Antivirus software is a type of endpoint protection that secures individual endpoints by detecting and blocking malicious files. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are just as likely to suffer from a malware attack as any large-scale organization. In fact, because they tend not to have the generous security budget that larger enterprises do, SMBs may seem like easier targets for hackers. Despite this, 1 in 5 of UK- and US-based SMBs don’t use any endpoint security mechanism at all.
On top of this, we live in a world where increasingly more employees are working remotely and using their own devices rather than office computers. This means that powerful endpoint protection has become crucial to keeping an organization’s network safe. Today, most endpoint protection is hosted either entirely or largely in the cloud. This means that solutions can take advantage of advanced machine learning technology to automate analytics, which greatly enhances detection rates. However, as antivirus software has become more sophisticated, so have malware attacks. For this reason, it’s important to know that you’re investing in the best possible protection for your business.
In this article, we’ll explore the top ten antivirus software products designed to protect small businesses against malware threats. For the purpose of these solutions, we consider businesses of less than 100 users to be ‘small’. Each of these offers slightly different features, including varying levels of threat protection, mobile device compatibility and patch management. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.
The Top 10 Antivirus Software For Small Businesses includes
- Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus, AVG Business, Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security, ESET Endpoint Protection, F-Secure, MacAfee Total Protection, Norton Small Business, Sophos Intercept, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security and VIPRE Endpoint Security
Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security
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Customizable AI-powered antivirus that detects malware, phishing scams and zero-day exploits
Bitdefender are a global leader in endpoint protection software, protecting over 500 million systems in 150 countries. Their GravityZone solutions are consistently ranked highly in independent security tests, providing effective protection for SMBs and large enterprises alike. GravityZone Business Security is Bitdefender’s antivirus software designed specifically for small businesses. Admins can use one cloud-based console to manage all workstations and servers, as well as track all security events.
GravityZone Business Security uses machine learning and AI to monitor networks and detect malware, ransomware and zero-day exploits. As with some other solutions on this list, this information comes from the cloud so, if an issue is detected on one system, all others are made aware of it. This results in a much faster response to new threats, allowing Bitdefender to protect against attacks before they’re executed. Bitdefender’s solution consistently has extremely high detection rates with very few false positives in third-party tests, so there’s no need to worry about safe files being blocked and quarantined by the software. The solution also comes equipped with the capability to block remote desktop protocol (RDP) brute force attacks, which hackers use to execute remote logins to Windows PCs. RDP is the most common way of connecting remote desktops to a network, and if the connection is compromised then an attacker can spread malware to other endpoints across the network. Because of this, the RDP attack blocking feature is particularly useful for organizations with employees working from home.
Finally, Bitdefender’s customizable dashboard allows admins to view reports and alerts to help users stay on top of security events. This dashboard can also control employee access to certain websites or applications, which enhances productivity as well as blocking sites that are known for presenting security risks.
Bitdefender’s GravityZone Business Security is a brilliant solution for small organizations looking for fast and effective antivirus software. For slightly larger organizations, users should consider adding the Advanced Threat Security add-on, which includes HyperDetect and sandbox analysis.
Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus
Mobile-compatible cloud-native antivirus for small teams
Avast are a global leader in anti-malware applications, holding the second largest share of the market worldwide. Avast offer complete endpoint and network security solutions for SMBs. Their antivirus solution is 100% cloud-based, which makes it easy to manage from one integrated platform. Avast’s innovative security engine uses machine learning alongside behavioural and signature-based detection to identify and quickly remediate malware threats. They collect intelligence from almost half a billion endpoints, crowdsourcing information about bigger threats before they become public knowledge in order to stay one step ahead of bad actors.
Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus is compatible with any desktop, laptop or server. It’s designed to protect businesses against viruses by sandboxing and testing suspicious content, and its powerful threat detection capabilities block the malware before execution. The software provides further protection through a VPN and built-in firewall, which secure your online identity and prevent adware from tracking your digital footprint. Avast’s solution also includes an Email Shield, which detects and removes phishing emails and spam from user inboxes, and a Data Shredder, which is particularly useful for permanently deleting sensitive information.
Avast’s antivirus software is easy to install, has strong threat detection capabilities and its interface is user-friendly and easy to manage. However, it’s currently not compatible with mobile devices. Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus is an ideal solution for very small teams (five devices or less) and self-employed individuals looking for a strong antivirus software solution to cover desktop devices.
Real-time file and webpage scanning, file sandboxing and file shredding
AVG Technologies, a subsidiary of Avast, offer a line of antivirus software to protect desktops and mobile devices against malware attacks and privacy threats. Known for their personal protection solutions, AVG have extended their offering to provide protection to SMBs. Their Business Edition software is quick to install and deploy across multiple endpoints, and administrators can manage all security components remotely with the help of the AVG Cloud Management Console.
