What’s in an Antivirus? ( or, when is ‘free’ the most expensive option?)

by | Jun 3, 2018 | News


It is not uncommon for us to be asked why a business needs to purchase antivirus when Windows 10 already includes antivirus.

It’s true – Windows comes with a ‘free’ antivirus – Windows Defender is free with Windows and has been for some time.

[header2 text=”It is a legitimate antivirus product in the same way that WordPad (free with Windows) is a legitimate word processor.  It will do the basics. ” align=”left” color=”#336A40″ margintop=””]

A few years ago, Microsoft was getting a lot of heat about Windows devices getting infected.  The comments were, to a large degree, somewhat unfair.  Often the devices were not patched and had no antivirus.  It was a bit like blaming a car manufacturer for your vehicle being stolen, or breaking down, when you don’t lock it and never take it in for its service.

Microsoft responded in three ways.

  • They added Windows Defender to all PC’s, the antivirus that runs if you have no antivirus.
  • Microsoft added more aggressive self-patching to Windows.
  • They sponsored user awareness.  Since Windows 7, security has been front and centre with ongoing information in the media, on the web and within Windows, reminding users that they have a responsibility to maintain security and insure that they are up to date and not undertaking risky activities.


Windows Defender is not meant to replace a commercial antivirus.  It is good only for basic (traditional) threats and is designed to disable itself, when a commercial antivirus is installed.  It is the equivalent to adding a key lock to a car door.

Basic threats are however not very threatening.   The structure of the internet means that there is a lot of scanning already taking place at ISPs’, web host’s and so forth.  That scanning is already taking care of many basic threats. The stuff that takes down computers, shutdowns networks, encrypts or steals your data, is not basic.

This recent review, from a magazine aimed more at home users than business, [wow_colorme] http://au.pcmag.com/microsoft-windows-defender-security-center/29613/review/microsoft-windows-defender-security-center [/wow_colorme] makes the point “We salute Microsoft for ensuring that all users have at least some degree of antivirus protection”.  Any client that wishes to rely on Windows defender will have some level of protection.  No IT or insurance company would however take any level of risk with that client.  No insurance company would pay out on any claim and no IT company would consider a PC protected.

If I go back to the car analogy.  Windows Defender is a key lock on a door.  It is not a car alarm or immobilizer.  If you do not have anything of value in the car and do not value the car itself.  If you are happy to wake up tomorrow and find it’s gone, then it is better than nothing.

[header2 text=” A strong Antivirus has been the foundation of security since the early 1990’s.” align=”left” color=”#336A40″ margintop=””]

Antivirus is so integral to security, that Kinetics supplies it at no charge on all our Core Fundamental and Premium KARE agreements.   Knowing our clients have a strong antivirus solution helps us sleep at night.  No antivirus is perfect, but there is no reason to choose such an imperfect antivirus.

Bill Lunam is Kinetics Groups Operations Manager.  Bill has over 25 years of IT experience and is passionate about IT for SME business.