What is antivirus protection software?

Antivirus software is installed onto endpoint devices like phones and computers to keep them free of malware. It scans the device at regular intervals and flags any unusual code or recognized malware signatures. Once it detects the virus or suspicious program, it initiates the process of removing it from the computer. Antivirus software prevents and protects against a variety of malicious programs, including trojan viruses, adware, and worms. The cost of data breaches is rising, and with ransomware-as-a-service taking off as its own industry, the number of attacks is likely to skyrocket as well. There are countless cybersecurity products on the market, but antivirus protection software is one of the most popular. This software is installed directly onto your devices to keep malware from reaching your network and accessing your files. Check out this buyer’s guide to find the best antivirus software for your company.

Find your new antivirus software

What is the best antivirus software?

Products Artificial Intelligence Forensics Threat Intelligence
SentinelOne Singularity antivirus logo.
Yes Yes Yes
Bitdefender Gravityzone antivirus software logo.
Yes No Yes
Avast Business Antivirus software logo.
Yes No No
Kaspersky antivirus software logo.
No Yes Yes
ESET antivirus software logo.
Yes No Yes
Malwarebytes antivirus software logo.
Yes No Yes
McAfee MVISION antivirus software logo.
Yes No Yes

SentinelOne Singularity

SentinelOne Singularity offers next-generation antivirus (NGAV) software with the option to add security features for a full suite. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to prevent and stop viruses in real-time while providing context about the breach to your IT team. SentinelOne protects against both known and unknown threats, so it’s not simply relying on signature-matching to keep your data safe.

Bitdefender Gravityzone

Bitdefender Gravityzone provides endpoint protection that includes antivirus, risk management, and AI to defend and strengthen your network as it learns more over time. It boasts a large global network for threat intelligence, allowing the software to identify emerging threats in almost real-time. BitDefender also includes a two-way firewall that blocks intrusion and resource hijacking.

Avast Business Antivirus

Avast Business Antivirus uses NGAV technology to protect all of your endpoints, including Mac, Windows, and Linux devices. You can easily mix and match licenses to accommodate all of your devices. Even the basic version includes patch management and remote access to keep your employees’ devices running smoothly no matter where they are.

Kaspersky Endpoint Security

Kaspersky Endpoint Security provides cloud-based endpoint security for Windows devices. The remediation engine automatically rolls back actions that malicious programs performed to keep you safe from ransomware and other harmful software. With higher packages, you can also control users’ browsing activities and permissions for connected devices, like USB drives.

ESET Endpoint Security

ESET Endpoint Security offers endpoint protection with threat intelligence from users around the world. The machine learning features automatically label incoming traffic to help users sort through it easily. Businesses can choose to add mail security, which blocks spam messages at the server level and prevents them from getting into employee inboxes. ESET also includes remote management.


Malwarebytes is an endpoint protection solution for Mac and Windows devices that includes safe web browsing and automatic updates. Cloud-based management is available at higher tiers, as well as ransomware mitigation and protection from zero-day threats. Malwarebytes is easy to use and provides a single dashboard that delivers a real-time look into events and device health.


McAfee MVISION Endpoint Security is a robust endpoint protection platform that combines extended detection and response (XDR), real-time threat hunting, and behavioral blocking to protect networks from both aggressive malware and user error. It takes a proactive approach to risk management and prioritizes steps to help your security team better address them. The platform also helps your IT team automate security workflows to reduce their workload.
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Also read: Benefits of Using XDR in Addition to EDR

Antivirus Software FAQs

What is the difference between personal and business antivirus software?

While on the surface, personal and business antivirus software do the same things, there are some key differences. Personal antivirus software protects and monitors each device individually, while business antivirus protection software connects to a server, allowing it to monitor endpoints simultaneously. This streamlines the work for your IT team and allows them to recognize when attacks are originating from multiple endpoints. Generally, personal devices don’t need to be managed by other personal devices, so consumer antivirus software doesn’t usually include remote management and monitoring features. However, if your business computer becomes infected, your IT team will need to access the device remotely using their own. Therefore, business antivirus software does include remote monitoring and management. For personal devices, vendors usually sell antivirus software as a standalone product. However, businesses generally need a more robust set of features, and while they can purchase antivirus software on its own, they often buy it as part of a larger endpoint protection platform. These platforms include other software like endpoint detection and response (EDR), threat intelligence, and data loss prevention (DLP).

What are the key features of virus protection software?

Some virus protection tools will offer more features than others, but most platforms at least include these key features.

Real-time scanning

Antivirus software must scan your devices in real-time in order to provide an accurate view of device health. Without up-to-date information, your IT team may be working under the assumption that your network is running smoothly when in reality, you could have a breach. Real-time scanning runs automatically and prevents you from having to remember to manually initiate device scans.

Automatic updates

Your antivirus software should also update automatically when the vendor rolls out new versions, so it has the most recent threat intelligence. New strains of malware come out relatively often, and your virus protection software needs to know about them in order to protect your devices from them. Antivirus software that requires manual updates will require more work from your IT team and other employees and may not be as effective at preventing breaches.

Email protection

Phishing attempts are rampant these days, requiring email users to be constantly vigilant in their online interactions. Antivirus software can help protect your employees from suspicious emails, automatically filtering them out of their inbox or at least providing a warning that it might be spam, so users can look at them more closely.

Patch management

Many business antivirus tools also include patch management for your other applications to apply patches as soon as they become available. Unlike updates, vendors roll out patches to fix a vulnerability in their software. If your antivirus software isn’t installing patches automatically, your team will have to remember to do it manually, which could lead to delays and breaches.

Download protection

Attackers will sometimes hide malicious software in downloadable files to get you to invite the malware onto your device. Your antivirus protection software should be able to scan these files and prevent them from downloading if they contain malware or suspicious code. These scans can also help your IT team warn other team members about the problematic download in case more than one employee uses similar sources.

What are the benefits of antivirus software?

Some of the benefits of antivirus software are pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few more you might not think about.

Protection from malware

Malware can allow attackers to steal information and delete or encrypt important files. Antivirus software protects your endpoints from these harmful programs and reduces downtime, so your employees can remain productive. It also protects your sensitive information and may be a regulatory requirement in certain industries, like healthcare or financial services.

Keeps devices running smoothly

Some malicious programs can also render your computers or phones inoperable. If this happens, you may have to restore your device to factory settings or get a new one altogether. These options are expensive and time-consuming but antivirus software can prevent the virus in the first place or help your IT team discover it before it can do any harm.


Online ads can be annoying and take up bandwidth, slowing down your load speeds. Some ads are even viruses in disguise, hoping someone will click on one by mistake. Many virus protection tools include adblocking features to keep ads out of your employees’ way and help them find what they need quickly and safely.

Protection against phishing

Human error is the number one cause of data breaches, which is one of the reasons phishing attempts are so popular. Attackers use social engineering to trick users into providing personal information that they can use to steal passwords, financial data, and other sensitive information. Antivirus software that includes a firewall automatically removes these emails from your inbox, preventing you from even opening them.

Choosing the best antivirus software for your business

Antivirus software can save your business a lot of headaches, but you need to prioritize the right features. Automation requires less work from your employees and helps keep your data safe 24/7. Standalone products are generally cheaper, but they won’t offer the same level of protection that enterprises will need. And larger security suites might be cost-prohibitive for SMBs.