ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Please don’t use free antivirus on a business network!!

ComTech: IT Support Stirling

I went out to client a couple of weeks back who had an emergency. The emergency was that their file server (old Vista box) wasn’t booting up.  It was working when everyone went home the previous night but the following morning when they came into the office the screen was blank.  As the system was the main file server for the business (4 users) this was a bit of a problem.

After doing some checks it turned out that the system had caught a virus which was removed by using a BitDefender Antivirus CD (really good by the way). Once the virus was removed the system booted back to life as normal.  Great, job done I thought until I checked what antivirus was running in the first place – Microsoft Security Essentials!!

Microsoft Security Essentials is “ok” for use on a home system but is a definite NO in a business environment.  I have nothing personal against Microsoft Security Essentials but in recent months I have seen a lot of viruses get past it and no end of problems caused (rootkit anyone?).  Out of curiosity I checked the other systems in the office.  One had Avast (free), two systems had AVG (free) and another had nothing!! All of this on a business network.

I tried to explain to the client that at the moment they were leaving their business wide open to threats by not having a paid antivirus solution in place.  The response I received was “this is the first time we have got anything”.  This was one of those times when I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall. No matter what I said this guy was not going to get convinced.

If you don’t value your business that highly go ahead and run free antivirus as it is your choice.  Be warned though that at some point you are going to get stung (possibly big time) and you could lose a lot of time, data and money recovering from and ultimately fixing the problem.  Yes free antivirus is better than nothing but there are so many better options on the market which will secure your systems.

The choice is yours.

 About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter


4 thoughts on “Please don’t use free antivirus on a business network!!

  1. Reading your article it is not really the fault of free AV, what you are claiming in the title. Your customer does not want to invest or maintain their IT environment that is more the cause. Probably the MS essentials have been installed once and never updated and indeed MS Essentials is not a real virus scanner. Free AV, like Avira and other consorts they do their job for your home PC. We as IT also know that MC Afee and Symantec and others can cause trouble if configured wrong. For a Bussiness I always recommend to purchase AV which should be done anyway if you are serious about your IT environment the minimal is that you protect your servers, the clients on the otherhand they could use free AV or a licensed copy, but clients are always vunerable for virusses so it does not matter if it is licensed or a free copy.

  2. “Microsoft Security Essentials is “ok” for use on a home system but is a definite NO in a business environment”

    Though I agree with this statement, using a VISTA box as a fileserver should also be a NO in a business environment, that said let’s step back. Was the Vista “server” up to date and was MSE also up to date with all security patches and signature files? Where di d the virus come from? Was the Vista “server” also used as a workstation?

    Whenever you cut costs in a business environment you need to assess the risk you are placing on your business. To that end, why not purchase ESET ( a five user pack is fairly inexpensive, and probably cost what you charged them for 1 hour of your expertise. add to that a copy of ccleaner and super antispyware you should be all set and ready to go.

    Ask each user to run ccleaner at least once a week followed by superantispyware. A perfect option at 4:00 pm on a Friday!

  3. Hi Linda sent you an email regarding this. At the moment my personal choice is BitDefender Antivirus Plus.

  4. I am running Microsoft Security Essentials on recommendation of an IT guy but not confident in it. I previously had bought MacAfee but it seemed to cause problems rather than solve them. I run quite a small operation at the moment but when we network this will become an issue. Any thoughts?

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