July 13, 2020 Last updated July 17th, 2020 305 Reads share

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Free and Paid Antivirus Software

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The pandemic and lockdown have changed the way the world functions. Many companies are making a permanent shift to the work-from-home model to adapt to the new ‘normal’. However, even though working from home protects you from the invisible enemy outside, it turns out you’ve got a whole new cohort of invisible enemies to worry about, online. There’s been a noted rise in scams and cyberattacks, mainly due to the new remote workforce being forced to adapt with no real security guidelines in place. Companies expect employees to immediately have a functional setup; not accounting for their lack of required privacy measures. Employees have unknowingly caused security breaches, resulting in companies either losing customer data and dealing with an information disclosure nightmare, or dealing with financial losses.

Employees are now rushing to secure their systems, as companies expect some level of security. The dilemma between paying for an antivirus versus simply availing of a free option now comes up frequently, which is why we’ve compared a few standard features between the two, below.

Protection

Free: This kind provides bare minimum protection from malware. It performs automatic scans and could have additional protection tools like a browser add-on or a firewall. Free versions usually offer behavioral malware detection, i.e., it notices malware based on how vaguely it acts with your system. This approach is especially effective for brand new malware outbreaks.

Paid: These are typically more comprehensive when it comes to security features. From identity theft protection and parental control to better technical support and clean-up algorithm, the paid version carries a variety of additional tools that provide overall protection to your system. It carries better flexibility than the free virus protection package.

Data Protection

Free: This is ideal if you are not working with critical or sensitive data as it offers minimal protection. If you’re actively working with sensitive data, consider upping your level of protection from that of a free service.

Paid: If you store sensitive information like identity, banking details, business details – including critical client and service vendor data (which, if compromised, can lead to legal damages) then a paid software is a requisite for your system. If you’re uncomfortable with shelling out the money, ask your company for compensation if not provided for, already.

Defence

Free: It offers you basic protection against primary malware, unsafe sites, etc., but fails to act against complex threats. However, if you are someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time browsing multiple websites and instead, stick to a routine of safe websites, this might be the better option for you.

Paid: A paid software defends against every kind of threat such as spyware, malvertising, banking trojans, coin-miners, file-less threats, keyloggers, form jacking attacks, rootkits, etc.

Speed

Free: While you do lose some effectiveness with freebie versions, you do gain some speed. The difference is small and is caused only due to the reduction in protection/detection steps.

Paid: The paid version is only a few seconds slower but is better at scanning the files and data. It can scan for malware that is either open or saved to the disc much faster and is more effective in detecting latent software that may be dangerous.

Ads

Free: It may carry ads promoting its parent company and its premium (paid) products and services.

Paid: This usually never has ads either of the parent company or otherwise.

Customer Support

Free: A freebie software comes without direct technical support. Availing customer support is cumbersome or impossible, in case the software is not working as claimed or has developed glitches.

Paid: In contrast, a paid version always offers an option to access technical/customer support either over the phone, through instant messaging services or via email.

In Brief

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preferences – choose a version that compliments your needs. If your devices are limited to basic usage for which primary threat removal will suffice, then opting for a free antivirus suite is ideal. However, if you run a business via your devices or work for a company that involves gathering customer data,then considering a paid option is essential for proper security. As a major part of the world is working from home these days, cyber-criminals are taking major advantage of the same. Hence, protecting your clients, companies, and your own sensitive information is ahighpriority, now more than ever.

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Grace G.

Grace G.

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