Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will be released free for small businesses beginning in early October. MSE is an antimalware solution designed to protect against viruses and spyware on Windows-based PCs. MSE is currently only free for consumers. Microsoft will extend that free protection to small businesses with 10 or fewer PCs and “genuine” Windows licenses in place. Microsoft remotely runs a check of the user’s computer for a genuine copy of Windows before allowing the MSE installation to take place.
There are some shortcomings to be aware of if this will be your A/V protection of choice. MSE lacks centralized management control and other security features that enterprise IT pros require. According to a report by competitor Symantec, hackers have already created false alerts, imitating MSE. The idea is that users will trust those alerts, click a button and unwittingly drop malware onto their PCs.
However, it also has some benefits. The software runs in the background with little interaction required by the end user. It alerts the user only when a threat has been detected, but otherwise it conducts antimalware scans quietly.
An MSE panel shows “good” security conditions with the green color, whereas yellow and red colors indicate that an action is required by the user, as explained in a video. If you have nothing else available, and no budget, then this is a good starting point for protecting your small business assets.