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23 September 2010, 17:05

Microsoft Security Essentials free for small businesses

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In its "Partner SMB Community" blog, Microsoft has announced that, in early October, the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) anti-virus suite will become available to small businesses with up to 10 Windows PCs free-of-charge. As MSE has so far been intended for non-commercial use only, the main choice for Microsoft corporate customers has been Forefront Security.

Microsoft will adapt its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) so that corporate users can legally install the tool. Microsoft does not mention how many users have previously installed MSE in breach of the stated terms of use; as MSE requires no registration or activation, there is little to stop users from installing the software.

By deliberately making Security Essentials easy and free for small businesses to use, Microsoft expresses the hope that providing the tool free of charge will prompt more users to install virus protection, which will boost the overall security of the Windows ecosystem.

MSE offers an on-demand scanner as well as real-time protection. It monitors file accesses on the hard disk by default. When tested by The H's associates at c't magazine, the security suite was able to convince testers that it had a good level of basic protection. MSE is currently available as Version 1, but since July Microsoft has been evaluating a beta of version 2 in closed testing, which will also monitor internet browsing with Internet Explorer.


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