Nowadays there are an overwhelming amount of antivirus software options to protect your small business. It can be hard to know how to compare them when upgrading your cybersecurity, and it can be tempting to just go with one of the free options available. But a free antivirus software is only going to offer the most basic protection. It likely won’t prevent malicious pop-ups and it is going to use up more CPU resources and RAM memory than a paid software. In addition, cybercrime costs in the U.S. are predicted to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Investing in a robust antivirus isn’t just a smart move, it could be one that saves your business!
Back to the plethora of options, the wonderful thing about having so many options on the market is that you get to choose a customized set of solutions to give your small business the best security possible. Here are the questions you should ask that will help you narrow down your best choices for an antivirus system.
What operating system do you use?
Cybercriminals and hackers have become incredibly savvy in designing sophisticated attacks on specific operating systems. What that means is that your best options for antivirus may change based on whether your small business devices run on Android, Windows, or Mac.
You may employ staff members who access business accounts from personal devices that use a different operating system than your office computers. This can pose a security risk if you choose an antivirus software that doesn’t protect across every device used within your small business. Look for an antivirus software solution compatible with all your business devices.
What does “antivirus” cover?
Ideally, an antivirus software will protect against all viruses. But there are software systems that take it a step further by bundling additional protections to various cyberthreats such as malware, spyware, and phishing scams. A strong antivirus will also include protective measures that scan emails, attachments, and documents, that have increasingly become targets for viruses to sneak in.
Cybersecurity threats can overlap and work together to attack your system, so a product that provides a broad spectrum of antivirus solutions is going to be your best option.
Does the antivirus include proactive protection and threat prevention?
Some antivirus software only deals with issues after they have already occurred. The strongest type of antivirus will actively work to detect and prevent issues before they infect your computers. You should look for an antivirus system that includes reactive file scanning, web browsing protection, threat removal, and complete system scans.
Reactive file scanning compares files to a database of known risks before deciding if they are safe to open. Web browsing protection reviews links and webpages to assess their level of risk. Threat removal will clean up your system and remove any unwanted or malicious threats. And complete system scans will uncover any issues or compromised data that may have snuck in and gone undetected. All four of these security systems can stack onto a basic antivirus service to give you comprehensive cybersecurity protection.
Can the antivirus run without interrupting work flow?
Antivirus software has a reputation for slowing down other software and system updates. A good antivirus will have minimal to no discernible impact on computer performance and user experience. It should run in the background without interrupting your day to day work.
A new challenge with antivirus systems is that some of them are so aggressive that they may identify and remove files that may not actually be threats. The result of this can range from mere frustration to actually hindering your ability to conduct business. A smart antivirus system will be intelligent enough to identify legitimate threats without triggering false positives or, worse, deleting files that you actually need because the antivirus misidentified them.
Does this antivirus have scalable add-ons to protect my growing business?
It is also important to think about what your cybersecurity needs will be as your business grows. Look for an antivirus system that offers additional protective measures that you can add on as needed.
One example is multilayered web browsing protection. If you are a very small business, just yourself and maybe a few employees, this may not be an immediate need. But if you have a large business and multiple locations, then there will be more opportunities for a virus to sneak in. Multi-layered web browsing will give you enhanced protection when you have a large staff accessing the internet. It can also provide enhanced protection for detecting threats in real time. These additional protections can include: proactive blocking for links, webpages, and attachments, secure browsers for financial transactions, threat ranking, and backup services with encryption.
Password managers, VPNs, and at-home wi-fi monitoring are add-on options that can protect your small business from new threats that occur when you have staff working remotely. Whether you choose to move your business to a fully remote model, or you simply want your employees to have the flexibility of working from home as needed, these options will provide robust protection.
If your business has healthcare or legal clients, or you otherwise handle sensitive personal information, you may consider choosing an antivirus that includes online account data leak monitoring. This tool checks your accounts, compares them to known data breaches, and gives you immediate notification if your data has been stolen or compromised.
Is there a centralized solution?
A centralized antivirus solution will give you all of these options and protections, accessible through a single control panel that manages all the devices you want protected. This allows you to run updates just once through the centralized solution, rather than trying to track down and update every individual device when updates or upgrades are needed. You can download a software update to a single server, rather than repeating this step for each individual machine.
Not only is a centralized antivirus solution efficient and timesaving, it can also reduce network traffic and remains a great solution for businesses with limited internet bandwidth.
At Tech Masters, we can take some of the guesswork out of selecting an appropriate antivirus, with our free assessment that offers a 9-point business evaluation. We’ll review crucial areas of your small business to see where your business technology is breaking down, and provide a customized solution to cover all your cybersecurity needs.
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