4.5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Trust Free Antivirus

Tuesday, October 13th

Just because there's preloaded antivirus software on a machine, doesn't mean that it is the right solution to keep your business secure. In some cases, it may even be leaking data intentionally.

One of the reasons that businesses and consumers put little thought into their antivirus is because these always seem to be provided at the point of purchase of a new laptop or PC. When software is preloaded onto the machine, it makes it quite convenient for the user to simply keep it on there.

The truth is, however, just because the manufacturer loaded trial antivirus software onto a machine, doesn't mean that it is the right solution to keep your business secure and, in some cases, it may even be leaking data intentionally.

This was certainly true when free antivirus provider Avast was accused of harvesting aggregated browser data to sell to marketing companies.


4.5 Reasons Why you Shouldn’t Trust Free Antivirus:

1.       You get what you pay for. 

The old adage is true.  So is “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”  The only way that companies can provide a product for free is to make money elsewhere.  It might be on the fixes that the security holes in the product have left, or it might be in selling the data that their product collects.  Bottom line, if their research, intelligence and investment in their product isn’t worth anything to them, that should send up a red flag.

2.       Are you really going to remember to update the software every time there is a patch written for a new kind of threat?

Antivirus protection is only as good as the last update.  Hackers are constantly creating new ways to get at your data.  Unless you know about and proactively download the patches to these new hacks and viruses on a regular basis, you’re leaving yourself exposed.

3.       Nobody’s got time to read the fine print in EVERY popup window…they’re counting on it.

Some free antivirus providers, such as Avast, have explained that "Users have always had the ability to opt out of sharing data…”, but that requires having read the fine print on every pop-up window they put in front of you, every time.  Because the data they collect is valuable, they try to revise policies so they can re-ask for your permission frequently.  They are counting on a quick click on the “X” to close the dialogue box before you even realize what you’ve given them. 

4.       The cleanup is more expensive than the protection.

Whether your data is stolen or your hard drive is irrevocably corrupted, the cost is significant.  The data you lose, the cost of recreating it, and the cost of your IT provider’s efforts to restore the damage FAR outweigh the price of the enterprise level managed antivirus that would have prevented that loss in the first place.

4.5     You aren't a cheapskate.  

Your data is your livelihood.  Don’t undervalue it by “cheaping out” on its front line of protection.  Your business is worth way more than $0.  Protect it as such.