The CP List: 20 Antivirus Software Providers You Should Know

Antivirus providers are always challenged by the ongoing evolution of threats.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

May 21, 2018

15 Slides

**Editor’s Note: This is the latest in our series of “20 top providers.” Previous editions feature providers of UCaaS, SD-WAN, and backup and DR.**

Being a successful antivirus software provider means staying one step ahead of cybercriminals. Those providers that can’t aren’t likely to be around much longer.

Antivirus (AV) software is designed to detect, prevent and remove malware. That includes viruses, worms, trojans and scareware, as well as some forms of unwanted programs, such as adware and spyware.


CloudTech1’s Rick Beckers

Analysts, a member of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and other industry experts shared their views with us on what it now takes to succeed in antivirus software.

Antivirus providers were, and still are, always challenged by the ongoing evolution of the threats, and the expanding community of black-hat virus developers and ransomware criminals, said Rick Beckers, president of CloudTech1 and editorial advisory board member.

“So, it is getting much harder to compete,” he said. “All these new threats leave open the ability for new providers to reinvent the wheel and offer a better solution. The legacy names in the industry must always work diligently to keep astride while maintaining their existing products and services.”

A successful, cutting-edge antivirus provides the ability to detect malware behavior not previously seen, said Brad Kunze, sales engineer at Telarus.


Telarus’ Brad Kunze

“These are known as Zero Day and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), and do not have a signature identified by an antivirus entity,” he said. “Next-generation antivirus/endpoint detection services are incorporating artificial intelligence (AI)/behavior analytics to detect threats and respond whether the malware came through email or other platforms.”

Rik Turner, principal analyst at Ovum, said providers must go beyond the signatures-based approach, which characterized the first generation of vendors, some of whom, like Symantec and McAfee, grew to be industry giants with multibillion-dollar revenues off the back of the those signatures. The signature is a unique string of bits, or the binary pattern, of a virus.

“The efficacy of signatures is waning year by year and they are thus being complemented by other technologies for detection and response,” he said. “Many of these approaches rely on machine learning to recognize anomalies.”

In terms of challenges faced by providers, the “ante is going up, in that they now have to invest in the development of algorithms that they subsequently need to train to identify patterns and thus detect anomalous behavior/activities, Turner said.


Ovum’s Rik Turner

“There are also a lot of ‘next-gen’ vendors in the market vying for customer mindshare, so the old-school vendors, while they have the customer base, must spend a considerable amount to make sure they are up to date, and to let the world know that that is the case,” he said.

A good antivirus service provider must have a “great, friendly channel program” so that MSPs, VARs and those dealing directly with the end user can implement it, manage it centrally and make some money doing so, Beckers said.

“The antivirus service provider must have a product with a rapid response notification system so that the MSP or end user knows that something is going on as early as possible when there is an attack,” he said. “Time is of the essence!”

Based on feedback from experts, recent news reports and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, we’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 antivirus software providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success.

Click through our gallery below to see how made the list and why.


Both Kunze and Turner cited Symantec as a top provider. Gartner lists the company as an endpoint protection platform leader, saying the company's "broad deployment across a very large deployment population of both consumer and business endpoints provides it with a very wide view into the threat landscape across many verticals."Symantec is among the "significant players" in the global security and vulnerability management market, which is expected to more than triple in value by 2027, exceeding $20 billion.


Turner cited McAfee as a top provider and Gartner lists it as a visionary, saying its investment in developing an endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution has "resulted in an offering with a useful feature set."Announced in January, McAfee Identity Theft Protection provides users with personal monitoring, financial monitoring and recovery tools to keep identities personal and secured. Additionally, through new partner innovations with D-Link and Samsung, McAfee delivers in the key areas of the connected home, mobile security and privacy.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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