server antivirus

Expert’s Choice: The 7 Best Server Antivirus Solutions

You should observe the server as the heart of your entire tech environment. It’s essential for all the devices that you use, including desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, and others since everything circulates through it.

Due to the fact that it plays a significant role in the tech world, it’s vital to provide it with appropriate protection. If malware or any other virus attack your server, you are at risk of compromising your entire network to an unauthorized source.

The best way to protect your server is the installation of server antivirus software, which prevents any suspicious file from entering your network, making sure your sensitive data remains safe.

What is Server?

The server is a term that’s primarily used in computing, and it refers to a computer program or a device that provides the functionality to other programs, usually called “clients.”

The server is especially important for businesses since it impacts business performance and its development. Most companies decide to keep their essential files on the server, and not on the computer due to the following reasons:

  • Strength: The server is way more robust than a computer, especially the one designed for business. Such a server comes with ECC (Error Correction Code) memory, which immediately detects and corrects any potential failure, stopping your computer from sudden freeze or turn off.
  • Security: When it’s protected with the best server antivirus, your server is less prone to cyberattacks, which makes it more difficult for someone to steal your critical business data.

Do All Servers Need Antivirus?

Even though it’s recommended to protect your server with antivirus software, the truth is that not all servers need it.

For instance, if your server doesn’t connect to the outside world, and doesn’t interact with non-admin users, you can actually skip the antivirus installation. However, under some other circumstances, the antivirus will be more than necessary.

Let’s go through the server types and see whether they need antivirus protection:

Exchange Server

Exchange server is the official Microsoft product, and it’s primarily an email and calendar server. It’s convenient for small and medium-sized companies, and it helps them achieve better reliability and performance.

It brings benefits regarding appointment scheduling, emails, and security, and when it comes to antivirus, there is an Exchange-specific antivirus solution you can implement this software and protect it from potential attacks.


Microsoft Office SharePoint Server or simply SharePoint is server software that’s part of the 2007 Microsoft Office System.

It works effectively with other programs, servers, and technologies, and businesses can use it to facilitate collaboration, enterprise search, business processes, forms, and other vital activities.

If you find downloader and uploader workstations secure, you don’t need an antivirus. Still, if you are not sure whether you can trust them, or if you want to add some extra security to your server, consider AV.

AD/DC (Active Directory/Domain Controller)

Active Directory is a Windows OS service that provides working with interconnected, complex, and different network resources.

It provides a common interface for organizing and maintaining information that is related to resources connected to a variety of network directories, which can be system-based, like Windows OS, application-specific, or network resources, such as printers.

As for domain controller, it’s a server computer found on Microsoft Servers, and it responds to security authentication requests, such as logging in.

Windows Servers that are described as Active Directory domain controllers are the ones that provide identity and authentication, which is why it’s essential to provide them with antivirus, especially if there are multiple roles on the same server.

DHCP/DNS (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol/Domain Name Systems)

DHCP and DNS are servers that are essential for our daily Internet use. They both work with IP addresses (unique computer’s ID number on the Internet) but in a different way.

The DHCP server uses a server-client model and provides IP addresses to every newly connected device dynamically and automatically. As for DNS, it searches for the location of the server name, translating its written domain into IP address.

The server antivirus “rule” from the previous segment can be applied here as well – if users interact with the servers, or if there are multiple roles on the server, antivirus protection is more than necessary.

File Server

File Server is a computer attached to a network, which provides a location of shared storage of computer files, including texts, images, videos, sound, etc.

It’s primarily designed to enable the storage and retrieval of data, while the workstations do the computational tasks. Such servers are commonly found in schools and offices, where users use a LAN (Local Area Network) to connect their computers.

You can install an antivirus to scan only since this server can only get infected if you upload a file that contains the virus.

OCS Inventory (Open Computer and Software Inventory)

OCS is free software that allows users to access IT assets, including data storage, transmission, retrieval, and manipulation, which is usually done for business purposes.

The dialogue between OCS client machines and the server mostly depends on HTTP(S) (Hypertext Transfer Protocol (Secure)), and OCS tends to format data in XML (Extensive Markup Language).

