Businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to cyber threats ranging from ransomware to trojans and phishing attacks. While larger companies may withstand damage, any financial impact on small businesses could deal a fatal blow.
Many safeguards exist, and the most basic (and often cheapest) solution is to use antivirus software. These are now also offered as part of more comprehensive Internet security solutions, including other features such as secure cloud storage and Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
Because of the range of potential threats, I seriously recommend that small business owners adopt more comprehensive products. Given the increasing breadth of possible attacks, using antivirus software alone would be like building a steel front gate and ignoring the rest of the compound.
Here are some of our top recommendations.
1. Norton 360 Deluxe
Norton isn’t an unfamiliar name to most since it has a long and somewhat dubious reputation as a cybersecurity company. In recent years it’s cleaned up its act somewhat and now presents a solid product offering suitable for broad adoption.
Although Norton has an enterprise range of solutions, small businesses can consider its Norton 360 solution. It offers real-time threat prevention and includes a password manager, Cloud backup storage, and access to a VPN.
Norton 360 is available in various packages, but 360 Deluxe is ideal for businesses. It omits the parental controls found on more expensive versions while covering up to five devices per license – if you need more, simply purchase another license.
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- Recognized quality of protection
- Includes SecureVPN service
- Cloud backup storage space
- Difficult to remove from systems
- Advanced settings may be difficult to master
2. Surfshark Antivirus
Some may think it’s a little strange to see a prominent Virtual Private Network (VPN) brand on this list. However, the fact is that many VPNs are expanding towards total cybersecurity. Surfshark Antivirus is one of these all-in products.
For a single price of around $2.49/mo you get the protection of a VPN, antivirus, search privacy, and data leak alerts. That just about covers everything at the moment. Yet at the rate Surfshark has been moving forward, I’m sure they’ll add more features soon.
There are both pros and cons to this package. The most advantageous is naturally Surfshark’s expertise in data security and privacy. While they’re slightly new as an antivirus service, doubtless their track record so far gives some assurance.
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- Stong reputation in data privacy and security
- Multiple value-added features
- Unlimited device coverage
- Daily virus database updates
- Scan 5 devices at once
- Limited track record in antivirus
- Higher cost than most Internet security solutions
Price: Free (premium versions available)
If you’re running a small business and the budget is ultra-tight, consider going for a free antivirus solution rather than none at all. Avast is a Czech company that has been famed for offering users free protection since 1988.
Unfortunately, in 2020, the company got itself embroiled in a scandal where it sold user data through a subsidiary. It has since moved on, though, and the product itself remains a solid choice for virus protection.
It’s excellent at first-level defense and doesn’t make bombastic claims as to the hundreds of things it can do. Aside from virus protection, it also actively monitors applications on devices and scans Wi-Fi channels for intrusion.
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- It’s completely free!
- Lightweight and fast
- Includes Wi-Fi intrusion detection
- Constantly bugs you to upgrade
- Single-device only
4. Kaspersky Internet Security
The Kaspersky brand gained a bit of bad rep in the U.S. due to the federal government’s aversion to many foreign brands under the Trump administration. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t concern you unless you’re doing business with any government agencies.
Kaspersky Internet Security has been highly rated for the capability of its protection engine and provides real-time threat prevention as well. Security threats are automatically blocked and, if found on your system, immediately isolated.
Aside from core features, this software reaches far, protecting Wi-Fi, including privacy tools, and even includes a VPN service. For small business use, you can choose to cover between three to five devices for each license – at increasing cost.
Pros of Kaspersky
- Strong threat prevention track record
- Includes online payment protection
- Secure vault access
Cons of Kaspersky
- VPN use limited to 200MB
- Limited availability for Apple systems
5. AVG Internet Security 2022
AVG was acquired by avast a few years ago and now sits under the same umbrella group. However, it retains the distinct AVG branding that should be comfortable to many. While AVG does have a free antivirus solution, you should consider AVG Internet Security 2021 instead.
