FortiNet is an industry leader in Unified Threat Management, which essentially builds on antivirus and firewall technology to create a comprehensive enterprise network security solution. FortiClient Lite is based on FortiClient, the developer's enterprise-level antivirus and network security suite. FortiClient Lite offers the same up-to-date virus and malware definitions as the corporate suite as well as extras like Parental Controls and VPN client software -- all in a freeware package geared for individuals and home users. Recent updates include improved rootkit detection and cleaning. FortiClient Lite runs in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows; we tried it in both.
FortiClient Lite's installer identifies your existing antivirus software and gives you two options: You can uninstall it and install FortiClient Lite, or you can keep your existing program and run FortiClient Lite alongside it, but with real-time protection disabled. FortiNet doesn't recommend the second option, but it does let you take advantage of FortiClient Lite's other features if you can't change your antivirus tool. We tried both modes. The installer can also run a series of performance optimization tests that add a little time to the installation process but it keeps the program from running the tests in the background, so we checked the box. FortiClient Lite's user interface, called the Console, is easy to manage, with three main sections: Anti-Virus, Parental Control, and Remote Access. The Quick Start Guide is more detailed than many so-called full Help files.
As with any antivirus or security software, the first thing is to update the software, and the next is to scan your whole system to establish a baseline. Clicking Update showed our software already had the latest definitions, so we proceeded with the scan, which finished fast and showed no threats. A simple tool let us schedule full, quick, or custom scans. The Parental Control is a nice extra for family PCs; users who don't need it can disable it to keep FortiClient Lite light. The Parental Control has two parts, Explicit Website Protection and Malicious Website Protection, and parents can lock the settings. The VPN tool enables secure remote access to PCs and networks like your work PC or LAN.