That said, many files shared across this server may contain links to outside content, which is why it’s recommended to install antivirus.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

The SQL server is a database management system developed by Microsoft, which is aimed at storing and managing information.

Microsoft SQL Server is widely used in the business world, mainly because of its ability to store and manage information. Also, its increased security brings benefits to businesses that keep clients’ critical data, such as a credit card number.

Practically, SQL doesn’t need an antivirus server, but if you want to prevent non-admin users from interacting with it, make sure you install AV software.

Web Servers

A web server is a program that uses HTTP to serve the files that create web pages to users. All computers that host web sites must have web server programs, among which the most prominent ones are Apache, IIS (Microsoft’s Internet Information Server), and Nginx (Engine X).

Web servers often come as a part of a larger package of programs that are Internet and Intranet-related, and they usually serve for email, downloading requests for FTP (File Transfer Protocol) files, as well as building and publishing web pages.

Since web servers are used for uploading files and linking to other sites, it’s essential to implement antivirus software.

What are the Features of the Best Server Antivirus?

Even though you may think that you are surrounded by the safest environment, you should never put yourself and your business at risk, even if your server doesn’t interact with the outside world.

The most common threats that can attack endpoints and affect the safety of your server are:

  • Malware that deletes or corrupts data: If not protected, all the critical data found on your server is at risk of being attacked, deleted, or damaged by hackers.
  • Zero-day attacks: These attacks are able to find vulnerabilities in an ecosystem and strike the same day.
  • Ransomware: These are among the most common cyberattacks, which encrypt the data and hold it hostage until the user pays a ransom. Paying a ransom is generally not recommended since you can’t be sure that the attacker will give you back your data.

These attacks are just a part of a larger group of viruses that can damage your system. Since the antimalware implementation is strongly recommended, check the following features that your software should have:

  • Direct virus detection: Server antivirus should be able to detect the malware before it does any damage, and protect your server from trojans, worms, and other threats.
  • Sandboxing: This is a special feature that authenticates all the processes that are running on the server and prevents any malicious entities from entering and harming your system. All unrecognized apps and procedures will be automatically sandboxed and run under special restrictions.
  • HIPS (Host Intrusion Protection System): This option monitors all the activities on the server, and it stops any suspicious process from jeopardizing the data, OS, system-memory, or registry keys.
  • Virtual Desktop: This belongs to the sandboxing environment, and it allows Internet access and beta-software testing without upsetting the file structure.
  • Rescue Disc: This feature provides performing of pre-boot antivirus scans, password recovery, detection, and removal of the rootkit, and allows you to transform the data from the damaged disc to another drive.
  • Stable performance: Apart from quick scans and detection of malware, good antivirus shouldn’t affect your system performance.
  • Excellent defense against new viruses: New viruses arise frequently, and the task of antimalware is to provide protection from even the latest malicious attacks, even if their name isn’t included in the antivirus record. That said, choose a program that provides regular updates.

What is the Best Server Antivirus?

There are multiple server antivirus solutions you can find today – most of them come with subscription options, but you can find free programs as well.

That said, let’s have a look at the 7 best software that will protect your server even from the most sophisticated attacks.

1.      Bitdefender GravityZone Endpoint Security

Bitdefender GravityZone provides top-notch protection against sophisticated threats without affecting the overall system performance.

GravityZone prevents, detects, and blocks threats that even so-called “next-gen AV” defenses miss, including exploits, phishing, ransomware, unknown malware, PowerShell and other script-based attacks that could jeopardize your business safety and operations.


Good stuff:

  • Command-Line Analyzer: This feature prevents macro and script-based attacks from performing malicious actions within your system. Bitdefender will alert the admin and block the download of the code that leads to malware execution.
  • Sandbox Analyzer: All suspicious files will be automatically sent to the cloud sandbox for further analysis – that way, they won’t be able to perform any malicious activity.
  • Anti-Exploit: GravityZone focuses on attack tools and techniques to detect both known and zero-day attacks that usually target popular software apps.