AVG Internet Security has improved steadily over the years in protection and performance while retaining a very familiar user interface. It isn’t as complex to master as Norton 360 – but the simplicity can be a con if you’d prefer more control instead.
You can get this Internet security suite for much less than what top brands in the market charge. For SOHOs, a single-user license is available. If you need more, simply get the 10-device pack, and it should be able to cover most small offices.
- Cheaper than many top competitors
- Malicious browser add-on removal tool
- Protects Wi-Fi connections
- Tainted by Avast group privacy violations
- Slow device scans
6. ESET Internet Security
ESET is a Czechoslovakia-based cybersecurity solutions provider founded back in 1992. The company has been surprisingly successful, surging ahead of more established brands like McAfee, Trend Micro, and others.
Part of the reason for their success has been a glowing record in anti-malware lab tests they’ve undergone – most passing with flying colours. Further, they’ve shed an early-day complicated user interface and become much more user-friendly now.
Like most other Internet security suites for home or small office users, you can get ESET to cover between one to ten devices. However, ESET offers a more granular choice since you can buy the license to cover the exact number of devices you need to secure.
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- Secures online payments
- File encryption
- Password manager
- More expensive than most brands
- Slightly annoying pop-up notifications
7. Bitdefender Small Office Security 2021
Bitdefender is another cybersecurity company originating from a part of Europe. Founded in 2001, the company has clawed its way to a strong position and works closely with bodies including VMware, Microsoft, and the Linux Foundation.
Their impressive product lineup includes a suite specifically for small office users. It offers much of the usual – antivirus and such – but also has office-specific features. For example, protection against video call leaks, data breaches, and even network defense.
The best part about the Bitdefender Small Office Security suite is licensing. It’s the only one on this list that protects up to 20 devices under a single license. That makes it convenient to manage, even if not cheaper than competitors.
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- Network threat prevention
- Automatically assess for vulnerabilities
- Builds a rescue environment for recovery
- Cloud management center challenging to handle
- Relatively expensive
8. Malwarebytes Premium
Malwarebytes is a bit of an odd duck where antivirus is concerned. I first came across this brand many years ago when Malware was just becoming a more common thing. Today it’s emerged as a comprehensive Internet security all-rounder.
There’s a free version of their virus scanner, but limited features make that unsuitable for office use. The Premium version is comprehensive without needing you to pay extra for a VPN (I recommend you purchase that separately).
Confidence in their malware-removing skills allows me to recommend them – if this is your key concern. For antivirus defense, they’re slightly untested. The complete suite includes protection from malware, ransomware, web attacks, and exploit.
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- Comprehensive threat reporting
- Identity defense system
- Few annoying interruption notifications
- Untested antivirus reputation
- Relatively expensive
9. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
Webroot is another relatively obscure anti-virus solution that has charged forward over the years. It today commands a larger market share than older names like McAfee or even Bitdefender. There are good reasons for this, of course.
This antivirus (it’s a complete solution but retains the name) software has special tools you won’t find elsewhere. For example, the SafeStart Sandbox, which it uses to isolate and test suspicious files.
Everything about webroot is highly secure – even its tools. The included password manager is safeguarded by two-factor authentication, but more importantly, everything is wrapped up in an easy-to-use interface.
- File isolation for suspicious file testing
- Strong password manager included
- Fast scanning times
- Covers a maximum of 3 devices per license
- WiFiI security costs extra
Final Thoughts: Personal versus Office Antivirus Solutions
You’ll notice that most of the products I’ve covered in this list are for the home user. These are more suitable for small office use since many will protect between five to ten devices. If you need more, you can always buy another license.
Most small office solutions will cost more, but the bigger problem is they can be incredibly complex to manage. Instead of dealing with that, it’s better to start with something like the ones above and consider moving to small office solutions when your business grows larger.
For those struggling between Norton and Kaspersky, rest assured there are many other options available – many of which are very recognized and highly capable. I’ve used many brands over the years and found most to be good at what they do, so long as you don’t do crazy things online.
If you’re curious to know what I use, I cover many devices with a mix of Norton Deluxe for some; and Avast Free and SurfShark for others.