Microsoft Security Essentials Now Free for Businesses
Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will offer its Microsoft Security Essentials product free to small businesses, starting in October.
Since its debut in September 2009, Security Essentials has been available free of charge to consumers for single-PC use, but not to the enterprise crowd. Starting next month, however, small businesses will be able to add the security product on up to 10 PCs at no cost.
“[It’s] no secret that most small businesses today do not have a dedicated IT professional on staff to manage their IT resources,” Eric Ligman, Microsoft global partner experience lead, wrote in a blog post. “Small business owners and employees are focused on running their business, not managing complicated IT infrastructure.”
“When we launched Microsoft Security Essentials last year, small businesses kept telling us that it was exactly the type of thing they need at work too,” Jeff Smith, director of marketing for Microsoft Security Essentials, said in a statement.
Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection from viruses, spyware, and other malicious threats, Ligman said.
It is powered by the malware protection engine that drives Microsoft’s enterprise solutions, he said. The product also uses a scanning and removal technology to collect threats from more than 600 million PCs monthly, which are then assessed by the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. New signatures are written and deployed daily, he wrote.
While Windows 7 machines are not necessary to use Microsoft Security Essentials, Ligman did advise businesses to consider upgrading.
“With Windows 7 Professional, we prioritized speed, reliability, compatibility, and connectivity to keep their systems up and running,” he wrote.
In July, Microsoft said that it had started making available the first beta of the next version of Security Essentials. The next version, Microsoft said, would be more tightly integrated with Internet Explorer as as way to secure the PC against Web-based threats. In addition, the software will also protect against network-based threats for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, whose PCs include the Windows Filtering Platform Service inside those operating systems.
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