Bad stuff:

  • Poor alert options: Customers would like to get notified via emails or texts when antimalware detects and quarantines the virus.
  • Quicker scans: Users would also appreciate faster scans.

Bottom line: This Bitdefender’s product is quite a reliable and robust business-grade security suite. It comes with comprehensive and easy-to-use functions, which allow it to stand out from most of the next-gen antimalware.

2.      Comodo Server Antivirus


One of the best Windows server 2012 antivirus could be Comodo Server Antivirus, which comes with outstanding features that provide protection from data theft, viruses, malware, spyware, phishing, and other common threats.

It supports Windows servers, including the versions from 2003, 2008, 2011, and 2012, and no matter what’s your MS Server operating system, you’ll get the maximum level of reliability and protection.

Good stuff:

  • Over-the-air (OTA) enrollment: With this feature, you’re allowed to connect and protect all your mobile devices wirelessly.
  • Host Intrusion Protection System (HIPS): Thanks to HIPS, this software can identify and prevent the potential damage caused by compromised files. If it detects something unusual, it blocks it before any unpleasant activity.
  • Comodo Dragon: This antivirus for server offers a secure web browser named Dragon. It’s based on Chromium technology, and it offers a functional speed, stability, and convenience while keeping you safe and secure at the same time.

Bad stuff:

  • Not easy to use: Comodo comes with certain features that require further tech knowledge, which makes it difficult for users to understand them fully. Such features include KillSwitch and Task Manager.
  • Affects system performance: Comodo tends to slow the system considerably, which can be a problem.

Bottom line: Overall, Comodo’s reasonable price and robust features make it an excellent choice for small businesses. It provides optimal security to your physical server, prevents and detects the potential malware successfully.

3.      Comodo Advanced Endpoint Protection

Comodo Advanced Endpoint Protection

You can see that Comodo brings top-class products that provide endpoint protection. When it comes to Comodo Advanced Endpoint Protection, we can say that it truly is an advanced app that provides even more enhanced features that make sure the files on your server keep safe.

Its approach to unknown files is quite excellent since it runs them in a secure, auto-contained environment that ensures security. There is a free trial available, and you can use the program for 30 days until you decide whether it’s worth buying.

Good stuff:

  • Comodo Security Client: This is an advanced feature that offers multi-layer, modular approach, and a patent-pending automated container that provides prevention, detection, and response to both known and unknown threats.
  • IT Security Manager: With ITSM, you can track all the devices in your enterprise, and have an insight into their security status. IT admins have complete control over the system, real-time visibility, device management, and enterprise malware search.
  • Valkyrie: Valkyrie is Comodo’s official cloud-based platform, which is used for analyzing unknown files. It includes static, dynamic, and human analysts, providing a 100% verdict in no time.

Bad stuff:

  • Long loading time: Since it’s about robust software, it needs some time to load, which is inconvenient for most users.
  • Steep learning curve: Like the previous Comodo product, this one also requires a bit of tech knowledge in order to fully understand some functions.

Bottom line: Your endpoint will get complete protection from unknown files that might cause safety issues. Its innovative and robust options will give you full control over the devices used within your enterprise, and real-time notifications will allow you to react on time.

4.      Avira Antivirus for Endpoint


Avira Antivirus for Endpoint provides business-grade security to PCs and file servers, and it’s suitable for every small business.

It includes a pretty straightforward installation, user-friendly interface, and detects and blocks over 4 million attacks every day, including phishing, infected websites, fake shopping carts, and drive-by downloads.

Good stuff:

  • Real-time scanning: Avira will protect all files and running processes on your PCs and servers, and stop advanced threats, spyware, and other types of viruses.
  • Anti-Botnet: Botnet is a network of connected computers that are controlled by a command center. It doesn’t need to be malicious, but it’s often used for such purposes – Avira will block the communication between your device and the command center, preventing your endpoints from being hijacked.
  • Anti-ransomware: Avira will identify, block, and remove ransomware before it encrypts all your files.

Bad stuff:

  • Fails to recognize threats: Avira sometimes fails to recognize viruses that could harm the system, and it permits them to enter as if they were from a trusted source.
  • VPN: This Avira product comes with a built-in VPN, which, according to many users, tends to slow down the website load.

