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Top Free Antivirus Programs for Small Business Computers

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 1/31/2010

Finding free antivirus programs for small business desktop or notebook computers is a cost-effective method for protecting home office data against cyber-attacks. It also eases the burden on the bottom-line, which may help many a small business to stay in the black just a bit longer.

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    The Hallmarks of Excellent Antivirus Protection

    Whether consumers are searching for free antivirus programs for small business computers or they are willing to pay for the software, there are a number of characteristics the best antivirus suites share.

    • A frequently updated anti-virus engine that finds the latest code snippets as soon as they hit the Internet- and have a chance to infect the business machines- is the heart and soul of each program.
    • The best antivirus programs offer heuristic analysis in addition to virus detection. At this level of sweep and detection, the software goes outside the standard virus definitions and recognizes bits and pieces of code that may be synonymous with virus activity. Even though this kind of sweep leads to several false-positive results, it is nonetheless crucial in protecting a computer against the latest viruses that might be currently in circulation.
    • Another feature that the best antivirus software suite offers is the rootkit scanner. During this sweep, the program searches for Trojans that are designed to evade commercial antivirus protection.
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    Free Antivirus Software

    AVG Antivirus Security, Edition 9.0

    As outlined by Bright Hub’s own Dan B. in his article entitled “Best Free Antivirus Programs of 2009,” AVG comes in on top year after year. The download is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and also XP and features automatic updates. The free version offers a link scanner that protects against visiting known malware sites and of course the antivirus/antispyware engine that detects and protects against the attack of a virus, Trojan or worm.

    Avast!

    Avast is also compatible with Windows 2000, Vista, XP and 7. It is geared more for the home computer that is used for sending emails and perhaps doing a bit of web surfing as opposed to the heavily used office computer that uses the Internet regularly for research or stores highly sensitive documents on the hard drive. Of course, for the home based business that might use the desktop for little more than corresponding with clients or customers, this is a good option. It features rootkit and boot-time scanning; it even allows for green computing through lower energy consumption.

    Avira AntiVir Personal

    This is the best free antivirus software for a computer running UNIX, Windows Vista, 2000/XP and Explorer 6.0 or above. It offers protection against viruses, worms, and also backdoor programs. On the downside, this is for personal use only; thus, a home office computer that is used for more than surfing the ‘Net and sending out emails is outside the permitted license.

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    Do Free Antivirus Programs for Small Business Computers Make Sense?

    Unless the computer use for the sake of the business is negligible, a free antivirus program might not make a lot of sense, especially since its use may place it outside the licensing agreements. On the flip side, home office machines that also double as home computers for family use may indeed benefit from these free protection suites. This makes them most apropos for freelancing stay-at-home moms, start-up businesses and also the kinds of home offices that support a business venture that largely relies on hands-on field work.