Top free antivirus programs to protect your company’s network

Many companies are trying to decide whether antivirus software is worth spending money on. For those that say no, guest blogger Cara Aley has some advice on the best free antivirus programs companies can choose. 

When considering a virus protection program for your company, you have many options, both free of charge and not.

More often than not, your internet service provider, or ISP, will provide a free virus protection program, but many experts don’t recommend those. One challenge: Because it’s not a paid service for the ISP, the customer service may not be as timely, and quality of service may be low.

So is virus protection worth paying for? In general, some studies say, paid products are more effective at stopping threats. According to, “Paid antivirus products missed 10.2% of threats while free products missed 15.2%. Similarly paid antivirus software products had a 44% removal rate as compared to 34% for free antivirus software products.”

Often, the blame was placed on older antivirus engines that were associated with the ISP.

But while paid products performed better on average, there are free antivirus programs that IT security experts recommend.

Our three favorites are:

1. AVG

AVG is recognized as one of the top free antivirus programs. With free phone support and forum support available, AVG detects and stops viruses and other malware, and features a toolbar with safe search. A version for Android smartphones is also available for free.

AVG also earned PC Mag Editors’ Choice, scoring “better than the commercial competition in PCMag’s hands-on antivirus tests… AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 is PCMag’s new Editors’ Choice for free antivirus.”

2. Avira

Avira provides full coverage against viruses, worms, Trojans and rootkits. It also gets rid of adware and provides a handy tool for rating the security of websites that you might want to steer clear of.

Avira won the 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards presented by With 62% of all votes cast, Avira Free Antivirus was given the “Best Free Antivirus” award.

3. Microsoft Security Essentials

This program is extremely easy to use and is free for up to 10 PCs in a small business.

Like other free antivirus programs mentioned, Microsoft Security Essentials provides full coverage against viruses, spyware and other dangerous software. It is available in 33 languages and is the most widely used antivirus product in the world according to CNet. This is based on a study by Opswat using a tool that collected data from over 150,000 computers and determined which applications had been installed on those computers.

About the author: Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writes about everything from matters of health and wellness to digital marketing solutions for small businesses. She is currently VP of Operations for Two Degrees, a one-for-one food company, but has also spent many years in digital marketing on the agency side.

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