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How should IT select antivirus software for Windows 10?

There are a lot of options for antivirus software for Windows 10, so it's important to know what to look for. Here are some top considerations to think about before deciding.

Windows 10 desktops come preloaded with antivirus software, but IT should consider additional protection against viruses and malware.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing antivirus software for Windows 10.

Is Windows Defender enough protection?

Windows 10 includes a built-in tool called Microsoft Windows Defender that is designed to protect Windows 10 PCs against viruses and other threats. Early on, Windows Defender gained a reputation for being completely inadequate, and PCs that were protected only by Windows Defender were commonly regarded as being totally unprotected.

Windows Defender has seen massive improvements in recent years, but still does not offer sufficient protection by itself. Windows Defender runs by default on every Windows 10 PC, and yet Windows 10 remains vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

Despite its reputation, Windows Defender does a good job of protecting Windows 10 against viruses. Windows Defender can detect viruses as well as malicious PowerShell scripts. Even so, third-party antimalware applications are likely to provide better overall protection, especially against ransomware.

Choosing antivirus software for Windows 10

When evaluating options for antivirus software for Windows 10, there are a few things that IT should consider. First, a good antivirus application should provide cross-platform support. At the very least, the vendor should be able to protect Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. Ideally, the vendor should license their product in a way that makes it easy for users to protect multiple devices. After all, it is not uncommon for a user to access corporate resources from a personal device.

Windows Defender has seen massive improvements in recent years, but still does not offer sufficient protection by itself.

Another consideration is the availability of a management console. Administrators should ideally be able to use a centralized management console to monitor threats that have been detected and to ensure that device level protection is up to date.

Additionally, a good antivirus application should protect against more than just viruses. At a bare minimum, the software should provide protection against ransomware, but many products also protect against phishing attacks.

Finally, a good antivirus application should not rely solely on signature-based detection. Some of the better antivirus products will automatically run executable files in a sandbox to make sure that those files do not exhibit malicious behavior. Executable files are only allowed to run on the primary operating system once they have been proven to be safe.

IT should compare several different vendors' offerings to see which offers the most comprehensive level of protection.

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