Whether your company is a global corporation or a small single-owner enterprise, network security is a serious concern in the digital age. Although we’ve all seen major corporate data breaches making the news, hackers are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses, which are seen by many cybercriminals as ripe targets for the theft of customers’ personal credentials, financial accounts, and other sensitive information. Hackers have also resorted to taking control of networks to lock them down altogether, effectively holding companies hostage until a ransom is paid.
These data thieves see smaller businesses as easy pickings for good reasons: Too many companies use substandard antivirus software (or worse yet, none at all) and even more don’t set up any sort of firewall, thus leaving their networks open for hackers. We understand this sort of security technology can seem complicated to the average user, so it’s only natural that some business owners are hesitant to bother with it, but remember that a corporate network is only as safe as the office’s least-security-conscious employee. Without some sort of sound security solution, your company is eventually going to attract hackers like ants to a picnic.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on solid antivirus and firewall software — an important consideration for small and medium-sized businesses that might not have a big budget for this sort of thing. For those that still need protection, an up-to-date antivirus solution will detect and prevent many of the tactics and attacks that cybercriminals employ today, thwarting their efforts before they cause problems. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we’ve compiled a list of five outstanding antivirus software suites that can help to keep your network a bit safer as your company grows.
McAfee Endpoint Security is a popular security solution for small businesses. And with a free trial before you need to plunk down cash, it’s a great place to start in your search for a solution.
McAfee Endpoint Security includes the basics you’d want from a solution, including antivirus protection and a built-in firewall. It also uses machine learning to identify code that might be trying to cause problems solely by the way it’s acting and appearing on your network. And if you want to stop zero-day malware or malicious software that hasn’t yet been patched, you can contain it by blocking certain types of behaviors common in malware.
McAfee Endpoint security is an ideal solution for most individuals or companies, from the sole proprietor to a mid-sized company. Prices will vary depending on the number of licenses you need and for how many years you sign up for a subscription.
BitDefender GravityZone Business Security is another handy solution that comes with a free trial, so you can see what you’d be getting before you decide to spend cash.
The app is designed to protect you from a variety of threats, including malware, phishing scams, ransomware, and even zero-day exploits. You’ll also find the ability to grant or deny access to websites and applications to limit the chances of those services causing problems.
Like some other solutions in this roundup, you’ll find that BitDefender’s GravityZone Business Security uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to continuously monitor your network and find possible problems. And since much of that intelligence comes from the cloud, whenever it finds issues elsewhere, it informs its broader network to look out for similar problems. That all results in a faster response to new threats.
BitDefender’s software, which is designed for small and medium-sized business, is available with a free trial. After that, if you like what you see, you’ll pay $240 per year for up to three devices.
Norton Security Standard is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to secure a single PC, Mac, or mobile device and doesn’t necessarily need all of the bells and whistles that would come with the higher-end options, like Norton Security Deluxe or Norton Security Premium.
Still, Norton’s Security Standard gets the job done on many fronts.
For one, you can use the software to protect against a rash of threats, including ransomware, viruses, spyware, and malware. And if you go online, the software will keep your financial and private information, like credentials, available from the prying eyes of hackers.
There’s a firewall baked into Norton Security Standard and you have full access to Norton security experts, who will walk you through solutions to problems when they might occur. In fact, Norton is so sure that its service works that if a Norton expert can’t keep your device free from malware, you’ll get a free refund.
Norton Security Standard is regularly available for $80 per device, per year. For the first year, you can take advantage of an introductory price of $50. It’s not really a corporate solution, so it wouldn’t be best for SMBs. It would, however, be an ideal solution for freelancers and other sole proprietors.
If you’re a fan of Symantec’s products but need something a little more sophisticated than Norton Security Standard, you might want to opt for Symantec’s Endpoint Protection 14.
Symantec’s software is used on more than 175 million endpoints around the world and takes on a variety of threats you might face, including ransomware, malware, and even zero-day exploits that promise to wreak havoc on your machines before anyone has caught up with a patch.
When targeting phishers who are trying to steal your credentials, Symantec Endpoint Protection 14 doesn’t just stop the attack. Instead, it lures the attackers into what the company calls a “decoy minefield” where they can reveal their tactics before they’re stopped. The move, according to Symantec, gives the security company important intel to be used in future threats.
Aside from that, Symantec’s Endpoint Protection 14 has a variety of other features to reduce the workload on your network and keep everything running smoothly.
Symantec Endpoint Protection 14 is available as a free trial. After that trial is up, you can get it for $39 per license per year. It’s ideally suited for SMBs and companies that need advanced protection to safeguard their assets.
Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus is another solution ideal for the small business that looks to the cloud and a broad network of endpoints to maximize security. In fact, according to Avast, its security intelligence is based on information it collects from 400 million endpoints.
Armed with that data, Avast’s software can be used on Macs, PCs, and servers. According to the vendor, it’s best for smaller companies that need it for four devices or less. If you need something a bit more powerful, you can opt for the company’s antivirus connected to its Cloud Management Console. That’s designed for five devices or more.
Avast’s solution is designed to protect your computer against viruses, of course, but it can also protect you with its built-in firewall. There’s also a Behavior Shield, Web Shield, and Email Shield built-in to protect you from everything, from malicious programs to suspicious emails. And if Avast finds a file that looks suspicious but can’t quite figure out if it is, it will send it off to its Threat Lab to be analyzed.
One other tidbit: the software comes with a Software Defender feature for keeping your apps updated, as well as a Data Shredder to let you permanently delete files you don’t want to recover.
Avast’s Business Antivirus Pro Plus comes with a 30-day free trial. If you like it, you can keep it for $40 per device, per year.
If you’re looking for personal protection at the lowest cost possible, we’ve also found the best free antivirus software to help you out.
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