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Announcing: Microsoft Security Essentials available FREE to Small Businesses in October!

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Announcing: Microsoft Security Essentials available FREE to Small Businesses in October!

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Here is some great news for all of the small businesses out there from Microsoft that I am very happy to be able to tell you about!

As we all know, small businesses are under incredible pressure to:

  1. Reduce operating costs
  2. Improve productivity
  3. Grow their business
  4. Do all of this in a very challenging economic climate

It’s also no secret that most small businesses today do not have a dedicated IT professional on staff to manage their IT resources (which you may recall is why we originally launched the Small Business Specialist Community of partners worldwide). Small business owners and employees are focused on running their business, not managing complicated IT infrastructure.

imageFor those reasons, we are extremely excited today to let you know that Microsoft is making its Microsoft Security Essentials available to small businesses on up to 10 PCs for FREE, beginning in early October!  By providing Microsoft Security Essentials to small businesses free of charge, Microsoft extends its commitment to help these companies save money and grow their business by offering no-cost protection from viruses, spyware and other malicious threats.

Not familiar with Microsoft Security Essentials?  In many ways, Microsoft Security Essentials is an excellent solution for your small business. It is very easy to get and very simple to use. The software requires no registration, trials or renewals and is available for download directly from Microsoft. There is also no need to have other cumbersome security programs installed on your PCs since Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection to address the ongoing security needs of a genuine Windows PC, helping to protect it from viruses, spyware and other malicious threats. Perhaps best of all; however, is that Microsoft Security Essentials is designed to run quietly in the background, enabling you to continue using your PC – and running your small business – without constant interruptions.

Take a look at this video by Theresa Burch, director of product management, who gives a look at the details of Microsoft Security Essentials for a little more about what Microsoft Security Essentials can do for your business:

Now, some of you may ask whether Microsoft Forefront Client Security is a better security solution for your business. Well, that depends… If you want virus and malware protection to be centrally administered and integrated with group policy settings, then Forefront is a better option for you. But if you are comfortable with more of a set it and forget it solution, and are looking for an easy way to save money, Microsoft Security Essentials is definitely worth a look. (You can also find a Microsoft partner located near you that can help with determining the right Microsoft security solution for you)

Here is a glimpse of why you can trust Microsoft Security Essentials to protect your business:

  • Microsoft Security Essentials is powered by the same core malware protection engine that drives Microsoft’s enterprise solutions.
  • The antimalware engine used in Microsoft Security Essentials – and in all of Microsoft’s security products – is regularly tested by numerous organizations around the world and has consistently been certified by the industry’s leading independent certification authorities: International Computer Security Association Labs (ICSA) and West Coast Labs, VB100, and AV-Test.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials uses advanced system scanning and removal technologies that employ a definitions database that details the characteristics and behaviors of known malware. Threats are collected every month from more than 600 million PCs around the world and are assessed by the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, and new signatures are written and deployed daily.

Small business owners consistently tell us that their business information is critical and that any downtime caused by security threats or data loss can greatly impact their business. Because of this, we do advise small business owners to consider upgrading to Windows 7 Professional for their business computers. Why? Simple: With Windows 7 Professional, we prioritized speed, reliability, compatibility, and connectivity to keep their systems up and running. Plus, now with Microsoft Security Essentials in the mix to provide no-cost protection from viruses, spyware and other malicious threats, small businesses can focus on what really matters, running their business. (NOTE: Windows 7 is not a system requirement for Microsoft Security Essentials, which is available separately as a no-cost download from Microsoft.)

If you are a Microsoft partner, did you know you can participate in the free Microsoft Security Essentials distribution as well? The Microsoft Link Logo Program allows financial institutions, academic institutions, or any other company or business that has consumer-facing Web-based services to offer Microsoft Security Essentials to their customers easily and at no cost.  (Logo examples to the right)

OEMs and System Builders can pre-install Microsoft Security Essentials on their consumer-bound PCs to provide quality malware protection to their customers out of the box and at no cost. For more information related to opportunities for Microsoft partners, please visit the
Microsoft Security Essentials partner page. This is one more tool you can use in your services offerings to provide a complete solution for your small business clients.



So, if you are a small business with 10 or fewer PCs, take a look at Microsoft Security Essentials today as a no-cost, antivirus and antimalware option for you!

For more information on this news, check out the feature story up on

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
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  • Does the small-business version support installation on Windows Server 2008 [R2] and the forthcoming SBS version?


  • @ Rogerj - Microsoft Security Essentials was designed to provide desktop protection. We would not recommend installing it on servers.  As noted in the post above, you might want to look to Forefront if you are interested in centralized management and group policy integration.

  • Only 10 PC's??

  • As a company that has a bunch Forefront Client Security agreements out there, how am I to respond to my install base now that Microsoft is giving it away?  How does Security Essentials stack up compared to Forefront Client Security?  What motivation do my clients have to continue with Forefront Client Security?  My initial reaction is that my second and third year agreement payments may cease along with a big portion of my volume licensing business... :(

  • @ Bill - Yes, this is for up to 10 PCs only.

  • Too bad MS had to choose a number to set the limit between small and large business, I will have preferred 25 :-P

  • Sorry, but I don't get the point, as MSE is already available for free as long as you have a valid Windows license.

  • What if a user in a small business has a desktop, laptop and a netbook would that use 3 of the 10 copies or are you saying 10 employees can be protected? Also how can a small business with on IT staff and no one really auditing know when they have installed their 10 free software packages? What is the cost of the 11th copy?

  • Nice!  Another advantage for Microsoft.  Heck, I've already converted at home.  Free defs, less of a resource hog.

  • @ bttr - Microsoft Security Essentials has been available for consumers/home users for awhile now; however, it has not been licensed for business use.  With this announcement, we are expanding who is eligible to use Microsoft Security Essentials to include business users on up to 10 PCs.

  • @ TheHoleGroup - (Is this Bill by chance??)  Many small businesses want a centrally managed and integrated IT solution that provides deployment, management, and analysis capabilities. These businesses should continue to use the Microsoft Forefront line of products ( as part of its Business Ready Security strategy ( While Microsoft Security Essentials offers great desktop antivirus and anti-malware protection, it was not designed to run on servers and has no centralized administration or group policy capabilities.

  • Why is making the distinction and 10 PC limit even worthwhile? You can't easily manage the product via Group Policy software deployment or manage scans/updates through WSUS, which naturally curbs the larger deployments of MSE and encourages migration to the Forefront or third-party products. This is legalese-to-make-up-for-marketing-failures that was probably ignored by most small business up until now anyway--if it's available on for "free," then it is "free" to them, I see it all the time. Differentiate by feature set and value, not by EULAs. If you want to encourage sales of Forefront to small business, then you need to simplify the licensing of that product and sell it COTS on the Microsoft Store, download link and all, not through resellers. Up sell it with a "Buy now" link directly from the MSE client, done.

    My two cents =) MSE is a great product!

  • Can companies BUY  MSE if they have more than 10 users?  We have 80 users but no need for a more complex system.

  • According to the terms on the MSE website it was always free for business users but it was unsupported.

  • @ thommck - Actually, if you take a look at the licensing terms (located at:, it says, "You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your devices in your household for use by people who reside there or for use in your home-based small business."  It is currently licensed for home use and home-based small businesses only, not commercial business use.  With the announcement above, we are going to be expanding the licensing to allow #MSE to be used in small businesses on up to 10 PCs.

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