The Best Antivirus for Small Business, And Why You Need One, Stat

Sophie Anderson Sophie Anderson The Best Antivirus for Small Business, And Why You Need One, Stat

Keeping your business’ data secure (and unhackable) is a, if not the, most important consideration for any small business. After all, it only takes one hack, leak or breach for your business to look insecure or untrustworthy (at best), and class-action lawsuit ready (at worst).

While many small businesses (wrongly) think that hackers have bigger targets with bigger, richer business, this is a classic mistake. Actually, hackers love to target small businesses…because they’re usually the ones who don’t have strong cybersecurity, and are therefore pretty easy to hack into. After all, why go for the big companies, when you can easily hack the small companies in a fraction of the time?

In fact, according to the 2016 State of SMB Security report, over 50% of SMBs were successfully hacked during 2016. Of these attacks, most were web-based phishing attacks. The report only gets worse from there, stating that 59% of small businesses surveyed had no idea about their employees’ password practices, and that 57% of responding companies said that if their company had a password policy, it wasn’t checking to make sure staff stuck to it.

These figures are alarming, to say the least – but when you consider that low-level phishing attacks are easily preventable – with careful monitoring and security – these statistics become even more confusing…and terrifying.

Especially when you consider the impact of such an attack: just one year after the SMB Security report, Cisco’s 2017 Annual Security Report found that, of the SMBs who suffered a hack, 38% lost 20% of revenue as a result, while 40% of hack victims lost over 20% of their customers. Hacks, breaches and leaks have very real consequences – as the above figures clearly state – and can result in lost revenue, lost customers – and it can even destroy your company.

With such terrifying statistics, it’s crazy to think that a small business owner wouldn’t want to go to the expense of keeping their business secure. Luckily, there’s an instant, affordable solution for every small business out there: installing an antivirus software for business. There are so many on the market that it’s as simple as choosing the one with the right features, buying a subscription and installing it on your business’ devices.

Why You Need An Antivirus Software for Business

Every small business worries about their financial situation from time to time, and if it’s the price of buying a business antivirus that’s preventing you from doing so, know that having the best antivirus for small business (and tailored to your business needs) will bring you invisible ROI time and time again.

Why “invisible”? Because – as the above (terrifying) reports confirm – you will almost certainly end up spending more money in the long run. The best antivirus for small business will prevent you from spending piles of cash on recovering lost revenue, removing malware, buying new hardware and software, contracting IT specialists, recovering your business’ reputation and more if you don’t have a small business antivirus installed. So although you won’t visibly see the ROI, you’re preventing yourself from almost inevitable future high costs later.

Business antivirus software is a quick, cost-effective alternative to a big, expensive in-house IT department. Just like that big, expensive in-house IT department, a small business antivirus won’t protect you from every and any threat, but it will definitely allow you some breathing room against potentially serious, crippling low-level threats – and stop them in their tracks before they can do any damage.

Small Business vs Enterprise – Which Business Antivirus is Best?

I need to add a quick word about antivirus software for business here – while there are many business antivirus solutions, there’s something to be said for the type of antivirus for business you need to consider.

A small business has very different considerations to those of an enterprise. As such, you need to take several things into account when selecting the best business antivirus for small business, and your company’s needs.

Some key things to think about with antivirus software for business use include –

  • Cost: as a small business, you’re on a budget, and antivirus software is available at all price points. As a small business, you might be tempted to go for the cheapest option around (after all, don’t all antivirus for business do the same thing?), but actually doing your research and seeing what you’re getting for your money can save you dividends in the future (remember that invisible ROI mentioned earlier? You can maximize that, just by using the right business antivirus for your needs).
  • The features available: your small business might not work with any highly sensitive data, such as banking information, and if that’s the case it’s unlikely you’ll need a feature-heavy business antivirus. But – if your small business does work with sensitive data – especially other peoples’, or your customers’ – then you should be looking at a business antivirus that has a lot of extra security features. Intego and Comodo, for example – both have a wide range of extra features (including anti-phishing protection).
  • The ease of use: not every member of staff will be the most tech-savvy, so if someone happens to click on a suspicious link, or leave themselves unprotected, you need an antivirus for a business that will prevent any of these situations even happening. In the worst case scenario that malware was detected, it should be automatically quarantined and removed – before it can spread the infection further, or confuse your staff (and therefore waste valuable working time, not to mention – revenue).

Antivirus Software for Small Business: Key Features You Need

Because of the budgetary considerations, you probably don’t need a top-of-the-line, feature-heavy business antivirus. But – when shopping around for your small business antivirus, you should still pay attention and actively look for the following:

Threat Protection

‘Threat’ is a general term here: there are all different types of threats including malware, phishing and ransomware, to name but a few. Each type of ‘threat’ has its own specific features, removal processes and damage control. Your small business won’t necessarily need everything on offer – for example, a solid firewall running at all times is a must-have for pretty much every business, while incoming/outgoing email scanning might not be a relevant feature for every business.

You will need to consider your business’ needs, and then which threats are likely as a result – for example, if you don’t handle corporate data, it’s less likely you’ll need ransomware protection. (If you do need ransomware protection, then I highly recommend AVG – it catches 99% of threats, and has a well-respected ransomware feature!)

Threat Detection and Isolation

Once you’ve decided which threats you need to be protected against, the threat detection and isolation is another key factor in the choice of small business antivirus options on the market.

Does your selected business antivirus have a real-time scanner? Will it slow own your staff’s devices, making it tough for them to work? Does it have a firewall? Does it have internet connection scanning and protection? There are so many protective options to consider, you need to be aware that most of the scanning and protection options protect you in slightly different ways, and just as not all threats are equal, not all scanning and detection features are either.

Another feature to think about it how the business antivirus treats a threat once it’s detected – some will delete it automatically, and some will seclude it in quarantine. While you might be inclined to automatically delete any potential threat to your business’ system, be warned that some antivirus software – and especially business antivirus – like to be extra cautious, leading to some ‘fasle positives’ – programs and files that may seem malicious, but really aren’t. For this reason alone, most small business owners prefer a small business antivirus that is a bit more cautious, isolating all threats in quarantine, for approval and removal later. Some antivirus software allows you to select which files and programs to quarantine – Malwarebytes is an excellent, flexible choice for this.

Platform and Device Compatibility

Maybe you have a policy that staff only use approved devices to handle work-related issues. The chances are, you likely don’t. As such, if your staff answer work email from their phones or other personal devices, you need to make sure your small business antivirus is compatible with all devices OS and browsers. After all, there’s no use buying a seemingly great business antivirus, only to find out it doesn’t actually work with your staff’s favorite browser. For example – NANO is a really great antivirus for business users…except it only runs on Windows devices. A really solid all-rounder (with a lot of extra deep-reaching features) is BullGuard, although it doesn’t include ransomware scanning in any of its plans.

The Bottom Line On Antivirus Business Software

Choosing the best antivirus for business is crucial to keep your business protected. Not only is it a business investment, but the right business antivirus will bring you ROI for years to come while keeping any potential threats at bay. Just make sure you know exactly the type of features you need in a small business antivirus, and try to find one that fits your needs perfectly. There are so many small business antivirus options out there, that you’re sure to find something perfect for your small business needs – we even have a rundown of the best antivirus software to help you choose.

About the Author

Sophie Anderson
Sophie Anderson
Cybersecurity researcher and tech journalist

About the Author

Sophie Anderson has spent the last 10 years working as a software engineer for some of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley. She now works as a cybersecurity consultant and tech journalist, helping everyday netizens understand how to stay safe and protected in an online world.