This year have we (PATRON-IT s.r.o.) became the golden partner of ESET. We have also had the first opportunity to visit the 2017 ESET Partner Meeting (SEP) that took place at Mácha’s Lake. Generally speaking, I am skeptical about these meetings. I consider them rather a working “party“.
We have been using ESET since the beginning of PATRON-IT. Last year (2016), we have switched to it completely for all of our customers. Unifying the antivirus has been a logical step for us to move forward (see “Standardization – Doing IT as Simple as That“). Now we have one central ERA console, from which we see the status of all computers and send them all of the new settings and updates.
In the current year, however, I often see advertisements for “next-gen antiviruses” (NGAVs), which operate on the basis of machine power and “artificial intelligence”. The NGAV is said to be the technology that replaces “old” signature-based antivirals. For ESET, I have not seen much innovation for a long time and sometimes some features have gone “behind”. That’s why I was curious about the meeting and secretly hoped they would scatter my fears.
We have arrived at the site the day before and by coincidence, we have encountered some of the acquaintances in the sauna. This is what I enjoy at meetings – to meet/get to know new people, to exchange advice, insights and to chat.
Meeting agenda was marked by the 30-year “wandering” of ESET. There were about 30 minutes blocks of lectures (absolutely perfect length – it forces the lecturer to go straight to the point and talk briskly), which were divided in three sites (the Lobeč Steam Brewery, the Nový Dvůr Goat Farm and the Hotel Port). In the meantime, the owner produced the team “milestone.” In the evening, classical feast and Lost Clusters concert.
All lectures were to the point and good. But as I’m engineer at heart, I was most interested in the following:
- Myths and legends of AV testing (Righard Zwienenberg [NL] – Director of the Board at AMTSO)
An absolutely wonderful lecture on benchmarking antivirus tests: as businesses cheat it is hard to live up to justice. And finally, even if the results are corrected, no one is interested. ESET is really doing a lot of work here. For a similar article, but from another author, “Lawyers, malware, and money: The antivirus market’s nasty fight over Cylance“ (https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/04/the-mystery-of-the-malware-that-wasnt/). I think the article is worth reading, and if the lecture from Mr. Zwieneberg is ever released, you should definitely listen to it.
- The new ERA (Václav Zubr – Pre-Sales engineer)
News in ERA 6.5 and the future version of ERA 7. I have talked to Václav during lunch, he is a smart and open person. We have talked about the rules against ransomware, best practices for ERA and its experience with viruses and infiltrations. Gradually, other participants joined us and exchanged experience. Together, we have finally agreed that immediately after emails, the most common source of ransomware in the network is the attack on the port forwarded RDP.
- Antivirus is finished! (Miroslav Dvořák – Technical Director)
The lecture focused on the weaknesses of nextgen antiviruses (NGAV). In one sentence: NGAV still has a small percentage of detected infiltrations and a high positive false ratio. Then we went through the modules that make up ESET and how it prevents computer infiltration (see picture). I think it was not fair to omit the main advantage of the NGAV and that they are able to protect against viruses they have never seen before. Unlike conventional AVs, which are based mostly on “signatures” – that is, the virus must first be revealed to someone and identify a virus. Otherwise, I agree with Mr. Dvořák and look forward to the new “ransomware shield” module, that will come with ESET Endpoint v7.
- Ransomware (Pavel Matějíček – technical support manager):
The biggest surprise for me. ESET Technical Support “Best Practices” Lecture (what to ideally set up on PC to prevent viruses – see https://support.eset.com/kb3433/?locale=en_US). But the main thing is that ESET is technically supportive. They go far beyond their responsibilities and help people with rooting, recovering data and installation of the products (I could be upset that they are taking our jobs :-)). At the same time, a few years ago, I was upset that something like tech support did not even exist and there was no one to deal with the technical problems. In the evening I talked to Pavel for a while, and he is the person in the right place. Hats down for ESET technical support. Resellers must be happy to sell their products, just sell and the rest will be taken care of by ESET.
Was the meeting meaningful?
As I have already written, I am rather skeptical about these meetings. One usually listens to one-sided stories when the product works flawlessly and the competition does not even extend to the ankles.
This meeting, however, has very much surprised me. Lectures were valuable, swift and performed by competent people. The speakers really understood the issue. One could see the sparkle in their eyes. They spoke frankly and were not afraid to debate (even during lunch). Simply, just the right people in the right place.
I was convinced at the meeting that ESET was the right choice. I now see the ESET as a group of talented people who are interested (not as a big corporation full of bureaucracy).
For me, therefore, the meeting with ESET was meaningful. For people in the IT industry, it’s an opportunity to learn what’s new (to get ahead of those who have not been there), to exchange experiences with other ESET users, to improve personal relationships, and to enjoy some fun.