Microsoft Offers Small Businesses Free Security Starting Today

It looks like Microsoft is looking to establish the “Essentials” brand as a label for free and useful, if bare-bones, services for users of the Windows platform. To wit: today sees the availability of Microsoft Security Essentials as a completely free antivirus/malware protection suite for small businesses up to 10 users. Here’s the scoop.

The Windows Security blog claims that Microsoft Security Essentials, in its current form, has acquired over 30 million users in the year or so since its launch. What’s more, new HP Envy notebooks have the suite pre-installed when you open the box, as of last week. That blog entry has other milestones, but the real upshot seems to be that Microsoft is proud of the positive buzz Security Essentials has gotten thus far.

Now it’s available for small businesses with up to ten machines. While it doesn’t sound like it’s a licensing issue behind that limited number of machines, Microsoft recommends upgrading to their Forefront product line if you have more than that.

Just as with the Microsoft Live Essentials 2011 package, this represents a problem to MSPs insofar as it may be harder to upsell customers to bigger and perhaps better, even if their infrastructure or usage habits demand it, because they have a free alternative sitting on their machines.

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