All computers should have anti-virus software installed. Your business depends on your computers. Defend your computers from viruses and malware. Are free anti-virus and malware programs safe? The answer is, it depends.
Some of the free anti-virus programs are more effective than other’s at protecting your computer. Most of the free offerings lack something over their paid counter-parts. Most will protect you from viruses fairly well, but sometimes they are not as good at removing viruses once they get on your computer. Most won’t protect you from all of the malware/adware/spyware. So, you will need some kind of ant-malware program. The problem with most free anti-malware programs is they only clean-up the infection. If you purchase the software it will pro-actively protect your computer.
So, yes, it is safe to use free anti-virus software. Is it better to purchase your anti-virus and anti-malware programs? The paid-for versions of most anti-virus software are more reliable at removing infections. Also, they tend to get definition updates more often. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs are only as good as the most recent update. So, the paid versions are definitely more effective at protecting your computer.
Using free anti-virus software at home is fine. Using free anti-virus software in a business environment is against the EULA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EULA) of most free anti-virus vendors. That being said Microsoft Security Essentials (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials) has pretty generous EULA. You can use Microsoft Security Essentials on up to 10 computers in your business. Microsoft Security Essentials is my current free anti-virus software of choice. It seems to do an adequate job of protecting the computers it is installed on. I usually suggest, if you have more than 5 computers a paid solution with management capabilities should be installed on your network. Less than 5 computers in your business, then the choice is up to you.
Update your anti-virus as often as possible. Keeping your anti-virus or anti-malware software up to date is crucial for it’s effectiveness. If your anti-virus software is out of date, you are no longer protected against the newest threats.
Never install more than one anti-virus software. Installing more than one anti-virus software package can cause lots of problems. The least of the problems is the fact that it reduce the performance of your computer.
Installing multiple anti-malware packages is OK, only if they are not pro-actively protecting your computer. If you purchase something like MalwareBytes Pro, you should not install, another pro-active anti-malware package. If all you are doing is scanning manually then using multiple malware packages is fine.
Remember, if you pay for your anti-virus software, you have support available. If you have problems you can use the software companies support options to solve your issues. If you use a free option usually there is no support or limited support. Usually, with the free options you are on your own if you have problems.
Keep your browser and browser add-ons up to date. For example, if you use Chrome as your browser make sure that it is the latest stable version. Keep Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, Silverlight up to date as well.
Make sure that Windows has automatic updates enabled. This will help keep your system safer.
Always, use good strong passwords.
Remember, using a free software package like Microsoft Security Essentials (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials) should be adequate for home users, but using a paid-for program like AVG will protect you better.
Local Web Site Spotlight:
This week I chose Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce (http://taylorvillechamber.com) as the Local Web Site Spotlight. President & CEO Patty Hornbuckle is working hard to keep things running smoothly at the Chamber. For more information about what the Greater Taylorville Chamber of Commerce has to offer check out their web site at TaylorvilleChamber.com
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