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3 Free (and Legal) Antivirus Solutions for Small Businesses

Sara Angeles, Business News Daily Staff Writer

There is a ton of free antivirus software out there. You may already be using one at your business. But did you know that most free antivirus software solutions are not licensed for commercial use?

Such free antivirus software solutions include AVG, Avast! and Malwarebytes, all of which are licensed strictly for home computers. For instance, Malwarebytes' end-user license agreement (EULA) explains that the free version is limited to personal, non-commercial purposes, while AVG's EULA explicitly states that any commercial use is prohibited and may violate copyright laws.

But that doesn't mean you have to choose between abiding by the law and employing costly solutions. Here are three free antivirus software solutions that are completely legal for your small business. [Read related article: Cyberattacks and Your Small Business: A Primer for Cybersecurity]

1. Comodo Internet Security

Comodo Internet Security is a complete virus- and malware removal software. It detects and protects systems from viruses, malware, spyware, rootkit attacks, bots and more before they can infect your computer. It uses both local and cloud-based virus definitions, so computers are protected even if the software isn't up to date.

Why it's different: Unlike most free antivirus solutions that offer limited capabilities, Comodo is fully functional software that uses enterprise-grade technology at no extra cost. In addition to scanning, detecting, and protecting systems from viruses and other malicious attacks, Comodo features an auto-sandbox technology to safely run untrusted programs, Secure DNS to filter blacklisted websites in real-time, personalized alerts, and the ability to lock down computers and restrict them to whitelisted applications. 

Commercial license: The Comodo Security Software EULA states under Section 2.1 Comodo Security Software, "Comodo Internet Security (CIS) may be used royalty-free for both commercial and personal use."

Get started: Instantly download and install Comodo Internet Security here. There is no registration or billing information required.

2. Nano Antivirus

Nano Antivirus is award-winning antivirus software that uses proprietary technology in the company's own antivirus labs. It offers both downloadable software for Windows devices and a web-based antivirus program, allowing users to protect entire systems or scan individual files.

Why it's different: In addition to viruses, Nano Antivirus goes the extra mile — unlike most free antivirus software, Nano also protects against winlockers and ransomware. Nano also aims to provide reliability, speed and convenience. First, it runs on its own antivirus engine to provide real-time defense for local systems, downloads and Web traffic. As such, it also offers high-speed scanning, fixes and software updates, thus minimizing downtime and loss of productivity. Nano also gives users the convenience of choosing the type of antivirus protection that best fits their organization — for instance, the ability to choose between recommended settings for hands-free protection or advanced settings for companies with their own IT departments.

Commercial license: Unlike most antivirus software, Nano Antivirus has a fairly brief license agreement. Regarding use, it simply states that users "can use, copy and distribute this software without any restriction." Its FAQs page also says the software is free for any organization, and that a multi-license version is also available for multiple PCs.

Get started: Download Nano Antivirus here. Although there's no need to register or provide any personal information to download the software, systems will require administrator privileges to install the software.

[Related Read: Does Antivirus Software Really Protecting Your Business?]

3. Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials offers comprehensive protection against Trojans, malware, spyware and other types of viruses. However, it is only available for PCs running on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. The Windows 8 equivalent is called Windows Defender and comes built-in on all Windows 8 devices. 

Why it's different: Microsoft Security Essentials tries to stay invisible while giving users complete control. First, it offers "quiet protection," meaning it defends your systems without getting in the way of your productivity. For instance, it runs in the background and automatically schedules virus scans when your system will likely not be in use. It also minimizes the use of unnecessary alerts by using pop-ups only when a user's action is required. Additionally, the software features a simple, easy-to-use interface that lets users manually schedule and specify types of scans, toggle real-time protection, view scan histories and more.

Commercial license: Microsoft Security Essentials is free to use on a limited number of small business computers. Its EULA states under Section 1b Installation and Use Rights, "If you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to 10 devices in your business."

Get started: Download Microsoft Security Essentials here. Like Comodo and Nano Antivirus, Microsoft doesn't require you to register or provide any contact or billing information.

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