They say that the best things in life are free, so shouldn’t that also apply to antivirus software (AV)? Unfortunately, that saying doesn’t apply to AV but “you get what you pay for” definitely does.
Why does AV matter?
As we discussed in a previous blog, which you can read here, AV is your computer’s most important line of defense against viruses and other malware. It is designed to prevent, detect, and take action to disarm or delete malware from your system. It protects against malicious software that could damage your files, steal valuable information, or take your system hostage and lock you out until you pay. We wrote about that in All about Ransomware.
Why are there paid and free versions of the same AV software?
That is a good question. There are a few differences between the paid and free versions of AV software. These differences could be:
- Minor changes in the appearance of the interface
- Ads in the free version vs. the ad-free paid version
- Performance strength and aggressiveness of the scanners
One of the big things that differs in the two is how the company that produces them makes money. Often, they sell ads and include them in the free versions of the product. Or they may bundle the free software you want with software that you don’t want or need. They also may sell your data to third-party advertisers.
There’s a technology industry saying that goes: “if you aren’t paying for the service, then you are probably the product.”
AV performance differences
Performance is another big thing that differs between free and paid AV versions. Surprisingly, scan speed and hardware usage will not vary much between the two; however, the quality of the scan will.
A free version of AV will often only do a signature-based scan. This type of scan searches your system to see if any files match known malware. When malware files are identified the software quarantines or deletes them depending on the settings.
Paid AV software will do much more in-depth and aggressive scans for malware. It will often have more advanced search engines built into it looking for unknown and undiscovered malware based upon how those files act and behave on the system.
That means the paid version will often find the threats way before they make a name for themselves by wreaking havoc on systems all over the world. That could mean the difference between going about your day as usual and being hit with business-crippling Ransomware.
How do I know which version of AV software is for me?
Remember the saying a few paragraphs ago, “you get what you pay for?” If you don’t have time to spend on frustrating viruses, then spend a little money to get the security you need. There are many low-cost antivirus software products available, and we highly recommend you invest in one.
If you’re still not sure what is right for your business, call us. We’re thrilled to have a chance to flex our tech muscles to help you find the right antivirus software. Give us a call at 844-448-7767, or send us a message.