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Norton vs. McAfee: Which Antivirus software is best for your small business?

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You wouldn’t leave your shop or office door unlocked, and neither should you leave your business PC or Mac unsecured against anti-virus threats and other problems. Norton and McAfee offer extensive options for small business owners, and it’s important you pick the right software package or subscription for your company’s needs. Both companies have made our short list of the best antivirus solutions for small businesses.

A competent antivirus solution is the first line of defense against potential hacks or virus attacks, so you need it to work effectively for you.

Here’s a deep dive into the different options available from McAfee and Norton, and what’s best for your firm.

What to buy for the solo business

Working as a freelancer or a sole proprietor? In that case, a basic antivirus package should be more than comprehensive enough for you. You don’t need to worry about software tools that have remote access or allow for multiple users, and you’re likely to want to keep costs down.

McAfee Total Protection is the company’s best option for sole proprietors. It costs $35 per year for one device. For the price, you get comprehensive antivirus protection backed up by cloud-based threat analysis so that McAfee can spot anything that appears to be acting like a virus or malware. As a preventative measure, it also offers safe web browsing, warning you of risky websites, links, or files before you load them.

Further features include password management facilities, encrypted storage options, and a comprehensive firewall for keeping your network safe and well monitored. However, there’s no VPN service which is a useful extra if you want to remain anonymous throughout your browsing experience, especially if you travel frequently for business.

Norton’s best software for a freelancer or sole trader is Norton 360 Standard.  We’ve discussed it before and it’s a great piece of software, but it’s also more expensive than McAfee Total Protection, and is priced at $50 per year.

For the price, you get comprehensive threat protection and virus monitoring. Norton 360 Standard is able to spot previously known threats as well as spot any patterns that suggest an emerging malware issue. Alongside that is a password manager, webcam access detection, dark web monitoring, and a no-log VPN. The latter is particularly useful, allowing you to browse anonymously wherever you are.

The best option for the sole trader: McAfee Total Protection

If your budget is tight, you can’t go wrong with McAfee Total Protection. It’s inexpensive but has most of the features you could need. Want a VPN bundled in? Well, then it makes sense to upgrade to Norton 360 Standard. An extra $15 a year for a VPN is a bargain compared to a dedicated VPN client.

What to buy for a small business

When dealing with multiple users and multiple devices, it’s worthwhile purchasing a Small Business package. Both McAfee and Norton offer dedicated solutions for a small business with multiple users that require support.

McAfee Small Business Security is $80 for 1-5 users with that price increasing $16 per additional user. The product is essentially McAfee Total Protection spread over multiple devices. It offers comprehensive antivirus protection, cloud-based threat analysis, as well as a firewall for blocking any malicious network access attempts. Its safe web browsing involves a color-coded rating system that alerts your employees of any potentially nefarious website they may be trying to access.

Unlike McAfee Total Protection, it’s possible to access and manage your McAfee Small Business Security settings from one central source via a remote management page, making maintenance easy to conduct. It’s also easy to add new devices to the account via email, as well as locate, lock, or remotely wipe mobile devices from it.

Norton Small Business offers a similar service to McAfee Small Business Security, albeit at a different price. $100 per year gets you access for 5 devices (slightly more than McAfee’s option) but that price rises to $150 for 10 devices, making it lower in cost than its competition.

As before, there’s protection against viruses, spyware, malware, and other attacks. Additionally, there’s firewall functionality which automatically blocks unsafe incoming traffic. Also, its internet protection system keeps an eye out for suspicious links or content with behavioral learning detecting if a file could be dangerous.

Norton Small Business also allows you to easily locate lost or stolen smartphones with it possible for you to wipe them remotely. There’s cloud-based setup and management, too, so that all maintenance can be conducted remotely.

The best option for a small business: Either McAfee Small Business Security for the smallest business and Norton Small Business for larger requirements

Both services are very similar in terms of features, so what should you do? Look to which one is slightly lower in price. If you only require antivirus software for up to 5 users then McAfee Small Business Security is ideal at its low price. Its price rises steadily when dealing with more devices, however, which is where Norton Small Business becomes much more attractive.

What to buy for a growing small business

Advanced small businesses need security software that grows with them. McAfee Endpoint Security and Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud are the respective options from McAfee and Norton.

In both cases, they offer very similar features to previous antivirus software solutions, but they’re designed in a way that makes it easy to deploy them on multiple devices at once. Once installed, management of the users and devices is controlled remotely via a cloud-based setup.

So, what’s the difference here? Again, price, mostly. Both services offer a personalized price scheme depending on what you require. Expect McAfee Endpoint Security to cost about $36 per year per user, with Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud priced at about $28 per year per user.

The best option for a growing small business: Either McAfee Endpoint Security or Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud

This time around, both services are very closely matched. Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud is cheaper up until a certain point before McAfee Endpoint Security turns into the more inexpensive option. If the amount of users and devices you require is low, stick with Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud. Otherwise, switch to McAfee Endpoint Security.

Whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.


McAfee and Norton offer fairly similar products for small businesses. The key to knowing what’s best for your firm is to consider how many users and devices you plan to use antivirus software across. For anyone other than a sole trader, you need a dedicated small business solution. One that offers a plan that grows with you. Both McAfee and Norton offer products with similarly good specifications, with McAfee working out more inexpensive for larger businesses.

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Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen is a technology writer with over 10 years of experience. She primarily writes about the best deals coverage…
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