Originally released as a free anti-virus software for personal use, Microsoft announced today that Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will be free to use for organizations with up to 10 PCs. The change will take effect early in October.
Having witnessed first hand what family members went through in starting up a small business, I have no doubt that the last item listed above -- cost -- is the primary reason why small businesses forgo anti-virus protection.
- "Performance Concerns: Customers worry that antimalware software can impact the performance of their machines and degrade their computing experience.
- Customer Confusion: Many customers are confused by trials and annual subscription renewals, in many cases believing their PCs are covered when in fact their subscriptions have expired and they are at risk.
- Payment Method Barriers: Traditional online subscription and payment models do not work in emerging markets where customer and small business credit is not always readily available.
- Cost: Many consumers and an increasing number of small businesses are either unwilling or unable to pay the ongoing subscription costs for the security suite solutions that come on their PCs."
The MSE works on Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista (Gold, Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2) and Windows 7. For additional information visit the Microsoft Security Essentials website.
Update: For small businesses without dedicated IT support, managing a number of computers can be daunting. Please see the article by Microsoft MVP Alan Burchill, "Group Policy for Microsoft Security Essentials". Alan's article includes illustrated instructions as well as a link to an XML Group Policy Preferences Registry file for the Group Policy settings.
- Microsoft Partner SMB Community Blog: Announcing: Microsoft Security Essentials available FREE to Small Businesses in October!
- PressPass: Free Microsoft Security Essentials Coming for Small Businesses
- Windows Team Blog: Microsoft Security Essentials now available for Small Businesses
- Group Policy for Microsoft Security Essentials
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