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Whether you’re in the office, in the field, or like so many of us right now, in the home—the devices you use for work need protection. Otherwise you leave a barn door-sized access point for bad actors. Just ask any company floored by a ransomware attack.
In years past, we’ve asked our readers to rate the security software brands they use, from antivirus to endpoint protection. This year we did the same, but also isolated the best security suite providers. With a suite, users get everything from a VPN and a firewall to, yes, ransomware mitigation. And the brands our readers recommend for work are similar to those they prefer for at-home computing.
Security Software and Suites for Work 2021
Two years ago, the award for overall security software was shared by Malwarebytes and Bitdefender; last year Webroot swooped in for the win. Now as we head into 2021, there is only one winner again and it’s a resurgent Malwarebytes.
Much like Webroot last year, Malwarebytes leads on most measures. The exception is device performance while running the security software. Malwarebytes has an excellent 8.8 out of 10, but even that is behind Bitdefender, Sophos, and Webroot. On trustworthiness, Malwarebyte’s stellar 9.2 is also slightly behind Webroot’s amazing 9.4.
But Malwarebytes is either tied or top of the line in everything else, from overall satisfaction (the most important number in our lineup, at 9.3), to ease of use (9.5) to reliability (tied with Bitdefender at 9.3) and likelihood to give a recommendation to a colleague (also tied, at 9.1). We didn’t get enough responses on all the little security suite options like firewall, VPN, ransomware, phishing, etc. for Malwarebytes, indicating most people are probably using its barebones and excellent antivirus tool alone.
You won’t be disappointed if you invest in Bitdefender, Sophos, and Webroot. The companies all post numbers more than worthy of an award had the competition not been so fierce. Standouts include a 9.3 each for ease of use, setup, and performance for Webroot; Bitdefender’s excellent 9.6 ransomware detection, plus 9.4 for its malware fighting and firewall; and Sophos’ 9.4 for setup and 9.3 for reliability (tying with Malwarebytes and Bitdefender).
This year we asked people if the product they were rating was also a security suite. That shut out a few companies instantly—AVG, Malwarebytes, Webroot, and others—because we need to have a minimum number of responses to include them. Bitdefender made the cut; its overall satisfaction number went up for just suites, to a 9.2, and it scored exceptionally well across the board.
Sophos also enjoyed excellent results, including slightly beating out the winner when it came to ease of use and setup. It also wasn’t far behind on most other measures, usually about two-fifths of a point at most, with the exception of the recommendation to colleagues, where Bitdefender’s 9.2 was a full point of head of Sophos’ 8.2. A suite from either company is bound to make your work PC feel safer.
For more, read The Best Hosted Endpoint Protection and Security Software for 2021The Best Hosted Endpoint Protection and Security Software for 2021.
The PCMag Business Choice 2021 survey for Antivirus Software & Security Suites was in the field from November 2 to November 23, 2020. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the survey methodology.
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