Instead of burying the answer and forcing you to read the entire article to find it, let us save you some time: No, Windows Security (formerly known as Windows Defender) on its own is not enough security for business computers.
Windows Security only offers real-time anti-malware and antivirus protection, a basic firewall, app and browser control, and some device security features. However, that’s insufficient to keep business endpoints completely safe.
Yes, it’s built into Windows and it provides some protection against the awful things that live on the internet, but on its own, it’s just not enough to keep your business machines safe.
Most businesses need something with more security functionality that protects against more threats, offers greater control over endpoints from a central location, encrypts data, provides comprehensive reporting capabilities, and more.
If you’re thinking that Windows Security on its own is enough for your business, here are some things to consider that should change your mind.
The size and complexity of your business
Larger businesses with more computers to protect generally need something more sophisticated than just Windows Security protecting those computers, because there’s more at stake – customer data, proprietary information, reports, continued productivity, etc.
Third-party security solutions provide things that Windows Security doesn’t, namely advanced threat detection that uses AI to detect and defend against threats, encryption for data that’s in transit and at rest, centralised management for easy deployment and at-a-glance reporting, plus the ability to generate reports.
The more complex your business, and the more customer and internal data it handles, the more likely you are to need a serious security solution.
The industry you operate in
Some industries have intense regulatory and compliance requirements that Windows Security just can’t meet. Any industry that has serious GDPR and POPIA requirements, for example, will need a more advanced security solution because of how GDPR and POPIA specify that user data must be handled (and which Windows Security just can’t accommodate).
Healthcare, legal, and finance are good examples of these areas, due to their handling of sensitive patient/client data and the privacy risks associated with it.
Your appetite for risk
Business owners tend not to be too fond of taking risks, which is why locking their PCs down properly is so important. The best way to do this is with a multi-layered approach that relies on far more than malware and antivirus protection on all PCs inside the business.
This approach makes use of firewalls, advanced threat protection, user access control, two-factor authentication, email and web security, real-time network monitoring, data loss prevention, and security awareness and training of staff to keep cyber-threats at bay and the chances of a successful attack at a minimum.
Implementing protection that encompasses all of this will likely require several different security solutions from various vendors. Windows Security on its own will definitely not cut it.
Breaches are expensive
Trust us, the money you save by not implementing an appropriate cybersecurity solution inside your business will pale in comparison to the cost of a successful breach. To put that in perspective, IBM’s estimate of the average cost of a breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, or about R79.1 million at today’s exchange rate.
So if the worst ever happens to you, we guarantee you will kick yourself for not going harder on the security front.
And as much work as Microsoft has put into Windows Security over the years to make it better than ever (good enough for it to be sufficient protection on its own for home computers, for instance), even that’s not enough to give businesses the kind of protection they need against today’s cyberthreats.
So do yourself a favour and consult with your IT people if you haven’t already. They are in the best position to advise you of an effective security strategy. They will take into consideration your industry, your current infrastructure, and your budget, to find you a solution that fits.
And if they tell you that Windows Security is good enough, replace them immediately.