There are dozens of high-end antivirus software available on the market but most of them must be purchased. Luckily, computers that operate using Windows 8 or 10 already have built-in antivirus protection: the Windows Defender.
But is Windows Defender good enough to protect your computer? The latest version of Windows Defender is the most secure one yet; it can provide a solid level of protection against most viruses and malware but still lacks a few key features like web and password protection that you can find in other antivirus software.
The Importance of Cybersecurity and Installing Antivirus Software
With each passing year, cyberattacks increase and damages become more serious. For small to medium businesses, the cost of damages from cybercrime can reach up to $383,365 per attack.
One simple way to strengthen cybersecurity is by installing antivirus software. It serves as the computer’s first line of defense against viruses, malware, ransomware, trojan horses, adware, spyware, and other malicious content online. That’s why investing in good antivirus software is better – it saves time and resources that are spent on recovering data and deleting the virus.
Is Windows Defender Enough for Your Computer?
Windows Defender is the built-in antivirus software that comes with computers running on Windows 8 or 10. Windows Defender wasn’t always the trusted antivirus that it was. Most users install third party antivirus alongside their Windows Defender for optimal protection.
But with Microsoft’s recent efforts to improve the software, Windows Defender is now at par with some of the best antivirus solutions in the market. However, it still falls short when it comes to other features that some free alternatives can offer.
What it Can Do
Windows Defender scans the system in search for known malware signatures. It also monitors the system for different signs of infection. According to the latest comparative studies by AVcomparatives, Defender did better than other paid services when it comes to ensuring that no malware can take over the test systems.
Microsoft’s attempt to improve Windows Defender was effective since it can now offer:
- Real-time threat detection
- Parental control
- Cloud-delivered protection
What it Lacks
Here’s a look at some of the essential features from other antivirus software that Windows Defender that are lacking:
- Web Protection – The majority of malware is found in phishing emails which utilize malicious links that get past most antivirus programs. While Windows Defender offers safeguard for the Edge browser, it’s not exactly the user’s primary choice for surfing the net. Most people use Chrome and other browsers which are not covered by Windows Defender’s web protection.
- Password Protection – Since people have to remember a lot of passcodes to access different accounts on different platforms, they tend to create and reuse weak codes for multiple log-ins. Windows Defender does not offer a password management tool that suggests and stores strong passwords.
- Cloud Backup – Backing up files and other important data is another layer that completes a good protection system. When ransomware decides to attack infected files and destroy the data, a cloud of backup files can be restored so that all operations can still continue. Unfortunately, Windows Defender does not offer this feature yet.
- Technical Support from a Live Person – Windows Defender’s automated protections does a good job of keeping viruses and malware from entering the system. But once a device or the whole network is attacked, people will want to talk with a live technician who will help them mitigate the threat.
How to Get Better Cybersecurity Protection
Windows Defender is a decent antivirus program, but to ensure the network or device’s security, additional measures might be needed. You can pick from the following options to strengthen the computer’s protection:
- Combine Windows Defender with Other Programs – Installing another program, specifically an anti-malware, can help fill the gaps in the security system left by Windows Defender. Before settling on a specific program, do your research and find out what important features are needed.
- Look for Better Free Alternatives – Unlike other antivirus software that offers additional features, Windows Defender only gives the most basic protection for the device. There are alternatives out there that are free and have more perks.
- Buy a Premium Antivirus Software – Windows Defender and other free antivirus software are great, but they don’t offer the same 100% protection that paid programs do. If you don’t want to compromise security, paying for a premium antivirus is a good investment.
Alternatives to Windows Defender
Once you decide to take your computer’s protection up a notch, the next step is to look into possible alternatives and how they perform against each other.
Factors to Consider
A German lab called AV-Test Institute performs tests on different antivirus software to find out which of them is the best. They measure each one using three criteria: performance, protection, and usability. A software can score a maximum of 18 overall, but to pass the AV test, it should score at least 10 with no zero in any of the three test areas.
- Performance – Some antivirus software takes up too much of the CPU that the computer slows down. AV-Test measured the computer’s performance with and without antivirus software by timing the speed of downloading files, installing programs, and more.
- Protection – An antivirus software is essentially useless if it can’t protect the computer against infestation. This criterion is measured by how much the antivirus can prevent infestation by 20,000 malware samples and 150 zero-day threats.
- Usability – Aside from removing malicious content, antivirus software should also avoid false-positive identifications. AV-test conducted this assessment by scanning millions of legitimate files and visiting valid websites to see if it alerts about actions performed by legitimate installers.
Top Antivirus Software
Whether you’re searching for antivirus software to replace or support Windows Defender, here are some of the best options to choose from:
- Avira – If you’re looking for a program that can complement Windows Defender, Avira is a good choice. Its free version performed better than Windows Defender. But if you choose to go for the premium version, you can also enjoy PC optimization tools, password manager, and more. (AV-Test Score: 18/18)
- Kaspersky – Kaspersky also performed better than Windows Defender when the same features were tested. It also has a faster malware scan and near-perfect malware detection. What’s great about this software is that it includes an integrated VPN and a password manager that’s free of charge. (AV-Test Score: 18/18)
- Bitdefender – Rather than a complement to Windows Defender, Bitdefender is a recommended replacement. Although it has basically the same functions, it performed a lot better than Microsoft’s built-in antivirus. Upgrading to premium is also worth every penny because it offers advanced features that Windows Defender lacks. (AV-Test Score: 17.5/18)
- TotalAV – What made us include TotalAV to this list is its easy-to-use interface as well as the numerous functionalities and features it offers. It includes PC optimization tools that boost device performance. However, one important component that it lacks is the real-time protection that Windows Defender has. It would be better to use these two programs together than either of them alone. (AV-Test Score: 17.5/18)
- Malwarebytes – Malwarebytes is another excellent software for detecting and removing malware from the computer. However, it lacks some essential features that Windows Defender already has. If you’re planning to install this software, it’s best to keep Windows Defender active too. (AV-Test Score: 14.5/18)
Get Comprehensive Cybersecurity Protection with Abacus
Protect your network and device from cyberattacks by strengthening the overall security. Here at Abacus, we offer multi-layered and extensive solutions to defend the organization’s data.
With our decades of experience in the industry, we have provided hundreds of customers with efficient IT solutions that fit their needs. Call us now at (865) 505 – 6860 for comprehensive cybersecurity protection against viruses and other malicious content.