Microsoft licenses free anti-virus for SMBs

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Microsoft licenses free anti-virus for SMBs

Up to 10 PCs for free.

Microsoft has expanded its free security essentials product to small businesses with up to 10 PCs.

The Redmond giant said today that the new licenses would be available from next month.

Until now, the free anti-virus product was only licensed for the consumer market.

"If you are comfortable with more of a set it and forget it solution, and are looking for an easy way to save money, Microsoft Security Essentials is definitely worth a look," Microsoft worldwide partner group experience lead Eric Ligman said.

Ligman said that if small businesses wanted "virus and malware protection to be centrally administered and integrated with group policy settings", Microsoft's Forefront Client Security product remained a better option.

Partners could also distribute Security Essentials, he said.

"OEMs and System Builders can pre-install Microsoft Security Essentials on their consumer-bound PCs to provide quality malware protection to their customers out of the box and at no cost," Ligman said.

"This is one more tool [partners] can use in your services offerings to provide a complete solution for your small business clients."

Security essentials was launched in September last year. Competitors including Symantec criticised the product, saying it "would lull consumers into a false sense of security."

iTnews' sister title PC Authority reviewed the consumer version of the product. It found it "works" but that it was "neither the most effective nor the most lightweight" of the free security packages the publication had reviewed.

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