Business owners, PC technicians, IT managers and others who use computer servers on a regular basis and want to spend as little as possible frequently wonder, “what are the free antivirus programs available for my servers?”“-
Many believe that there are no free options available for Windows Server 2003 & 2008 operating systems and that McAfee, Norton and others are the only option. I am pleased to tell you that you don’t have to “shell” out money on software that is just as effective if not less effective than free software.
Yes, I said FREE software!
First, let us delve into the reasoning behind the need for antivirus software on a server. Since a server is usually a central gateway or device that “serves” other computers on a network, a server must always have the first level of protection to secure against threats. If a server becomes infected with a virus and that server has other “weak links” that haven’t been accessed, the virus will inevitably spread to other computers on the network very quickly. It is possible that total data loss will result if the server cannot create backups of the computers that rely on it.
Can you understand why antivirus for servers extremely important, as well as securing the local computers also (workstations or user computers)? Although “enterprise” or “corporate” editions of software tools such as McAfee, Kaspersky and Norton have more features (such as email scanning, internet security, script blocking, rootkit protection, etc), when it comes to virus protection they work well.
Configuring free antivirus for server use along with a good firewall (hardware recommended) and user security policy, is just as effective if not better than an expensive “enterprise” package.
Let’s check out two free antivirus software programs for servers. Click on the name of any of the software – to download it.
PC Tools free antivirus is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, 7, Vista, Server 2003 & Server 2008. This software uses “Intelliguard” to protect against malware that can transfer via email, media, internet, etc. This software has “Smart Updates” that are released regularly, which keep the most recent virus definitions for optimum protection.
Personally I don’t prefer this software compared to the software below that I will elaborate on. The free version allows mostly full functionality, but sometimes removing the threats that are found is tricky if you don’t purchase the “full” version. The software can seem a bit buggy at times as well.
The software installed easily and didn’t cause any server slowdowns or errors. On a scale from 1 to 10, I rate this software a 6.5.
ClamWin is a totally free application that is compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP, Me, 2000, 98 and Windows Server 2008 & 2003. Clamwin features automatic updates, scheduled scanning, real-time protection and a Microsoft Outlook add-in that allows it to remove infected attachments automatically.
I personally use ClamWin on my server and it is effective and stays “out of the way.” In other words, it doesn’t consume any noticeable system resources, it updates frequently with no problems, it alerts me if there are any failed updates, it is very user friendly and easy to configure and it just works!
I give this software 8 out of 10. I would give it higher than a 10 if it has more robust features that allow for more advanced programming and tweaking, but it’s free so what more can you ask for?!
I highly recommend trying out ClamWin and as a last resort, PC Tools. If I find some more free antivirus for servers I will definitely post some more recommendations. In the meanwhile if you have any questions feel free to ask and please feel free to leave comments.
Jarvis Edwards – TekTime IT Consulting & Computer Repair
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