The best mobile VPNs for the enterprise and how to evaluate them

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a necessary protection in an inherently insecure internet world. Enterprise-class VPNs have been around forever and there are a multitude of vendors to choose among. Most require a dedicated centralized device (e.g., an appliance, gateway, firewall, concentrator or server) to which all participating VPN users connect.

Now a growing new class of VPN vendors, especially in the small business and mobile space, uses the power of the cloud to scale their decentralized offerings. Some are even completely free. Could one of these new offerings be a part of your mobile VPN strategy? Depending on your requirements, the answer may be yes.

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The best mobile VPNs for the enterprise and how to evaluate them

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a necessary protection in an inherently insecure internet world. Enterprise-class VPNs have been around forever and there are a multitude of vendors to choose among. Most require a dedicated centralized device (e.g., an appliance, gateway, firewall, concentrator or server) to which all participating VPN users connect.

Now a growing new class of VPN vendors, especially in the small business and mobile space, uses the power of the cloud to scale their decentralized offerings. Some are even completely free. Could one of these new offerings be a part of your mobile VPN strategy? Depending on your requirements, the answer may be yes.

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Best antivirus: Keep your Windows PC safe from spyware, Trojans, malware, and more

Antivirus software ranks nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. No matter how careful you are, some threats can’t be prevented without the additional help of an antivirus program—or a full antivirus suite.

You could visit your favorite website when it’s unintentionally displaying malicious ads. You may accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). You could also get caught by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program allows hackers to install other malware on your machine.

Sure, PC security software isn’t fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits on your machine like ransomware. In general, the average user actively using email, clicking on links, and downloading programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.

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Windows Defender review: Basic protection at the right price

In 2006, Microsoft added built-in security software to Windows for the first time. Since then, it’s appeared under various names, but currently it’s known as Windows Defender Security Center (WDSC). What started out as a basic antivirus detection feature has slowly grown into something that resembles a security suite. It doesn’t have anything close to the features you’d see in a third-party suite, but it does a fair job at antivirus and malware scanning.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus of 2017 roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

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AVG Internet Security Review: A premium antivirus suite that you can put on all your household PCs

AVG has a big advantage in the free antivirus space since it owns both Avast (acquired in 2016) and its homegrown product, AVG Free. The hope is that you’ll love the free stuff so much that you’ll eventually upgrade to one of its paid products.

In the case of AVG, most people go with its Internet Security program. Priced at $70, it’s one step down from the company’s flagship product, AVG Ultimate, and lacks a number of Ultimate’s less crucial features. For example, you don’t get AVG’s PC tune up package or third-party desktop software updater. That’s hardly a loss, though, as you can find free programs to dump cached folders taking up too much space or monitor software updates. The important security features are all included in the $70 security suite, however, including antivirus, firewall, and phishing protection.

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Avast Premier review: An attractive antivirus suite with limited install options

Avast is one of the more popular free, third-party antivirus programs. For anyone willing to pay for more advanced features, however, Avast’s premium products also have a lot to offer.

At the top of the company’s line-up is Avast Premier for $80, which comes filled with features. Though it only offers two additional extras compared to Avast’s $60 Internet Security product, those particular features are potentially useful for those who want them.

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