Microsoft Security Essentials to be available for Small Businesses in October

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it will make Security Essentials, its free anti-virus software, available to small businesses in October.

The announcement is a u-turn in licensing from earlier this year. Microsoft originally insisted that the product was strictly for home use and OEMs building home retail machines. Microsoft's change of heart means small businesses will be able to download and install the product on up to 10 PCs in early October.

Microsoft says the reason is due to a change in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) that allows small business customers to legally download the software onto individually managed business PCs. "This new availability will allow small businesses to take advantage of Microsoft’s no-cost antimalware service that will help them save time, save money and remain productive while protecting them from viruses, spyware and other malicious threats", wrote Microsoft's Eric Foster in a blog posting on Wednesday.

Microsoft is currently readying a new version of Security Essentials. An early beta, released in July this year, shows that the future version will include a new protection engine and inspection system. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is designed to work on Windows XP, Vista and 7 and protects end users against virus threats and spy ware. MSE is Microsoft's free anti-virus and anti-spyware product that replaced Microsoft's paid Windows Live OneCare subscription service which was withdrawn last year.

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I have installed and am running the latest MSE beta on several Server OS VMs (including the new SBS 7) with no issues. It does not care that they are servers.

I would say this bodes very well.

I installed and am running the latest MSE beta on several server VMs (including the preview of the new "SBS 7") with no problems. The install routine did not care that it is a server OS.

I would say this bodes VERY WELL.

i like MSE think its decent AV for home use
but is it good enough to protect businesses?
if anyone decides to target a small business they will probably use more sophisticated malware than one targeted at home users
will MSE be able to cope

Microsoft should have offered an Anti Virus / Anti Malware / Anti Root kit package years ago. It might have saved them a lot of mistrust and criticism of their poorly coded O/S.

Microsoft have been dicking about with security way too long. They need to extend the basic AV programs like MSE and MRT to anyone running their O/S as they did with their firewall.

Anti Virus vendors all fail big-time. They wouldn't stand a minute in court with their hopeless offings. I would not shed a tear if all the big AV companies went bust - I hate them all even more than I hate Microsoft (and that's saying something).

I noticed months ago that the latest incarnation of MSE now updates successfully through Microsoft's ISA. MSE should be "free" to all MSFT customers if only because their track record regarding security. Micrsoft are the main cause for the spread of Malware followed closely by Adobe cr@pware.

Well, if they offer a paid option for those with more than 10 PC's, and it was competitive pricing I would get my work to change over. Currently we use F-Prot.

Great news, even if this did move to subscription i think i would pay because it has captured more than AVG ever did.

Great news, even if this did move to subscription i think i would pay because it has captured more than AVG ever did.

naap51stang said,
I think with MSE, we are looking at the end of a paid subscription based AV solution.
Doubt it, soon as it becomes popular enough they'll announce a paid for "advanced version" and try to force people into buying it. It's only free now to gain marketshare, once MS are entrenched enough in the market they'll start charging for it, it'll happen. Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch this of cause is just my opinion so take with a grain of salt.

I like MSE and look forward to the next version. As for threats of lawsuits of "bundling" - I think as they make it optional for one to dl, they aren't at threat for it.

Good. We need to get companies to cut the cord from McAfee and Symantec as soon as possible. That also goes for Trend Micro, Panda, and all the other pay-for giants.

Educated Idiot said,
Good. We need to get companies to cut the cord from McAfee and Symantec as soon as possible. That also goes for Trend Micro, Panda, and all the other pay-for giants.

Trend Micro is actually pretty good. Or was, since I didn't use it for the past 2 years or so.

TDT said,

Trend Micro is actually pretty good. Or was, since I didn't use it for the past 2 years or so.

Except for having more false positives, I suppose they're alright.

TDT said,

Trend Micro is actually pretty good. Or was, since I didn't use it for the past 2 years or so.
They still are! (I use them for my home PCs). They did go down hill for a while but the 2009/2010 versions of their software are really good in my opinion.

Who the hell follows the EULAs anyway? I'm sure lots and lots of business companies already use the software.

But I guess, its nice to know that businesses now are officially supported.

KavazovAngel said,
Who the hell follows the EULAs anyway? I'm sure lots and lots of business companies already use the software.

