Logo of the Dutch government

Choosing antivirus software

This information is provided by Digital Trust Center

Viruses are spread in many ways and can cause great damage. So, it is important to properly secure your systems. Use antivirus software and update it regularly.

An antivirus program continuously scans for the presence of malicious files. A good virus scanner is regularly updated by the supplier so that it also protects your company against the latest known viruses.

What is a virus?

A virus is a file that interferes with your device. It usually settles in your computer or company network without human action. Viruses exist in many forms and variants. And they are continuously being developed. Viruses form a major threat to a network as they perform malicious acts such as encrypting, modifying, or even deleting important company data.

How are viruses spread?

One of the most common variants is email distribution. Malicious files are disguised as harmless attachments, such as images or PDF files. Opening such a file will infect your system. Without you knowing. The virus can also spread further. For example, by email to the email addresses of family, friends, and colleagues. A virus can irreparably damage, copy, delete, or keep files and data hostage. It is therefore strongly recommended to use antivirus software. By using strong antivirus software, you not only protect yourself, but also other companies against a virus.

How do I choose the best antivirus software?

The antivirus software market is constantly changing. With the help of the points below, we provide you with guidelines for choosing the best antivirus software. For specific information about products and functionalities, we refer you to the websites of the various suppliers.

Questions regarding functionalities

How often is the virus definition list updated?

If this is a few times a day, week, or month, then this says something about how up-to-date the antivirus software is, but also about the level of protection. In general, you can say that the more up-to-date a list is, the safer you are as a user.

How much impact does the virus scanner have on the use of your office environment?

If with every email you have to wait 20 seconds before the email opens, this can have an impact on the efficiency of your business processes. Often, antivirus software is free to use and test for a short period of time. This could help you test which software best suits your company's needs.

Which devices do you want to protect?

This is an important question, because specific software may only work for part of your organisation. So, check carefully whether software works on all your equipment and devices. Think of the combination of macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Android operating systems, but also the level of the operating systems. It is wise to think about which devices you want to use the software on. Does the software have the option to be installed on servers, desktop, laptop, phone, and tablet?

What level of knowledge is assumed for the management of the antivirus software?

Managing means all the activities that you have to do to make software work. Are you going to change settings in the virus scanner yourself or do you want the system to do this for you? If you have an IT supplier (in Dutch), you may be able to outsource the management. If you are going to manage it yourself, it is wise to see which default settings there are and to consider whether you have enough knowledge to do the management yourself.

Standard security

Microsoft and MacOS have built-in security by default. This is protection meant for individual users, but it has its limitations. For business applications it is recommended to use antivirus software designed for entrepreneurs. If you have outsourced your IT to a supplier, they can help you choose antivirus software that is best suited to your needs. To help you with that, there are also several independent research institutes that test antivirus software. Examples are AV test and AV comparatives. With these organisations you can make specific comparisons between different software applications.

Free or paid

In the antivirus software market, there are paid and free versions. Free sounds good, because it costs you nothing. But there are several drawbacks to this. Below is an overview of some important differences between paid and free versions of antivirus software.

  • Usually, there is a difference in the target groups of the antivirus software. There are private versions and corporate versions. The private version is often offered for free. It is important for you as an entrepreneur to check whether, for example, there is a difference in the terms of use. It may be that as a company you are not allowed to use the private version.
  • In the terms of use, you will also find differences in the form of support offered with free and paid versions. In some cases, this will be online support in the form of frequently asked questions, in other cases a helpdesk for specific questions. In general, if you pay for the service, you can get more direct support. When you manage a complex environment, extensive support can be very relevant.
  • Paid versions often include more services, such as active scans of documents, emails, and web pages as soon as a user clicks on them. Whether you need these extra functionalities is of course up to your own assessment.
  • It matters how often a virus definition list is updated. In the terms of use you will find the regularity with which such an update takes place. You can imagine that with a paid service a supplier will make an update available more often than with a free version.
  • A final difference is in the revenue model of the antivirus company. In order to generate income, free versions will often be provided with advertisements. With paid versions you will not have these, because you pay directly to the supplier.

In addition, it is important to mention that purchasing antivirus software is also a process in which you weigh your interests. Remember that installing or purchasing an antivirus application does not guarantee a completely secure working environment, but is a first line of defence against malware, ransomware, and hackers.

Update antivirus software

To ensure that your company computer is and remains virus-free, it is recommended to perform a virus scan periodically, preferably daily. Always make sure that you have downloaded the latest version of the virus scanner and the virus database of the scanner. That way, the latest threats and viruses are recognised.

This information is provided by

Digital Trust Center
FAQPartnersContactAbout usDisclaimerPrivacy and cookiesAccessibilityOndernemersplein (Dutch) is an initiative of:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVOImmigration and Naturalisation Service, INDTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstGovernment.nlStatistics Netherlands, CBSNetherlands Vehicle Authority, RDWDigital Trust CenterEuropean Commission Point of Single is the Dutch Point of Single Contact for entrepreneurs.Accessibility level: W3C WAI-AA WCAG 2.1