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What makes PGP Universal unique is its all-inclusive nature. At its core, PGP Universal is an email encryption server that allows employees of an organization to have their email automatically encrypted without having any knowledge of how PGP and public-key encryption works. But the software goes beyond this, allowing the Universal server to interact with clients running PGP Desktop (a standalone desktop-level encryption program for individual users), and even run automatic virus scans on incoming mail.

There are three different PGP Universal products that have different feature sets (Figure 4), allowing an organization to choose the security that best fits its needs.

Product and Feature matrix

Figure 4: Product and Feature matrix

Updated August 16, 2005

Series 100 is the basic PGP Universal package, including the server software for Universal itself. It also includes PGP Universal WebMessenger and Satellite, which are used to communicate with users that do not have any PGP product or other encryption solution available. Series 100 also has an option for licensing Symantec's AntiVirus Scan Engine to scan incoming and outgoing messages for worms and viruses. Pricing starts at $59 per license, with a 25 license minimum purchase for $1475. Quantity discounts are available with, for example, a one year subscription for 100 clients coming in at $4800.

Series 200 includes the PGP Desktop program, and performs all key generation and management from the desktop level instead of from the server itself. PGP Desktop is a client-side program that allows for even more security capabilities. It allows individual users to encrypt email themselves, which is useful for employees in the field on laptops connecting from unsecured wireless access points or Internet cafes. It also allows individuals to encrypt their entire hard drive (or portions of it), and even encrypt AOL Instant Messenger conversations provided the user on the other end is also running PGP Desktop. Pricing starts at $110 per desktop, with a 25 license minimum purchase for $2750 and a one year subscription for 100 clients coming in at $9000.

At the top of the line is Series 500, which combines the features of both Series 100 and 200. This series is meant for organizations that want the capacity to encrypt every aspect of their business, from email to hard drives to instant messages. Since it contains all of Universal's features, Series 500 is what I used to put the product through its paces. Pricing starts at $2950 for a 25 user, 1-year license ($9600 for 100 clients).

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