staff member (in addition to taking any automatic action such as attempting to remove, delete, or quarantine the virus). This central server can also reduce the load on an organization’s Internet connection because it acts as an internal virus definition server. Workstations can then download definition files from a server within the network rather than for each workstation to independently download those files from Symantec.
McAfee and Sophos offer similar enterprise management features. McAfee’s central management must be done from a Windows server, however, meaning that it is only an option for cross-platform networks. Sophos enables full central management only when using a Windows server, but does offer an update manager tool for some remote configuration and reporting of other Macs within in a Mac-only network.
Some antivirus administration can be performed using Apple Remote Desktop. It is possible to use Remote Desktop to deploy updated virus definition files across a network, rather than having workstations query the antivirus software developer for updates. Likewise, you can use Remote Desktop to configure or interact with local-only antivirus software installations.