Can free really be good?
Millions of people trust AVG Antivirus to protect their home computers. I don’t have any hard statistics, but given that the product is free, I’m guessing that it’s one of the most widely used security programs in the world.
The fact that AVG is free does give it a bit of a stigma, however. Companies like Norton, McAfee and ESET charge $40 or $50 per year for their AntiVirus programs. Could a free program really be as good?
This stigma is particularly true in the business world. A free antivirus program might be okay for your home computer, the common wisdom holds, but for your business computers you need serious malware protection. This is even more true when you talk about file and web servers, right? Typical security software for a server costs hundreds of dollars each year. You wouldn’t trust that valuable information to a company known for hawking free software, would you?
I’m about to find out.
Let the experiment begin
Today I’m replacing the $400 ESET security suite that has been protecting our development server with the $39.99 equivalent from AVG. I’m about to find out if you really do get what you pay for when it comes to virus protection.
The machine in question is running Windows Web Server 2008. Security software from big name threat protection companies would cost 10x more than what AVG File Server 9.0 costs. What I want to know is: Do you really get what you pay for, or are the big name products just overpriced?
I’m not going in to this blind, mind you. I have used the free AVG desktop software for a while now in some of my virtual machines. So far, so good. The reality is that the most important component of any threat protection program is common sense. Don’t download files from sites you don’t trust. Don’t open attachments unless you’re sure they’re safe. Run a firewall on your router, etc. The harsh reality is that we people are usually the weakest link in the security chain.
And so, the adventure begins. I’ll post here in a few months to let everyone know how this little experiment goes.