AVG Business secures your network with cloud-based real-time outbreak and AI detection, which protects against the newest known malware threats. This is combined with behavioural tests and sandboxing to detect and eliminate threats quickly. A firewall adds an extra layer of protection against online security threats, and AVG’s Linkscanner checks webpages before users open them, displaying the safety ranking for each page in their search engine results. Additionally, their recently added CyberCapture feature protects against malicious files by sending a copy of any unrecognized downloads to their Threat Lab for analysis.
On top of its network security features, AVG Business includes anti-spyware to protect devices from spy- and adware that track personal information. It also includes a file shredder, which securely deletes files to prevent unwanted recovery. This is especially useful for systems that hold sensitive data.
AVG Business is a powerful antivirus software that works automatically behind the scenes, without distracting users from their work. The solution also comes with free email and phone support and automatic updates. This, along with its remote management system, makes AVG Business a great solution for small business owners managing devices off-site.
ESET Endpoint Protection
Lightweight antivirus protection with powerful anti-phishing capabilities available in 21 languages
ESET are known globally for their effective, lightweight cybersecurity solutions. ESET’s Endpoint Protection offers multi-layered technology and automated cloud-based management. It protects computers, mobile devices, file servers and virtual environments against malware and fileless attacks. Their Endpoint Protection is available as a part of a wider cybersecurity bundle, which also includes file server security.
ESET’s Endpoint Protection combines machine learning technologies and human expertise to detect targeted malware, ransomware and fileless attacks. It does this by monitoring and evaluating all executed apps for malicious content, based on their known behaviors. Its powerful intrusion detection capabilities mean that ESET’s solution has excellent detection rates before, during and after execution. Endpoint Protection also features powerful anti-phishing capabilities to protect users’ mailboxes.
Administrators can manage all of this from one web-based console. This, along with automatic updates, makes ESET’s solution easy to deploy and maintain, with no need for extra hardware.
ESET’s Endpoint Protection is extremely lightweight, and performs as well as any solid anti-malware engine. Their console is available in 21 languages, and ESET offer localized support in 38 languages. This makes their solution ideal for global organizations on the larger side of the SMB spectrum looking for powerful antivirus software that won’t slow their systems.
F-Secure Protection Service for Business
Low-impact, effective antivirus with excellent script-based attack detection and automated patch management
F-Secure are known for their lightweight, low-impact antivirus solutions that always score highly in third-party tests. Their Business Suite is their on-premise solution, but we’re going to focus on their cloud-based antivirus platform, Protection Service for Business (PSB). PSB is built natively on cloud, managed form a single console, and can be deployed instantly from a web browser. It offers powerful AI-driven protection for all devices against malware, ransomware and data breaches.
PSB boasts high detection rates and excellent protection against script-based exploits, which account for 40% of all cyberattacks, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2020 State of Endpoint Security report. Effective anti-phishing capabilities and browsing protection also secure users’ inboxes and browsers, preventing them from clicking on malicious links and visiting dangerous sites. In addition to this, PSB’s automated patch management prevents up to 80% of attacks through the Software Updater. F-Secure’s PSB has limited reporting capabilities, which means that admins don’t receive a full overview of what’s going on behind the scenes. However, the online portal does allow administrators access to settings, quarantine folders, and software updates and scanning tools.
F-Secure’s solution is scalable and can support organizations who have less than 20 connected devices, right up to those with 1,000.
McAfee Total Protection
Unobtrusive anti-malware and anti-phishing with built-in password management
McAfee are known for providing award-winning security solutions for consumers, but their Total Protection products are also designed to protect SMBs. The suite secures over 500 million devices around the world, including PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets. This makes it an ideal solution for small organizations with remote employees, working on their own devices.
McAfee Total Protection offers real-time machine learning-based protection against malware and viruses, as well as a web-based security feature that eliminates web-related files. Total Protection runs in the background and is unobtrusive to end users. This extends to scanning, which starts when nobody is using the device, allowing users to work without interruption. The software is very lightweight, so doesn’t put much of a strain on system resources. Total Protection also includes anti-phishing technology to secure users’ inboxes against malicious emails, as well as a built-in firewall and password management. Finally, it blocks specific behaviors common among malware, which helps eliminate the threat of malware that hasn’t yet been patched.
McAfee’s well-designed, user-friendly interface makes it easy to manage, and its in-the-background scheduled scanning capabilities make it easy to run. Its user support is also very responsive. Although this solution doesn’t offer as many extra features as some of the others on this list, it’s still a strong solution for any small business (up to 10 devices) looking for reliable antivirus software that delivers comprehensive threat protection.
