It’s no secret that cybercrime and data breaches are on the rise. As technology continues to evolve and more and more people plug into the digital world, the number of cyber attacks is increasing, and the need for antivirus software is greater than ever. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated” on both private and public networks. In 2017, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in the number of cyber victims reported in the United States and had a total loss of $36,319,408 due to attacks.
As a small business owner, you may be thinking, “My company is small – why would we waste the money on antivirus software if we won’t be targeted?” Unfortunately, you will be targeted. In 2018, the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report noted that 58 percent of security incident victims were small businesses. While that number is a bit scary, there are steps you can take to help protect your small business from cyber threats. We’ll walk you through a rundown of what antivirus software is, why you need it, and what will work best for your business.
WHAT IS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE?
The first big question you may be asking yourself is, “What is antivirus software?”
To put it simply, it’s software that is designed to detect, prevent, and remove viruses and malware from your computer or computer network. Nowadays, antivirus technology also will proactively protect you from a wide variety of malicious software intended to harm your computer systems. Any time you download something from the internet, open an email attachment, or even visit a website, your computer is vulnerable to becoming infected with malware. Antivirus software is designed as a layer of defense to help catch these security risks or find ones you did not know existed.
Unfortunately, having antivirus software installed does not mean you are completely safe. Think of cybersecurity in terms of playing defense on a football team—you don’t just have one line of defense (or in this case, security) on your team. You also have other people, like the linebacker or tackle positions, to keep the ball (or virus) from reaching the goal.
Since antivirus software only protects against known or predictable threats, it cannot always protect from human error. It’s important that you, as a user or small business owner, take the active steps in educating yourself and your team on safe internet and computer security practices.
WHY IS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE NECESSARY?
As we already mentioned, viruses are not the only threat when it comes to cybersecurity. From Trojans to keyloggers, malicious software is lurking around every corner of the internet. It’s one of the reasons that exercising caution is always the best method of defense and will help you to avoid malware that even your antivirus software may not pick up.
A common misconception is that PC users are the only people that need antivirus software. While Mac and Android devices do not see as many attacks, if your small business only uses Mac computers, you still need to practice good cybersecurity. On the positive side, as technology has improved, so has PC security—Windows 10 now comes with Windows Firewall and Windows Defender as basic security measures to protect your computer.
So is antivirus necessary to prevent against all of these threats? Some may argue “no,” but antivirus software is a necessary player on your security defense team. It’s not going to solve all of your problems, and threats can still get through, but it’s a step in the right direction. If your small business doesn’t have the budget for a big IT department, antivirus software will at least help to protect you from the most common threats to your business.
WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS ANTIVIRUS?
Now that you understand the importance of having antivirus software, you’re probably wondering which one to choose. There are many options out there, both free and paid, but we’ll walk you through some of the best antivirus software for small businesses and which one may be right for you.
Free vs. Paid Antivirus Software
Finding the best antivirus software for your business can be daunting, and this raises many questions. Is free software good enough to protect your business? What’s the best business antivirus software for your company? Will paying money for software help better protect your business? These are all valid questions, but there is no straightforward answer—it all comes down to what kind of protection your company needs.
For example, if you own a small business and only have one or two computers with sensitive content on them, utilizing free software and educating staff on smart security procedures may be the answer for you. Programs such as Windows Defender, Avast!, AVG, or Malwarebytes, are good examples of free software that can be used for small businesses or your personal computer. Just be aware that some of the free programs are only licensed for personal use.
On the other hand, if you work with dozens of clients and multiple computers with highly sensitive or financial information, you will want to consider paying for the extra features that come with certain antivirus programs. Having things like spam filters, advanced firewalls, and more detailed scanning may help keep your business more secure. Most of these programs also have free trials so you can always test out which ones you prefer before making a purchase. A few popular choices include, McAfee, BitDefender, Norton, or Symantec and are some of the best PC antivirus programs out there.
The main difference in free versus paid software is that you’re going to get different types of features and security depending on the program that you go with. Do research on each one and see what will work best for you. Just remember that no matter what you choose, any software is better than none.
ARE YOU READY FOR IMPROVED INTERNET SECURITY?
At the end of the day, the best antivirus for your business is the one you don’t have to worry about. If you’re still not sure what to do about antivirus software and internet security, consider working with an IT service provider like Webcare Global Solution.
(This article was adapted from its author)