But I guess, its nice to know that businesses now are officially supported.

Well, if I remember right, it doesn't only mention it is for home users only in the EULA, I think it says it clear as day during the installation process, or on the website, at least. I also know that you cannot install MSE on Windows Server either, as once you download it and try to install it, it just won't allow you to do it at all.

KavazovAngel said,
Who the hell follows the EULAs anyway?

COmpanies who recive a letter from Microsoft announcing they will be audited in the comming weeks

brent3000 said,

COmpanies who recive a letter from Microsoft announcing they will be audited in the comming weeks

Lol, totally happened at our company two years ago. The ensuing panic was... interesting to watch.

There goes the ball game. If I were Microsoft, I would begin to prepare for several class action lawsuits (Symantec, McAfee, Eset, AVG), which is unfortunate for consumers and small business owners. There is simply too much to be gained in capital in the AV/anti-malware market for the OS creator to release a free version. This is likely going to be worse than the inclusion of IE in the operating system back in the 90s. My guess is that they, the competitors, were likely waiting for Microsoft to offer their product to businesses. This likely will release the flood gates of litigation.

bluarash said,
There goes the ball game. If I were Microsoft, I would begin to prepare for several class action lawsuits (Symantec, McAfee, Eset, AVG), which is unfortunate for consumers and small business owners. There is simply too much to be gained in capital in the AV/anti-malware market for the OS creator to release a free version. This is likely going to be worse than the inclusion of IE in the operating system back in the 90s. My guess is that they, the competitors, were likely waiting for Microsoft to offer their product to businesses. This likely will release the flood gates of litigation.

I'm sure their lawyers though of this already. This is nothing new as there are other free AV alternatives as well.

bluarash said,
There goes the ball game. If I were Microsoft, I would begin to prepare for several class action lawsuits (Symantec, McAfee, Eset, AVG), which is unfortunate for consumers and small business owners. There is simply too much to be gained in capital in the AV/anti-malware market for the OS creator to release a free version. This is likely going to be worse than the inclusion of IE in the operating system back in the 90s. My guess is that they, the competitors, were likely waiting for Microsoft to offer their product to businesses. This likely will release the flood gates of litigation.

Suing Microsoft for securing their own OS. I don't think that would go anywhere.

randomevent said,

Suing Microsoft for securing their own OS. I don't think that would go anywhere.

Well remember when Microsoft had OneCare? They planned to install that by default on Windows, and it would be free. Sadly, McAfee and Symantec threatened to sue them.

randomevent said,

Suing Microsoft for securing their own OS. I don't think that would go anywhere.
In fact, MSE ought to be built in. I honestly think it should be more intermingled with the operating system, which one might hope would make it harder for malware to do funky things... (whatever that may be)

After all, Windows Defender is distributed with Windows Vista and 7, why can't they do a real anti-virus program that way?

bluarash said,
There goes the ball game. If I were Microsoft, I would begin to prepare for several class action lawsuits (Symantec, McAfee, Eset, AVG), which is unfortunate for consumers and small business owners. There is simply too much to be gained in capital in the AV/anti-malware market for the OS creator to release a free version. This is likely going to be worse than the inclusion of IE in the operating system back in the 90s. My guess is that they, the competitors, were likely waiting for Microsoft to offer their product to businesses. This likely will release the flood gates of litigation.

Luckily, the EU has not yet made any laws that could forbid Microsoft from making and releasing the software as long as it isn't included with Windows. I'm sure McAfee and Symantec will try anyway though. And hopefully fall on their faces.

I hope the lawyers have gone over this. It is a good product, and doesn't need to be pulled. The problem is that it is a bit anti-competitive. The company producing the product has inside knowledge. That said, they are a bit separate from Microsoft (not in name, but as a unit). Further, they use publicly available APIs to secure the OS with Security Essentials.

Still, I don't trust either Symantec and McAfee. Both of these companies have a lot to loose. Microsoft offering a product to the consumer is one thing, but offering it to a business is another. Again, just my thoughts... paranoid or not.

/- Razorfold said,

Well remember when Microsoft had OneCare? They planned to install that by default on Windows, and it would be free. Sadly, McAfee and Symantec threatened to sue them.

