Whether you’re managing a small startup with just a handful of employees or needing to make the decision for a whole department, selecting the company to provide antivirus security for pcs is a big decision which should involve a great deal of research. But especially if you’re not very technologically inclined, it can be quite difficult to know where to start, and how to measure the different software brands against each other… or, once you’ve settled on a brand, to know what level of protection you need. And if you considered not having your computers protected, even for half a second, you should consider the costs of poor cybersecurity.

In all cases, the first place to start should be taking a look at the OS installed on the company computers. Several software providers work primarily for Windows systems, and if you run computers which are split between various operating systems, your options are already significantly reduced.

Antivirus software protection

When you’re wanting to compare antivirus software, there are a few great options to look for:

More Than Antivirus

Viruses are only one cyberthreat to look out for; at the bare minimum, you should look for a solution which is anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-malware, and also antivirus. The more a single program can handle everything you need, the better!

Great Efficacy Testing

Which programs are the best at catching problems? It’s hard for consumers to know, and not all programs are coded the same! To get a good feel for which programs test well, head over to an independent antivirus testing agency to see how they rate different competing brands. Usually, they’ll test each program with a uniform set of problems, so that all the results are above board. Believe it or not, many of these results might cross the biggest brand names off your list early! Good independent agencies include: AV-Test, Virus Bulletin and ICSA, which generally release quarterly ratings.

Part of the reason to use these ratings agencies is because of the complexity of testing antivirus software. Maintaining an infected system is very difficult, as it could easily infect other machines even on a local intranet, and of course the testing environment must maintain the most current cyberthreats.

Multiple Licenses

If the program you select needs to be installed on several computers, you can usually get discounts for multiple licenses, rather than paying the flat fee for all systems. Not all brands will offer this, but seeing as you can stand to save a substantial amount, it’s worthwhile to look into!

Antivirus software customer support

Great Support for Issues

Just as with any other service, you want to ensure that the support is quick and efficient. A great way to test the support of a company is to simply call their support and see how long it takes to reach a live person. Another great way to see if the support is top-notch? Check out the brand reviews at independent websites.

Low System Usage Footprint

Antivirus programs should be run relatively frequently; but employees will be less likely to do so reliably if the system lags when the program is running, or worse, makes it virtually impossible to use a machine’s other functions while it’s being scanned. Often, companies will publish this information or allow potential clients to do a sample test so that you can rest assured no critical systems are affected by the antivirus. SSS conducted a detailed survey which concluded that roughly half of users will switch off antivirus for pc if it affects how their computer runs.

Cloud Environment Considerations

Many small companies now do a good bit of computing on the cloud, and it’s worth mentioning that good antivirus systems should offer sufficient protection to operate in hybrid systems if necessary.

Quick Escalation on Contact

Some antivirus programs will quickly inform users of contact with viruses and malware, and immediately initiate quarantine; others might wait to inform users once scans are initiated. Ideally, you want to hunt for a robust system which has a quick escalation policy: not one which waits on users.