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9/24/2010
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Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Microsoft To Make Security Essentials Free To Smaller Businesses

Got 10 or fewer computers and users in your business and want to protect them for free? Next month Microsoft will make its Security Essentials anti-virus, anti-malware program available at no charge to businesses consisting of up to 10 users... as long as those users are running legit copies of Windows.

Got 10 or fewer computers and users in your business and want to protect them for free? Next month Microsoft will make its Security Essentials anti-virus, anti-malware program available at no charge to businesses consisting of up to 10 users... as long as those users are running legit copies of Windows.Starting early next month, businesses with 10 or fewer users will be able to download and install the basic but capable -- and already popular with consumers -- Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus/anti-malware program for free.

The catch? During the installation the program will check to ensure that each of those users is running legitimately acquired and licensed copies of Windows.

If the copy Security Essentials detects is illicit, the security program shuts itself down.

That's not much of a catch, to me, and for smaller businesses running legal copies of Windows, the new offer is appealing .

Because Security Essentials was originally created as a consumer package, it's design and management (individual; no central dashboard with the program) are simple and no unnecessary bells, whistles, tabs or dropdowns, a plus for the less tech-savvy users. Three time a day virus definition updates keep the program within at least eight hours of current threats; automated scans and program updates

For companies with more than 10 users, Microsoft Forefront was, and remains, the company's not-free business security platform.

But for smaller businesses with fairly straightforward anti-malware needs, Security Essentials is definitely worth considering.

If you're not familiar with the program, you might download the consumer edition of Security Essentials (accessible here) for a look sometime before the 10-seat business download becomes available in October.

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