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The top antimalware protection products for endpoint security

Antimalware protection is essential for securing client computers and devices. Here's a look at the top endpoint protection products in the industry.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of different kinds of malware in the wild, including, but not limited to, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, rootkits and so on, hence the need for organizations to deploy endpoint antimalware protection products that prevent unwanted infections to desktops, laptops, workstations, servers, mobile devices and more.

Malware writers, meanwhile, have become better organized and funded, as well as more sophisticated, in making the threats to data privacy and the risk of unauthorized access to confidential data very real for even the most security-conscious organizations. This growing complexity and prevalence of malware means the installation of antimalware protection on endpoints -- both on desktop/laptops and mobile devices -- is more important than ever before. Making the business case for acquiring and deploying endpoint antimalware is a no-brainer in this environment.

The first step to take when deciding what type of endpoint antimalware to deploy is to become familiar with the criteria for evaluating and procuring endpoint protection. That way, when it comes time to select an endpoint antimalware product, an organization will be well-versed on what endpoint antimalware features best match its malware protection needs. With so many vendors offering endpoint protection, choosing the right product can still be overwhelming, however. Here is a list of the top endpoint antimalware protection products on the market to help enterprise gets started.

Kaspersky Endpoint Security

Kaspersky Small Office Security has a large feature set that includes antimalware protection for Windows workstations and file servers, antimalware and antitheft protection for Android devices, a firewall, application and Web controls, file-level encryption, online banking protection, online backup and password management. Total Security for Business is Kaspersky's pinnacle endpoint security solution for large and/or complex networks. It adds vulnerability scanning, patch distribution, application and device control, and protection of Web gateways, email servers and collaboration systems to the mix. Kaspersky Endpoint Security products, meanwhile, score very highly in independent testing. To learn more about Kaspersky Endpoint Security products, read the full product overview.

Sophos Enduser Protection

Sophos Enduser Protection is an endpoint protection product comprised of several Sophos software products for organizations of all sizes. For all bundles, the core product is Endpoint Protection Advanced. Every bundle includes antivirus/antimalware, data loss prevention, a client firewall, application and device control, a host-based intrusion prevention system, website browsing protection, email protection (such as antispam) and patch assessment, as well as mobile device application and email management. An administrator installs the Sophos Enterprise Console on a server to streamline client installation and management. Typically, Sophos endpoint software is an agent that communicates with the console, but it can also be installed as standalone software for off-site computers. To learn more about Sophos Enduser Protection, read the full product overview.

McAfee Endpoint Protection Suite

This growing complexity and prevalence of malware means the installation of antimalware protection on endpoints -- both on desktop/laptops and mobile devices -- is more important than ever before.

The McAfee Endpoint Protection Suite includes antivirus and antimalware protection (for servers and endpoints), a desktop firewall, removable storage device control (to prevent data loss), antispam functionality and proactive warnings about potentially malicious websites for users. It also enables administrators to whitelist or blacklist URLs. All McAfee endpoint protection products rely on McAfee's Global Threat Intelligence file reputation service to proactively protect endpoints from viruses and other malware. McAfee ePO, meanwhile, is a Web-based application that provides a central point of management for endpoints. McAfee offers a good array of free support services, as well as several levels of paid premium support. To learn more about McAfee Endpoint Protection Suite, read the full product overview.

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection (SCEP) is an antivirus/antimalware product for Windows environments that also includes a Windows Firewall manager for midsize to enterprise environments. SCEP, a part of Windows System Center, natively supports Windows client workstations and servers. All administration for SCEP is performed through the System Center management console. While SCEP scores fairly low for accuracy compared to the other products listed in this article, many shops that already have System Center installed select SCEP as their enterprise security product because of its tight integration with System Center and relatively low licensing costs. To learn more about Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection, read the full product overview.

Symantec Endpoint Protection

Symantec Endpoint Protection is a client/server software product that provides layered security for physical and virtual endpoints in environments with more than 250 users. It includes antivirus/antimalware, a firewall and intrusion prevention component, host integrity checking, USB device control, application control, network access control and website browsing protection. A Power Eraser component lets administrators scan endpoints to remotely remove infections. The Symantec Global Intelligence Network analyzes data from hundreds of millions of users and sensors and works with Symantec Insight and SONAR technologies to identify and categorize current threats. Symantec Endpoint Protection scored the highest for total accuracy among similar products in the Dennis Technology Labs July-September 2014 report. To learn more about Symantec Endpoint Protection, read the full product overview.

Trend Micro OfficeScan

Trend Micro OfficeScan is designed to protect physical and virtualized endpoints in midsize and enterprise organizations from malware, Web threats, data loss and so on. The product includes add-on modules for data loss prevention of email and USB devices, support for Macintosh systems andvirtual desktop infrastructures, a network-level host intrusion prevention system with enhanced firewall support, endpoint encryption and endpoint application control. Installing Trend Micro Mobile Security adds protection for mobile endpoints. Trend Micro OfficeScan scores very well in accuracy and performance tests. It works by installing agents on endpoints, which communicate with the Trend Micro Control Manager running on an organization's OfficeScan server. To learn more about Trend Micro OfficeScan, read the full product overview.

Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security

Unlike Trend Micro OfficeScan, which is for midsize businesses to enterprises, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security is designed to protect physical and virtualized endpoints in small organizations from malware, data loss and Web threats. The Standard and Advanced versions provide antivirus protection against viruses, bots and rootkits; antispyware protection; URL filtering; and general Web threat protection; as well as device control for attached devices such as USB and DVD drives to help prevent data loss. The Advanced edition adds real-time scanning of POP3 email accounts, email data loss prevention and spam blocking, as well as phishing and Macintosh client protection. It scored well for protection, performance and usability in independent tests. Administrators, meanwhile, can customize installation options, selecting only the components they need for a particular environment. To learn more about Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security, read the full product overview.

Choosing the right antimalware protection product

All the antimalware products described in this article provide solid antimalware security. There are differences between them, however -- including pricing, administration and management, platforms supported, and the types and degree of protection offered.

Organizations should take all those elements into consideration when deciding to either make an endpoint antimalware change or deploy the technology for the first time. After all, while all these endpoint antimalware products are considered market leaders, some stand out more than others in specific situations.

Next Steps

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This was last published in June 2015

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