Even if they did sue and it was a long drawn out battle, they'd still LOSE. Microsofts' OS is Microsofts' responsibility, the other companies have no inalienable right to a market built on securing it. There would be no leg to stand on. Microsoft is not competing for the antivirus market or even IN the antivirus market, they are securing their own OS.

I could always be wrong, but it seems pretty damn cut and dry to me.

randomevent said,

Even if they did sue and it was a long drawn out battle, they'd still LOSE. Microsofts' OS is Microsofts' responsibility, the other companies have no inalienable right to a market built on securing it. There would be no leg to stand on. Microsoft is not competing for the antivirus market or even IN the antivirus market, they are securing their own OS.

I could always be wrong, but it seems pretty damn cut and dry to me.


Same could be said about MS' own browser on their own OS..we all saw where that led to lol.

Mr aldo said,
In fact, MSE ought to be built in. I honestly think it should be more intermingled with the operating system, which one might hope would make it harder for malware to do funky things... (whatever that may be)

After all, Windows Defender is distributed with Windows Vista and 7, why can't they do a real anti-virus program that way?

Well, that's how they will avoid losing lawsuits, by NOT intergrating MSE into the OS. It might also be why Windows Live Essentials is a separate download.

/- Razorfold said,

Same could be said about MS' own browser on their own OS..we all saw where that led to lol.

Security is a little more important than having a web browser, and absolutely a fundamental component of a modern operating system. It's a dangerous world out there.

/- Razorfold said,

Same could be said about MS' own browser on their own OS..we all saw where that led to lol.

Well first of all Microsoft themselves decided to do this, the case hadn't been decided, but Microsoft wanted to avoid it starting at all costs, so they might have went overboard (Personally i think the whole browser ballot is messed up).

However the issues at hand with those cases are not that they bundled the product, but how they decided to bundle it, for example OEMs wasn't allowed to not use IE, that was one of the main points of the case.

For Windows Media Player it was actually about windows using their great Windows Client market share to gain a dominant position on the server market, the technology to put up streaming servers were propietary to Microsoft, and only available for Windows Server platforms, because Microsoft didn't want to license it to other competitors.

So they could definitely bundle anti-virus software, however had they given you something like a free management tool and allowed this to be installed on all computers, then it might be considered similar to the WMP situation.

Edited by FISKER_Q, Sep 23 2010, 6:14am :

COKid said,

Well, that's how they will avoid losing lawsuits, by NOT intergrating MSE into the OS. It might also be why Windows Live Essentials is a separate download.

Exactly why MS won't be sued (or if someone's dumb enought to sue, they'll lose)

bluarash said,
This is likely going to be worse than the inclusion of IE in the operating system back in the 90s. My guess is that they, the competitors, were likely waiting for Microsoft to offer their product to businesses. This likely will release the flood gates of litigation.

If they included it with the OS I would agree, but as it stands at the moment. it's a separate download, which means it doesn't enter antitrust territory. In addition, AV's don't have the potential to generate billions in revenue outside of the traditional product purchase, unlike web browsers.

Security essentials isn't a bad product. My only criticism would be the excessive disk activity of msmpeng,exe, which I believe is the real time protection engine.

agreenbhm said,

Managed protection is pretty important if you have an IT department/provider. However, Forefront is too expensive for most small businesses. I evaluated it 9 months ago and I think one of the requirements is a SQL server.

Like Client Security i beleive it can be run without an SQL server you just lloose alot of the reporting side of it. But if you have the setup for the software its almost the same/cheaper price of Symantec and Trend these days... (based of CLient Security) The cost is aprox $25-$30 per user per year (AUD Ex tax) compared to Symantec's $36.50

Also the licencing for CLient Security is amazing as currently its per device or user

Im waiting for the final release of Endpoint (More 2008 and 64bit friendly) before we start trialing networks on it

Biggest letdown for Forefront CLient Security... No 64bit support for the managment side of it

BGM said,
err whoops? i already use this on my work machine, so do a bunch of other people in my office
Shh! Don't let Microsoft know!!!

Lol.

BGM said,
err whoops? i already use this on my work machine, so do a bunch of other people in my office

I'm not sure how Microsoft views this but other software I've used has said that installing the software on your PC at work is still covered by personal use. It's when you deploy it to a large number of PCs that you're administrating that it becomes commercial use.