Patching-to-security company Shavlik has announced the latest version of its NetChk Protect 7.0 software with a little surprise for the faithful. From version 7.0 on, anti-virus has been integrated at "insignificant" cost.

Given that anti-malware software for a PCs is normally a relatively pricey but necessary add-on, getting it as part of a patch management system for little outlay looks like a good deal. The anti-virus in question is Sunbelt Software's VIPRE engine, a relatively unproven product that was re-launched in February with outré but promising features such as ‘file emulation' detection.

Shavlik would not be drawn on the specifics beyond describing the pricing overhead over the patching-only software as an extra "five percent", preferring to focus on the technical advantage of being able to monitor and configure patching and client security from a single console.

"It [price] is going to be insignificant for our existing customers," said Shavlik vice president Chris Schwartzbauer. "It [Sunbelt VIPRE] is not a big resource hog. We focussed on simplicity; we don't want to be Symantec," he said.

According to Schwartzbauer, worms such as Conficker would have been straightforwardly detected and remediated with such an integrated patching-cum-AV system.

"Together our two companies are rewriting the technology that protects endpoints to boost performance and eliminate agent bloat while simplifying management to help organisations spend less - less time, less money, less staff - on these critical IT operations," said Shavlik's CEO, Mark Shavlik, in a separate statement.

"We both have a keen focus on addressing the pent-up frustration of IT security and operations over the problems inherent in existing endpoint security and management solutions, such as bloat, high resource usage, and difficult agent management and deployment," said Sunbelt's CEO, Alex Eckelberry.

Sunbelt has always claimed that its new product has been designed from the ground up to minimise CPU overhead.

More information on Shavlik NetChk 7.0 new features can be found on the company's website.