Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows: 10 Benefits for Businesses

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-01 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft Security Essentials provides some handy security tools for both consumers and small companies, even though Microsoft created the free Windows security software for home users. And there are quite a few reasons why companies and their IT departments should try it out.

Microsoft's new free Security Essentials pack for Windows-it works with XP, Vista and the upcoming Windows 7-is being put through its paces by several security experts. And although they're quick to point out that a free solution like Security Essentials isn't ideal, it's actually doing a fine job of stopping malicious programs from wreaking havoc on Windows installations.

But there's still some doubt in the marketplace over the value of Security Essentials. In many cases, consumers and small companies are wondering if they need to install it on their computers or go with another alternative that doesn't have Microsoft's logo affixed to it. Although Microsoft has had a spotty record in the past dealing with security problems, its Security Essentials pack seems ideal for those users.

Here's why:

1. Microsoft cares about security

An argument could have been made a few years ago that Microsoft didn't spend nearly as much time as it should have focusing on security, but that's not true today. Microsoft is firmly focused on improving security in all its platforms. Microsoft Security Essentials is simply the first step toward that goal of securing the Windows operating system.

2. Microsoft can be trusted

Although many people have become disenchanted with Microsoft after its Vista blunder, the company can be trusted. I think it learned its lesson. Microsoft Security Essentials is a reflection on that. The software is capable, it keeps users safe and, most importantly, it's free. Microsoft isn't trying to make a buck on security. It's trying to make its software more secure.

3. There's nothing to lose

It might seem that Security Essentials is just another attempt to keep corporate computers safe, but what does it hurt to deploy it? The software is free to download. And based on most accounts, it's a viable solution for users who want to safeguard their computers. In the Windows ecosystem, the more security packages installed, the better.

4. It's Microsoft's OS

Say what you will about Microsoft and Windows, but using a security package from the company that has full control over the operating system is a major advantage. One of the biggest problems with antivirus scanners is that they analyze some Windows files, believe they are malware and deliver false positives that can cause havoc on computers. Owning the OS has given Microsoft an obvious advantage that should help it limit those occurrences.

5. Security issues could be addressed sooner

There isn't any guarantee that Microsoft will do a better job of patching its operating system, but it is possible that as soon as issues arise, it will send quick fixes through Security Essentials before it develops a full-fledged patch. If so, it could significantly cut down on the amount of time users spend waiting for a fix.

6. The software is pretty good

Independent security experts who have reviewed Security Essentials have already said it's a reliable security platform. Testers at wrote that the software compares nicely to other free security platforms like AVG. The experts also found that it did a fine job of finding malware. Of course, the software wasn't perfect and some malicious files did escape its grasp, but it's a top contender in the free antivirus space.

7. "Free" is important

Although McAfee and Symantec are both critical of Microsoft's anti-malware program, it's worth nothing that developers of the free antivirus program AVG were happy to see Microsoft release a free solution to protect Windows computers, saying this underscores its vision of free protection against malicious hackers. AVG contends that protection shouldn't be a business plan. Microsoft seemingly agrees. With any luck at all, the rest of the industry will offer security options that pursue the greater good over the greater revenue.

8. Security Essentials is a complementary service

Security Essentials seems like a fine complement to other, more capable services on computers now. It's possible that it will find problems that other packages won't. Having just one security solution in place isn't enough.

9. Fire and forget

Windows users need to constantly worry about monitoring and updating security solutions. With Microsoft's Security Essentials, they can simply deploy the software and forget about it. According to Microsoft, Security Essentials updates automatically, requiring little or no interaction with the user. In the corporate environment, the more applications that can run in the background, the better.

10. It's simple

Users covet simplicity. Microsoft Security Essentials delivers that. It works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. As noted, it automatically updates itself and scans the computer. It's a simple service. And it's worth trying out.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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