Panda Security has announced Panda Managed Office Protection, its security-as-a-service for anti-malware defence offered as an alternative to in-house software distribution.

Intended for small to mid-size businesses, "this gives customers the ability to have an anti-virus application that is easy to install through administrative management control via web-based interface," says Didier Guibal, president of Panda Security USA.

The Panda security software distribution originated "in the cloud" through Panda Security data centres to enterprise desktops. Other vendors providing security-as-a service offerings include IBM, MessageLabs, McAfee, and Webroot.

The Panda Security service includes remote management tools that let managers carry out tasks remotely for each computer, such as scanning options, changing user profiles, IP address tracking and enabling or disabling email protection or firewall settings.

For the Panda Security service, the user desktop must be equipped with a small software agent. The Panda Managed office protection costs approximately $60 per node.