Best Antivirus Solutions for Windows 8.1

Best Antivirus Solutions for Windows 8.1

With the release of Windows 8.1, the primary concern for security professionals is how to protect the operating system against viruses and malware. Malicious software continues to grow in both quantity and sophistication and today's admins need adequate tools to protect their businesses.

The challenge facing today's administrators is that an effective antivirus solution can't just stop at the desktop client. With users' expectations to access data anytime, anywhere, and from any device, the tools we use to protect them have to demonstrate the ability to adapt to these new expectations without sacrificing convenience or performance. Security solutions that have mobile devices, cloud-based services all under the same management suite are becoming more popular. Along with deeper scan products designed to protect against ransomware using predictive and hardware accelerated technologies.

Today we'll review five of the best antivirus solutions for Windows 8.1, starting with Microsoft's built-in Windows Defender.

Microsoft's Windows Defender

Some may not be aware that Windows 8.1 comes with built-in virus protection labeled as Windows Defender. From a client side protection perspective, Windows Defender has a largely already-installed base, primarily because it is a part of Windows 8.1. A primary potential advantage of Windows Defender is that, because it is already built into the operating system, it should be better at providing protection.

Windows 8.1 can be monitored and managed with the Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager with Windows Intune. System Center 2012 is designed to allow an organization to manage an entire environment and comes with the complexity and overhead of a far-reaching tool that lacks the granularity of virus management and protection.

The Windows Defender product is a basic consumer level antivirus solution that lands somewhere in the middle of the pack for consumer protection at best. It is not designed for the workplace; for example, it offers little email or browsing protection. Centralized management is questionable with System Center 2012 and with the tremendous overhead that comes with System Center 2012 it can be too much management for a mid-tier product, even under ideal circumstances.