Norton Small Business
User-friendly, prorated protection against malware and zero-day exploits
NortonLifeLock, previously owned by Symantec, are a global leader in cybersecurity technologies, securing the device of almost 50 million consumers worldwide. Norton offer a variety of security packages that specialise in online privacy, identity and device security, and consumer solutions. Norton Small Business, with capacity to protect up to 20 devices, is their antivirus solution for SMBs. This solution is similar to Symantec’s previous SMB-focused solution, Endpoint Protection 14, but with EP14 discontinued, Norton Small Business picks up the slack. The solution is compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs and Macs.
Norton Small Business offers cloud-based setup and device management, which makes it quick to install without an additional tech support. This also allows for an admin to manage the software across a remote team. The software provides extensive security features, including technology to detect and eliminate malware, ransomware and zero-day exploits. It detects and organizes malicious files according to their reputation and behavior, so that they can be blocked more quickly in the future. Norton Small Business also gives the user warnings before downloading potentially malicious files or clicking on suspicious links.
One of the most attractive features of this solution is that it’s easy to deploy the software onto new devices further down the line. This makes Norton Small Business a particularly good antivirus software for smaller businesses with plans to expand.
Sophos Intercept X
Powerful crowdsourced anti-malware with managed threat response and a user-friendly operating console
Sophos offer an expansive suite of endpoint, mobile, network, email, cloud and web security solutions. Sophos’ solutions work in real-time, using AI to predict evolving threats. They are cloud-based and cloud-managed, so that admins can oversee the protection of laptops, servers and public cloud apps from one remote interface. Intercept X is Sophos’ market-leading endpoint protection solution. Previously, Sophos have targeted an majorly SMB audience, but Intercept X’s scalability means that they’re now also a recognized brand in the enterprise market.
Intercept X uses powerful artificial intelligence to detect known and unknown malware, ransomware and other dangerous exploits and remove up to 99% of threats. It then synchronizes the protection across all connected devices so that, if a threat is found on one device, it’s blocked on all of them. Intercept X’s managed threat response analysts determine the potential impact of each threat and take action to neutralize them on your security team’s behalf, saving them precious time and resources. Finally, admins can manage all of their security tools, including firewall and email gateways, in the Sophos Central console.
The use of AI makes Intercept X smarter but also more scalable so that SMBs can leverage the same powerful technology that larger businesses have access to. It works across all desktops, laptops, servers, tablets ad mobile devices, and is compatible with all major operating systems, so this solution really can be leveraged by anyone.
Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security
Easy to deploy file, email and web protection
Trend Micro offer a range of cybersecurity solutions that are founded on three principles: simplicity, safety and trust. With 30 years of experience, they are recognized as being a market leader in endpoint security. Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security is a cloud-based “all-in-one” solution that provides endpoint, web and email protection in one bundle. It’s compatible with desktops, laptops and mobile devices.
Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security leverages a combination of threat protection techniques to close security gaps. These include machine learning, behavioral analysis, application control and good-file check. Because of this, it has a good detection rate of binary and scripted threats, and strong anti-phishing capabilities and exploit detection. However, the solution does miss some types of advanced cloaked attacks. Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security’s automatic updates and 24/7 support make it easy to deploy and just as easy to run. There is very little that the security team have to maintain. Additionally, admins can manage the software online from a remote console.
However, it performs well in detecting known, yet still dangerous, phishing and scripted threats. Additionally, Trend offer a wide range of security solutions, including email and web security, which can be stacked and implemented as an extremely effective security suite.
VIPRE Endpoint Security
Real-time threat intelligence and malware remediation, patch management and browser monitoring tools
VIPRE offer comprehensive, multi-layered email and endpoint security with real-time threat intelligence. Their Endpoint Security solution is aimed largely at desktop and laptop users. The solution features an Endpoint Cloud, DNS and web access control, and an endpoint server that protects against zero-day threats. VIPRE also have a strong email security offering, which make them a good option for small businesses looking for a combined email and endpoint protection platform.
VIPRE’s Endpoint Security sits in their Endpoint Cloud and is powered by advanced machine learning and real-time behavior analysis. This, along with their threat intelligence network, allows the software to detect and remove threats across all connected systems. On top of remediating malware threats, admins can Endpoint Security to monitor internet usage policies and restrict access to potentially dangerous websites. Finally, the endpoint server offers powerful protection against unknown and zero-day threats, along with third-party patch management to secure system vulnerabilities.
Their solution is easy to install so that users can be protected within minutes of purchasing a subscription. After initial deployment, admins can customize settings as needed, with VIPRE’s award-winning (and free) support service right on the end of the phone should they need any help. This no-nonsense security solution is popular amongst SMBs that don’t want to leverage additional tech to get their antivirus up and running. Additionally, scalability and VIRPE’s powerful internet usage monitoring tools make them a popular vendor in the education market, preventing young and vulnerable users from opening malicious content online.