Bottom line: This is a quite efficient antivirus software that will provide your devices with a significant dose of security. Still, the fact that you must protect at least three servers with this antivirus might be a potential drawback.

5.      Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud


Kaspersky is considered one of the most tested and most awarded security vendors, and its products can protect Windows desktops and file servers, Mac OS workstations, iOS, and Android smartphones, and tablets.

As for Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, it’s major benefit lies in the fact that it’s hosted on the cloud, which means that there is no need for hardware or software provisioning and maintenance.

It detects insecure devices, controls password rules, manages camera use, filters unwanted texts and calls, and it can even remotely lock or wipe data from your lost PC.

Good stuff:

  • Vulnerability scan: This tool will detect and eliminate the vulnerabilities in your system and applications installed on your computer. All issues detected will be ranked by severity and recommendations on the necessity to fix it.
  • Free mobile licenses: Kaspersky gives you two free licenses, which means that you can protect your mobile devices as well.
  • Anti-ransomware: This product identifies and blocks any ransomware, which could encrypt and hijack your data.

Bad stuff:

  • Not for less than 10 servers: If you need a server antivirus for less than 10 servers, this might not be the right choice for you since it offers packages for 10 to 150 endpoints.
  • Poor reporting capabilities: This is a feature that should be present in software whose functions are as good as Kaspersky’s.

Bottom line: Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud deserves to be in the top five due to its excellent options that bring the server’s security to the next level.

6.      ClamWin Free Antivirus

ClamWin Free Antivirus

If you are looking for the best free antivirus for server 2012, ClamWin could be the right choice for you.

It’s an open-source program, and you can download it right from its official website. It provides high detection rates for viruses and spyware, and its regular updates make sure it doesn’t miss any new threat that’s been added to antivirus record.

Good stuff:

  • Email scanning: The most prominent advantage of ClamWin is its ability to scan emails. Namely, it can be added to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.
  • Easy to install: The installation of this product is quite straightforward, and it can be done in no time.
  • Scanning Scheduler: You can create a schedule and set the exact time when you want scanning to be done.

Bad stuff:

  • No real-time protection: There is no option for automatic scanning, but you need to do it manually. It can cause a lot of problems since a virus can enter your system, and you might not notice it.
  • No customization: ClamWin doesn’t offer many options for customization, which is also a bit inconvenient.

Bottom line: Cost-free products are not convenient for commercial use in general, due to their limited features. ClamWin could be OK for the beginning, but the lack of real-time protection and other essential stuff make it outdated.

7.      Windows Defender AV (Built-In)


A good example of free server antivirus is Windows Defender AV. It’s installed with Windows by default, and you don’t need to do any extra stuff regarding its implementation.

This Windows server antivirus offers significant protection against malware, ransomware, trojans, and other forms of malicious files, and if you integrate it to Microsoft Azure, you and your server will get more robust security.

Good stuff:

  • Entirely free: You don’t need to worry about hidden fees or subscription plans since the full version of this product already comes preinstalled.
  • Multiple device protection: Windows Defender helps you protect various devices, servers, and endpoints. Also, it keeps your essential data safe from even the most sophisticated threats.
  • Easy to disable: If you want to install another server antivirus, you can simply stop Windows Defender from running.

Bad stuff:

  • Impossible to deinstall: The truth is that you can stop Windows Defender from running, but there is no option for permanent deinstall.
  • Lacks more in-depth customization: Since it’s a built-in product, most of its functions are already customized and preset, unlike some other software that offer a variety of customization options.

Bottom line: Defender AV is quite a decent antivirus for server 2016 that provides the features that every user finds essential.

Final Words

In a nutshell, it’s essential to protect your server, regardless of its type. But if you’re considering a free server antivirus, go for trusted solutions, or download a free trial of proven providers that give you an opportunity to check out the features before purchasing a full version.

Don’t forget that most security breaches come as a result of unprotected servers – cybercrime is a big deal, and it’s always better to have adequate protection!

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