5 Disadvantages of Using Free Antivirus Software for Your Business
Updated: Sep 26
The allure of stretching out your IT budget just a little bit by running free antivirus protection can lead to problems that may hurt your business and undermine your protection.
In this post, we explore some of the pitfalls of using free antivirus software:
1. Bloatware creates problems for your IT network
Many free antivirus programs come equipped with bloatware, which compromises your user experience. These extra apps slow down your computer or toolbars and reduce browsing speed. Bloatware consists of free trial programs that encourage, or annoy you, depending on your perspective, into buying the software when the trial ends. As for your business, bloatware causes several problems, including reducing the overall performance of your digital devices and network and increasing security threats.
Bloatware can often come with nasty surprises (keep reading to find out), and create higher maintenance costs and a bigger challenge for your IT consultants to manage and update devices. Bloatware are often marketed as miracle tools, but are in fact, extra revenue generators that help developers make money from the free versions of their antivirus programs.
2. Malware can sneak past free antivirus protection
Additionally, free antivirus programs won’t win any awards for identifying complex or hidden malware, including trojans that disguise themselves as legitimate-looking programs or files to bypass antivirus detection. Some threats are so new that only paid programs can detect them, while free antivirus apps are completely blind to them.
As a result, when using free antivirus programs, it is critical to exercise caution. Be careful when downloading files or opening email attachments if you only have free antivirus protection. Make sure that any downloads come from trusted websites and only open sent files when you know they are safe. If in doubt, ask the email sender to confirm if they intended for it to reach you before clicking it!
3. Free antivirus protection tracks your browsing history
Many free antivirus programs have also become notorious for tracking users' browsing activities and selling the data to third parties for profit, with several top antivirus brands engaging in data harvesting scandals that compromised users' privacy. Relying on free antivirus software could be a gamble, for not only your IT network but your data and reputation as well!
4. Free antivirus protection isn’t full protection
You get what you pay for, or, in this case, don’t pay for, with free antivirus protection. You won’t receive the same level of protection for your devices with a free antivirus protection program that you would with a paid version. The companies that make them do not invest as many resources and efforts to keep them updated, making them more prone to miss new and sophisticated viruses that bypass their defences.
5. Free antivirus protection doesn’t come with technical support
Free antivirus programs tend to offer minimal or no technical support, leaving you and your team alone to navigate online forums and knowledge bases in order to resolve issues when necessary or pay hefty costs to outsource help. In contrast, most paid antivirus products provide full customer support that's there when it is needed most.
IT managed service provider, Escape Computers’ recommended antivirus protection software comes with easy-to-use dashboards, intuitive features, and customer support, and detects blocking the latest ransomware or attacks. It’s better to be safe than sorry about your business’ digital defences. Our small business IT support can help you select a premium antivirus suite that is worth the investment. Contact us to talk IT today.