News & Blog

Is free antivirus good for your PCs’ health?

By Francis West on 7th October 2015


What’s the point of paying for antivirus software when you can easily download it for nothing? After all, the free products appear to offer all the important protection you would need – antivirus and firewall – so paying for it seems pointless. But wait a minute. Would you choose a burglar alarm for your home on the basis of its cheapness, or would you be more concerned about its effectiveness? Antivirus software is the same: you get what you pay for. And if you pay nothing, your antivirus software could be giving you a false sense of security.




Rather than offering complete protection, the free antivirus programs are simply the bare bones of the real thing. The companies behind the software often offer you this free taster in order to entice you to purchase the complete package. It is only by making a purchase that you will receive the fully featured protection you need.


Opting for the free version could leave you vulnerable to whole areas of threat. Key features, such as guarding against identity theft, control over inappropriate content and system performance tools will most likely be missing from a free program. Basically, the more you pay, the more features you get. So opting for a free version could leave you seriously exposed.


In the case of the free Microsoft antivirus (Security Essentials), even Microsoft themselves recommend you don’t rely on it to protect your machine and that you should install 3rd party software over and above their own.


Virus definitions


The virus definitions are the most crucial element of every antivirus program. They must be updated continually to keep pace with the latest threats. However, while paid-for programs prevent attack by updating your system the moment the danger arises, many free versions are slower to revise their definitions, leaving you vulnerable to new viruses and malware.


Multi-user environment


These days, computer technology is at the heart of every organisation. Most small businesses would be incapacitated if something were to cause their computers to stop working. Antivirus software, therefore, needs to be company-wide, with no gaps left for viruses or hackers to find their way in.


Free antivirus software is not designed for multi-user scenarios such as a business. It offers a single user solution, so if you want it on more than one machine, you will have the time-consuming task of having to download, install and administer a separate version on each device.


Technical support


Paid-for antivirus programs typically offer their users telephone support. Users of the free programs, however, are typically left to fend for themselves. If any support is offered, it is usually a case of being directed to a knowledge base or user forum where you may find the help you require if you are lucky.


So, presuming you do not wish to take the risk of only partially protecting your computer system, the next question is: Which paid-for antivirus program should I use? The ideal virus protection is one that is tailored to the specific needs of your organisation. That is where WESTTEK comes in. Call now on +44 203 195 0555 to discuss your computer system and your internet usage, and we will advise you on the best antivirus route to take.


Other people also liked:

Slow Internet costing me money?

Shall we turn our PC's off at night?