Free Antivirus VS. Commercial Antivirus

We have all been here before. Freeware vs Commercial software and justifying expenditures or convincing SMB customers why commercial anti-virus is worth every penny. As a solution provider, VAR, and hosting platform we have the opportunity to use in-house, deploy to customers, and re-mediate computer viruses gone awry. No one wants to see a virus outbreak (even if it generates service revenue), it is my least favorite thing about IT. Systems have degraded performance, moving targets and lack of visibility, the unknown in a scientific field of predictability, are a few of many reasons. There are no winners – customer loses productivity and at the end of the day no one is happy.

Alright – on to the point I am trying to make. I was approached by a customer that had a legacy commercial AV installation and users have been installing AVG, MS essentials, etc etc freeware. The IT Director did not feel comfortable with the path so he asked me for justification on COTS AV systems for his CFO.

1. Risk / Coverage – some may download software, others may disable, or maybe multiple packages exist. For something that can widely effect the whole network you need to know what is going on.

2. Authenticity – Is the free package actually a virus posing as an AV utility. This is so common – at least one ticket a week starts this way.

3. Managing / Reporting – deploy quickly and efficiently. See in an instant who is covered and to what degree (see #1)

4. VENDOR SUPPORT – in the instance of an outbreak you need elastic resources to deal with something un-forecasted.

5. QUALITY – with software margins pretty much non-existent this is not a self serving statement to increase our bottom line. Commercial Anti-virus works better and will render better performance for your users.

Until next time – SJP

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