Ask the Experts: What's the best antivirus software for our small office?

This weekend we heard from Judy, office manager for a small doctor's office, who wrote in asking,
Hey guys,

"I'm on your mailing list, so I get your coupon deals when they come out. I saw one recently where almost everything was on sale. I didn't need a deal then, but I need one now (haha) and I don't know what to get. I'm office manager for a doctor's office.

"There are three physicians in the practice and a couple of nurses and lab techs, a billing person, plus me. About 9 people full-time.

"As if I don't have enough to do already (hahah), they asked me to research and upgrade the antivirus software we have now since ours that came on the computers when I bought them is about to expire.

"It was probably pretty dumb, but I didn't know any better and got all the computers at Best Buy since there's one really close to our office. At least it was easy.

"Wow. Sorry for so much detail. I'm totally dreading doing all this research. I'm so not a 'tech person.'

"Thanks for the help!!!

Merry Christmas,
"P.S. I've got a small budget. Anything I don't spend on antivirus software I get to use to upgrade my tired printer, so I need cheap and good.

Here's my reply:

Hi Judy,

We've gotten a lot of good questions the past few days; this is a great one. Thanks.

For starters, forget about going to a store like Best Buy--or even Office Max--to renew your antivirus software. The retail stores sell home versions of the antivirus software. What you need is business or enterprise antivirus software.

(I can already hear some readers grumbling about my answer, but just keep reading, everything will be clear in a second.)

Fundamentally, home and enterprise antivirus software are exactly the same. They prevent, detect, and removes viruses (and other malware.) Fine.

The big difference is with business antivirus software you get centralized management, which you don't with home antivirus software1.

Here's the deal: when you're managing the antivirus software now, you have to walk from one computer to the next, asking the users if you can interrupt them and use their PC for a few minutes. Bleh. It's a pain in the neck.

With business antivirus software, you do everything from one place: your PC.

From your own desktop you can remotely manage the antivirus software on every PC on your network.

Got a malware issue popping up on one of the lab techs PCs? You won't have to wait for them to tell you about it--you'll see it in the central management console on your computer.

The next biggest thing about business antivirus software is some manufacturers offer different support options for businesses than they do the average home user.

You may be able to get things like 24x7x365 support, priority phone queuing, and so on.

"Sounds great," you're saying, "Now how much does all this cost?! Think of my poor printer!"

No sweat... most antivirus software for businesses is comparable in price to their home/consumer versions. What's the catch? All the A/V companies require a minimum of five users for you to qualify for their business version.

With nine users in your office, you easily qualify for business antivirus software.

So, how do you get it?

Easy. Contact us. We're available by phone, too, (1-800-297-5134) which is usually faster and easier for something like this.

In a couple of minutes we'll figure out your needs and what's the best enterprise antivirus software for your office--and get you prices.

Oh, and in case you the thought crossed your mind, most antivirus software for business is almost as easy to setup as home software. There's usually a step or two more, but that's it.

And if you do get stuck, because it's enterprise-class software, you'll most likely be getting a different level of support than you're used to, so someone will help you with any snags you hit.

Chances are it'll go just fine though. You'll probably have more issues un-boxing and setting up that new printer you've been oogling. ;-)

1 BitDefender Antivirus and BitDefender Internet Security home versions also include central management for up to five PCs. It really makes things easier for a multi-PC home, but it's not intended for use in a business.