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Doug's Mailbag: Is Security Essential Essential?

Readers discuss the release of Microsft's consumer-minded security tool:

I have to say, I am hooked on MSE. I tested it out pretty extensively and researched it to see how its detection rates compared to other major engines. For detection and false-positive rates, it is one of the best in class -- at least according to the guys (and gals) who test virus scanners.

As for how well it works in the real world, I have been a very big fan of McAfee VirusScan Enterprise prior to MSE. I have since been replacing VirusScan with MSE on everything I own. I have noticed a LOT less speed slowdowns when using MSE. On VirusScan, I used to have the system go slow when occasionally opening programs. The VirusScan engine was scanning everything being opened. MSE hasn't slowed my machines down yet. Another benefit with MSE is that it includes an anti-spyware program. Most virus scanning engines do not do spyware at the same time. MSE does and, from my experience, it has caught things that would have been missed by VirusScan. The updating process being integrated with Windows Update is a bonus, but not game changing. All engines update themselves (or can be set to). I just like it being in Windows Update. Lastly, the price is right. Free, fast, and good beats any paid combination there is.

The big issue facing MSE adoption in the Enterprise is the lack of centralized console and distribution. If Microsoft builds it in to System Center in the near future, I think a few of those third-party security vendors better find new products. It is typical of Microsoft. The first few revs of a product are garbage. They just seem to persevere until they come up with a product that is a "must have." So far, I am satisfied with MSE and assume it will only get better.

I have installed MS Security Essentials on several client XP machines (Pro Version and Home Edition). It works very well, easy to install and configuration is automatic. The GUI interface is easy to understand, even for novices.

It runs more efficiently than other paid anti-virus programs (not bloated, slow startups, etc). Also, it found a virus that a very popular antivirus suite did not! I recommend it for home users.

Thank You Microsoft!

I use MS Security Essentials (SE) on my three home PCs and love it. I found out yesterday one of our clients, which is a multinational corporation, will be using SE on all of the PCs/notebooks at their two U.S. locations. I'd guess that is a total of 250 nodes. I looked into the EULA and discovered it is meant for home use and also for home-based small businesses. I don't think he should be using it for that -- but he says it works great.

Another client of ours told me yesterday he will be using ClamWin for his 40-node Windows network that we will also be migrating to Exchange Online soon.

First off, let me thank you for putting out two quality products with both Redmond and Redmond Channel Partner magazines. Both of them are very essential reading for me, and I always look forward to their arrival.

I have been using Security Essentials since it first went into beta over a year ago and have had nothing but complete success with the product. I was a beta tester for Live OneCare, and used it until Security Essentials was released. It is what I recommend to all of my home-user customers, and they have always been completely satisfied with it. I especially enjoy the fact that it is just an anti-malware product, without all of the extras that many of the current paid products include. Windows already comes with an excellent firewall and Internet Explorer 8 has plenty of security features -- Security Essentials just rounds them out. The fact that it is available free of charge is just the icing on the cake. I think many of the other anti-malware vendors could take a lesson from Microsoft and put out a entry-level consumer product with low overhead and minimal features at little or no cost to the consumer.

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Posted by Doug Barney on August 02, 2010