A major cost - and headache - for businesses of any size is software administration and licensing, especially for smaller companies who don't always have dedicated IT staff. Now Microsoft is helping to keep these costs just a little lower by offering its Security Essentials suite for free to companies with fewer than ten PCs.
The program will be available in early October, and is the same one that has been free for home users since last year. The well-received package is light-weight and offers malware protection that is at least comparable to other free and commercial offerings.
Not only does the software offer anti-virus protection, but it will take over spyware duties from Windows Defender, which is automatically disabled upon installation. More details can be found in our preview of the software from shortly before it launched.
Of course, while this move might seem charitable, Microsoft could be seen as giving with one hand as it takes away with the other. Most small businesses will have to purchase costly licences for both Windows and Office, especially where there isn't a knowledgeable IT professional to administer - or even suggest - alternatives.
Nonetheless, Security Essentials is an excellent alternative for smaller businesses and at a time when bottom lines are being squeezed, the price can't be beaten. While it won't be the solution for everyone, Microsoft is suggesting it as ideal for companies in need of a "set it and forget it" solution.