The Roller Coaster Ride toward Free Antivirus

ESG data shows that 57% of enterprises have either already switched to free antivirus software or are actively exploring the option. It makes some sense: Free AV programs have posted competitive efficacy rates against paid versions, and AV is increasingly viewed as an IT operations checkbox as opposed to a pure endpoint security control. There also seems to be a decreasing need to assign budget for AV. The thinking is that those dollars could instead be spent on newer technologies such as advanced endpoint anti-malware products, endpoint forensics, or endpoint analytics. For many organizations, ditching paid antivirus for a free product could be viewed as a sensible cost-cutting move. 

Topics: McAfee Kaspersky Avast trend micro antivirus free antivirus

Are Enterprise Organizations Ready to Use Free AV Software?

Last year, ESG published a research report titled, Advanced Malware Detection and Protection Trends, based upon a survey of 315 security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees). In one question, ESG asked security professionals whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Commercial host-based security software (i.e., AV) is more or less the same as free security software.”

It turns out that 36% of security professionals either “strongly agree” or “agree" with this statement, while another 25% are sitting on the fence (i.e., they neither agree nor disagree with the statement).

Topics: Microsoft Endpoint & Application Virtualization Cisco Information and Risk Management Sourcefire McAfee Security and Privacy Security Bradford Networks Malwarebytes Kaspersky Lab Juniper Networks freeware ForeScout Avast trend micro bromium Symantec security intelligence Great Bay Software antivirus Cylance Bit9 Anti-malware APT

Endpoint Security Market Transformation In 2014

It is widely agreed that the security software market is over $20 billion worldwide and that endpoint security software (aka antivirus) makes up the lion’s share of this revenue. After all, AV is an endpoint staple product bundled on new PCs, required as part of regulatory compliance, and even available for free from reputable providers such as Avast, AVG, and Microsoft.

Yup, AV software is certainly pervasive but traditional endpoint security vendors will face a number of unprecedented challenges to their comfy hegemony in 2014 for several reasons:

  1. Security professionals are increasingly questioning AV effectiveness. According to ESG research, 62% of security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) believe that traditional endpoint security software is not effective for detecting zero-day and/or polymorphic malware commonly used as part of targeted attacks today. To quote Lee Atwater, ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to AV.
  2. Many organizations are already moving beyond AV. ESG research also indicates that over half (51%) of large organizations are planning to add new layers of endpoint security software in order to detect/prevent advanced malware threats. This means that enterprise companies aren’t waiting for AV vendors to catch up but rather spending on new endpoint defenses – likely with new vendors.
  3. The industry is turning up the heat. The AV market has been a cozy oligopoly dominated by a handful of vendors. This market is coming unglued as a combination of new threats and user perceptions is opening the door to an assortment of upstarts. The list includes smaller firms like Bit9, Cylance, Malwarebytes, and Triumfant as well as 800-pound gorillas like Cisco (with Sourcefire FireAMP, IBM (with Trusteer), and RSA Security (with ECAT). Oh, and let’s not forget red hot FireEye’s acquisition of Mandiant or Palo Alto’s purchase of Morta. These two firms are intent on leaving AV vendors in the dust as they pursue the title of “next-generation security company” (whatever that means).
Topics: IBM Microsoft Palo Alto Networks Cisco Information and Risk Management Sourcefire FireEye McAfee Security and Privacy Security Malwarebytes Triumfant Mandiant Avast trend micro RSA antivirus Cylance Bit9 Anti-malware APT Trusteer