It is recognised throughout IT circles that every PC should have some form of virus, malware and firewall protection. While most companies have a managed anti-virus, malware and firewall solution deployed, home users are often not protected. Buying a PC with a trial subscription, many home users either think they are protected or never get around to purchasing a paid for version after the subscription has expired.

To address the issue of protecting home PC’s Microsoft provides a free download of Microsoft  Security Essentials.  Microsoft  Security Essentials is a real time protection service for home PC uses from viruses and other malicious code.   It offers a very simplistic user interface and notifies the user if they are protected with red and green icons in notification area. Updates and Scanning can be scheduled to run automatically or run manually - and that’s about as technical as it gets. 

Complimenting Microsoft Security Essentials is the inbuilt Windows Desktop firewall, which can help in preventing hackers or from gaining access to a home users PC.  The Windows firewall can also, in the unlikely event that the anti-virus did not detect the virus or malware, stop your computer from proliferation of the  malicious software to other computers.

The anti-virus software is now free, the Windows Firewall has been there for some time, so there is now no excuse not to have a PC that is protected for free – IT Pro’s just need to spread the message.

Also due to the phenomenal success of the Microsoft Security Essentials product, it was recently announced that Microsoft Security Essentials is now available to the Small Business Market, for companies with up to 10 PCs.  If a company has more than 10 PCs then it may be more beneficial to look at a managed solution such as the Microsoft Forefront Suite, which offers centralised management and reporting. 

To see how Security Essentials and Forefront products work together, take a look at this short film by Andrew Fryer.

Mark Parris

MVP-DS, Microsoft Certified Master: 2008 Directory, MCT,MCITP:EA:SA,MCSE