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Which Anti-Virus Software Do You Recommend to Rural ICT Clients?

By Wayan Vota on October 13, 2010

When it comes to anti-virus software, everyone has an opinion. Most people choose one of the many commercial anti-virus software options, like Kaspersky or Norton, and are quite happy with it.


But there is a major drawback – buying a license only includes one year of updates. Every year the client must pay for new updates, or their anti-virus definitions quickly become outdated and then cannot remove new viruses.

Many clients don’t understand the need to pay for updates. They are confused by the need to pay for software or see its cost as too high. Some don’t have credit cards, so they cannot pay for yearly updates even if they wanted to. (Typically updates are bought directly from the anti-virus company using credit cards.)

At Inveneo, we usually steer our clients toward anti-virus software that doesn’t require paid annual updates.

  1. Avast
  2. AVG
  3. Avira
  4. ClamWin (for MS Server)
  5. Microsoft Security Essentials (for legal copies of XP/Vista/7 validated on Microsoft’s website)

Ultimately, though, it depends on the client. If your client is a bank or large institution, going with a trusted commercial product like Kaspersky makes complete sense. They understand the need for updates and have the means to pay for them.

But what about rural ICT clients? How best to meet their needs? What do you recommend to them?


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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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4 Comments to “Which Anti-Virus Software Do You Recommend to Rural ICT Clients?”

  1. christian says:

    I would recommend not to use windows at all but Linux if the software required does have a counterpart on Linux – there would be no need for anti virus software.

  2. I work with mostly on ICT-education in developing countries. There I find most installations using Windows XP. As Christian says, it depends on the software required… I am happy to recommend an easy Linux distro like Ubuntu and Puppy… but the fact is most want Windows… at least for now… with that said I have a small list of maintenance and virus programs that I recommend. All are based on quality, ability to maintain a license and of course updates are crucial. As for an Anti-virus program it is important that the virus definition can be downloaded and easily installed manually. this allows one download and sharing among other computers running the same program. I have been running Avira for many years now and find it a very solid program… Although I understand there are other equally as effective.

  3. Hello,

    I am based in Nigeria and understand what you mean very well. I suggest Avast Free edition. Register and you get a free one year license. You can download updates and install these off-line on computers. This is especially useful in situations where Internet connections are non existent or so slow updates can’t be downloaded.

  4. Yes, it is true, for rural people who have used a windows computer before, in most cases, they have seen winxp. For these, they usually want to see winxp and no other thing. When it comes to recommending an antivirus, for us here, it is always like being asked which is better; linux (ubuntu) and windows. We often sit the client down and point to them the positives of using ubuntu over windows. In most cases, these farmers using a computer means to type a document – where we recommend openoffice; using the Internet – mozilla firefox particularly pointing out its resistance to being attacked by malware, adware…; and above all, pointing out the all important issue that they will never have to spend any money at all worrying about contracting viruses!

    We always install ubuntu & setup everything (audio, music programs, pdf readers…) and actually walk them through the simple tasks of familiarising themselves with using openoffice. Often after a couple of months, many of them are so relieved to have ubuntu on their machines & that they never have to worry about losing all their documents whenever a usb stick is used on their pc.

    If we all went about sensitizing & promoting the goodness from using open source software, we would greatly do away with the so many pirate winxp/M$ office copies in our communities.