It’s difficult to tune into the news today without hearing about another data breach. From critical infrastructure to retailers, every business is a target.
And it’s not just large businesses with massive assets and data amounts that are suffering. Small and medium size businesses (SMBs) are just as much at risk. Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report indicates that 43% of all data breaches involve small and medium-sized businesses.
The problem? Most SMBs are not financially prepared to recover from a cyber attack.
But, the good news is that the most common attacks on small businesses (like malware, viruses, ransomware and phishing) can largely be avoided with a good antivirus software, so small and medium-sized businesses avoid many of the threats aimed at them.
Of course, that means you’ll want to find the best antivirus for small business protection.
What is the Best Antivirus for Small Businesses?
The short answer is that the best antivirus for a small business is the one that’s best for your specific organization.
The reality is, there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution that will work perfectly for every small or medium-sized business. Instead, you’ll need to find the right fit in an antivirus software that protects you and helps minimize your specific risk profile.
For example, a small office with only five people may be able to rely upon an antivirus solution that’s installed on each computer, while a larger office may need a centralized solution.
How to Choose the Best Antivirus for Your Small Business
There are several factors that should be considered when choosing the best antivirus for your small business. Here, we’ve outlined a few questions to ask to consider your needs and options so you can find the right fit for your company.
These answers, and more, will define the right solution and the best antivirus for your small business—one that protects you without overwhelming you or your team and fits your budget.
Does the antivirus software you’re considering protect against major threats?
This seems like an obvious question, but it’s an important one.
What threats should you consider? Certainly, malware and viruses are key. The antivirus software that you choose needs to not only protect against these major threats but also needs to be updated regularly.
Every day, AV-Test, an independent IT-Security institute that tests antivirus software, registers more than 450,000 new malicious programs (malware) and potentially unwanted applications (PUA). So, whatever software you choose for your small or medium-sized business should be reputable and should provide updates frequently.
Does it monitor for threats in real-time?
Your business probably doesn’t only use computers once a day or once a week. More than likely, these machines are an important part of your day-to-day and minute-to-minute operations. That means that your exposure to risk is frequent and consistent.
While complete scans are important, and they’re something you’ll likely run after hours (which we discuss below), the antivirus software you choose should check for threats in real-time.
Checks should be run not only while accessing web pages, but on email, when opening documents or downloading and accessing attachments.
How many machines will need to be protected?
The number of machines that need to be protected can drive the type of antivirus that’s best for your small business, as well. If you only have a few machines, installation, set-up and management should be straightforward and may not take much time.
Because antivirus needs frequent updates, however, managing individual copies of software may be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have an internal IT department. Even with the help of a managed service provider (MSP), single copies of antivirus software may not be cost-effective.
In these cases, it’s best to consider a centralized antivirus solution that can be managed from a single console, with updates that are distributed to all computers on the network as required.
Will you need antivirus protection on mobile devices, too?
If you’re protecting the Windows PCs in your office, you may choose one type of antivirus software. If, on the other hand, you’ll be protecting PCs, Macs, and Android and iOS devices, you’ll have a different set of requirements from your antivirus solution.
Don’t be tempted to ignore protection on mobile devices. In 2019, one in three businesses was the object of a data breach that used a mobile device as an attack vector. This can be especially important for small or medium-sized businesses that use mobile devices for field services or with customer service personnel.
Does the software impact computer performance?
Some antivirus software is better tuned for performance than others. If your computer slows to a crawl every time you try and open an email or a file, it’s likely that you or your employees will simply turn it off to get work done.
This, obviously, increases the risk of malware and viruses.
Performance, though, is in the eye of the beholder. If your business has computers or servers that demand speed or that already strain their processors as they crunch reports or handle transactions, even a slight slowdown will impact the business.
On the other hand, software that causes a small amount of lag may not impact another business with fewer performance requirements.
What antivirus features are most important to your small business?
Protection from malware, ransomware and viruses is key. But are there other features that you might need?
For instance, is a password manager something that would benefit the security in your business? What about end-point firewalls or spam management? Business machines that manage financial transactions should consider using a secure browser to protect sensitive data.
The flip side is also true. Do you need all of the bells and whistles that come with an antivirus solution? Will you need those in the future? A lightweight antivirus application might not offer every feature, but might be easier to configure and maintain, and may be a better financial choice. However, the primary concern should be making sure it is the right fit for your organization.
In addition to the features listed above, your business may need to consider other features for an antivirus software, depending on your specific situation. You may or may not need:
- Threat ranking and proactive URL blocking
- Secure file and profile deletion
- Virtual private network (VPN) services
- Wi-Fi monitoring
- System performance optimization
Selecting the Best Antivirus for a Small Business and Protecting Your Organization from Cyber Threats
Installing antivirus software on your business computers is an important step toward protecting your organization. It’s true; there’s no such thing as the “best antivirus.” For small businesses, however, finding the right fit can still be a challenge.
If you’re having trouble choosing, installing, or configuring your antivirus software, it’s worth the time and investment to engage a partner who can help.
Warren Averett Technology Group can help you understand the risk that your small or medium-sized business faces and can help you find appropriate solutions to mitigate that risk. To learn more about how Warren Averett can help keep your business safe from cybercriminals, ask a member of our team to reach out to you and start the conversation.