Often when computer security concerns are raised in the public media we receive calls from clients about the best way to secure their data and devices.

Our standard advice is to make sure that all Windows devices are upto date with all Microsoft Updates installed and that Microsoft “Windows Defender” is enabled.

We’d like to explain this in some more detail, based on our experience.

Firstly, we don’t usually recommend third-party anti-virus software such as “McAffee Anti-Virus” or “Norton AntiVirus”. In the past we’ve found that third-party anti-virus software causes more problems than it solves and that it offers no significant advantages over the in-built Windows Defender app.

Secondly, we find that the deeper integration between Microsoft Windows and Windows Defender means that it both does a better job at detecting malicious software, and does so in a less intrusive and more seamless manner.

Make sure Windows Defender is working for you. Just ask Cortana or type “Windows Defender” in the task bar search box. If you see a “PC status: Protected” message, you’re good to go.

If Windows Defender is turned off, you can turn it on by uninstalling other antivirus solutions and checking again.

It’s also important to understand that Windows Defender has evolved and expanded its role with newer version of Windows.

Windows Defender in Windows 7/Vista is an anti-malware (anti-spyware) program intended to supplement your anti-virus program, not replace it.

Windows 8/10 Defender is Microsoft’s free built-in (integrated) anti-virus and anti-malware solution which provides the same level of protection against malware as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) provides on older operation systems plus enhanced protection against rootkits and bootkits.

For Windows Defender to operate effectively it’s important that Microsoft Updates are regularly installed. This will ensure that potential Windows security holes are plugged and that Windows Defender can identify the latest threats.