Computing has changed a lot in the past few years, but one thing hasn’t: Your system needs protection, whether you’re working at home or in an office.
It’s been a couple of years since we asked readers about their top picks when it comes to fighting viruses, malware, ransomware, and the like on work-dedicated hardware. This year, we did so with the help of our colleagues at Spiceworks, the world’s leading IT forum. We found a repeat winner when it comes to your favorite security suite brand, and a new name reached the top of the list when it comes to all security software across suites and standalone programs. Read on to see which security vendors are preferred by PCMag readers in the working world.
Security Software and Suites for IT and Work 2023
When we ask about the software that sole proprietors as well as major IT departments use to defend their digital ramparts, we receive a list of all the security solutions they have in place, including standalone antivirus programs and security suites. As a follow-up, we ask respondents specifically whether they use security suites—those are a far safer solution to have in place for full protection.
The winner this year for overall security software is a surprise. In years past, the award went to companies including Malwarebytes (2021 and 2019), Bitdefender (which tied with Malwarebytes in 2019), and Webroot (2020). But in 2023, the name at the top of the list is Trend Micro.
This win is major for Trend Micro. Two years ago, it was in seventh place on this list, with an overall satisfaction score of 8.5 (tied with AVG). This time, it earns 9.2—not the kind of jump we see often in any survey. Trend Micro ties in high scores for ease of use (9.3, like Malwarebytes) and reliability (9.4, like Bitdefender), and earns 9.2 for performance, meaning how it affects a PC’s speed.
Those ties tell the tale, though: Trend Micro is on top, but its lead isn’t that large. Also, it’s in third place in two key categories: trustworthiness, where its score of 8.8 is lower than that of Bitdefender (9.3) and Malwarebytes (9.1), and likelihood to recommend, where its score of 8.6 once again lags behind Bitdefender (9.1) and Malwarebytes (9.0). This shows that Trend Micro can’t rest if it wants to be a top choice for IT and business users by this time next year, and that if you stay with our previous winners, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes, you’ll still be well protected.
Vendor names to avoid based on the opinions of fellow readers include Avast and McAfee. The latter in particular earned a low score in almost every category.
As for suites, the field narrows dramatically. That’s because we require a minimum number of responses to include a brand, and in this case, only four brands categorized as suites garnered enough responses. Microsoft is included, though it isn’t technically offering a suite, which typically includes a lot more than simple standalone antivirus—which is what you get with Windows Defender.
That leaves suites for work PCs to Bitdefender, Norton, and McAfee. There’s no doubt that the top choice is Bitdefender, as it has been in the past.
Bitdefender’s overall satisfaction score dropped from 9.2 two years ago to 9.0, as did its score for likelihood to recommend. Even its trustworthiness rating went down, from 9.4 to 9.3. But those drops barely register when Bitdefender’s numbers are compared with those of the competition, McAfee and Norton. Both are sometimes a full point behind Bitdefender in several categories—reliability, for example, in which Bitdefender earns a fantastic 9.4 compared with McAfee’s 8.3.
The PCMag Business Choice 2023 survey for Antivirus Software & Security Suites was in the field from November 28 to December 18, 2022. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the survey methodology.
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