Anyone who uses a computer needs to have antivirus programs. Even the safest computer users can accidentally let in threats, so having computer protection is a must.
But finding the right program for your needs can be a minefield. You probably know the big names, but are they always the best? Not necessarily.
If you’re searching for a new way to keep your computer safe, here are our top 5 antivirus programs.
Choosing the Right Antivirus Programs
What you look for in an antivirus program largely depends on what you do with your computer. That said, things like malware removal and data recovery should come as standard. For work purposes, you might want to find something that’s less demanding on your computer, but your I.T. support department can probably give you further advice.
The programs we’ve selected below cover both work and personal uses and, in some instances, mobile devices.
Top 5 Antivirus Programs
1) Microsoft Defender
Microsoft Defender incorporated Windows Defender into the wider Windows Security platform in the latest updates. Considering it comes as the standard on Windows devices, it’s among the really solid Windows antivirus programs.
You can run it as your primary protection, or it’ll switch to passive mode if you install another antivirus program. The new A.V. program should switch Microsoft Defender off for you, meaning you have one less cause for worry.
It does everything you need it to, and built into the wider Windows Security program are things like overall device security, password protection, and data recovery.
One thing to watch out for is that it doesn’t run periodic device scans, which we recommend. In Windows 11, you can enable it with a tick box, but you’ll need to set it manually.
While not massively complicated, it can be a pain. Follow these steps to set up a scan:
- Open Task Scheduler from the Start menu.
- Go through the Task Scheduler Library, Microsoft, Windows, Microsoft folders to reach Windows Defender.
- Select Windows Defender Scheduled Scan and click the Triggers tab.
- Click New and enter details such as time, date, and frequency.
One of the main advantages of Bitdefender’s antivirus programs is a very low impact on your device. This benefit means it’ll run in the background automatically and won’t slow down your computer.
It’s a great option for those who aren’t technically proficient because you install it, and it works. There’s no need to schedule scans or set up activities. Also, its low impact is a good choice for those doing demanding computer jobs like video editing and gaming.
Bitdefender is Windows and MacOS compatible, and it also offers a mobile option. There are personal and business packages, including multi-device computer support. You get a 30-day free trial before your paid subscription starts.
3) Kaspersky Free Edition
Kaspersky is one of the better-known names in antivirus software, and for a good reason. It has a trusted history of computer support, meaning you can be confident with the results you’ll get from this antivirus program.
This free version is Windows and mobile compatible but doesn’t offer a MacOS version. It only includes antivirus programs, but you can access password management, DNS filtering, data recovery, and a secure VPN if you upgrade to the paid version.
The main drawback is that Kaspersky is very noisy from a notification perspective. It’s not a massive issue but can be quite distracting. You can tweak the notification settings to change this, and it’s worth noting that the paid version will likely bombard you with even more notifications.
Webroot is another great option for antivirus programs that runs in the background with very little device disruption. It was one of the early pioneers of scanning for changes rather than full scans. As such, it claims to be 60 times faster than the competition, scanning your computer in a mere 20 seconds.
You’ll find numerous helpful features in the program that add extra layers of security. Along with standards like data recovery and malware removal, you also get webcam and identity theft protection. Webroot labels itself as a comprehensive security program, which seems fairly appropriate.
While it no longer offers a free version, there is a free trial and a product comparison chart. Filling this in helps you create a tailored solution to ensure you’re not overspending on your device protection.
5) Next-Gen Antivirus Programs
Rather than a specific product, this is an emerging field of antivirus protection that deserves its attention. Few currently target personal devices, but they’re a common talking point in business I.T. support circles.
Next-gen antivirus combines EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) with A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) to create real-term threat detection and removal. In short, traditional antivirus programs can have difficulty identifying and responding to new threats. Lastly, it requires a manual update, and even low-level virus creators have a good idea of bypassing antivirus programs.
Next-gen A.V. EDR logs all activities conducted on an endpoint and identifies concerning behaviors before deciding how to manage them. They also use machine learning in place of updated definition files and A.I. to react based on the activity, not the type of threat.
While there’s plenty more to say about next-gen antivirus programs, the bottom line is that they’re the future for business needs. As with other A.I. solutions, they take away the reactive nature of human-based programs and replace it with the proactive nature of machines.
Key Takeaways on Antivirus Programs
Finding antivirus programs that are right for your needs depends on numerous factors. We’ve taken so much of our lives online that decent device security shouldn’t be a goal; it should be a standard.
Hopefully, one of the five products suggested on this list will suit you. Don’t underestimate the benefit of computer support and data recovery when protecting your device.
About Cinch I.T.
Since 2004, Cinch I.T. has provided customer-focused I.T. services for businesses of all sizes. Whether you need a business continuity plan or a reliable cloud computing office, our computer support offers the fastest and friendliest service in the industry. Cinch is one of the nation’s fastest-growing I.T. support franchises with 10 locations and counting. To learn more about our computer support service, visit cinchit.com. For more information about I.T. franchise opportunities, visit cinchfranchise.com.
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