Antivirus software is likely the best-known type of security software, installed on approximately 76 percent of computers globally. It protects businesses and consumers alike from malware, ransomware, and similar threats. Thanks to this wide usage, there are hundreds of antivirus software options available, which can make choosing one difficult. This guide covers everything you need to know about antivirus software and how to choose the right one for your business.
What is Antivirus Software?
Antivirus software, sometimes called anti-malware, is a type of security tool that both businesses and consumers use to protect their devices from malware. It regularly scans devices, looking for anything that seems out of place or that matches a known threat signature. Once it discovers malware, the system automatically removes it from the device. Advanced virus protection can also block malicious websites and provide firewall protection.
Free vs. Paid Antivirus Software
Most consumers use free antivirus software to protect their devices, but businesses need to pay for their antivirus protection. For one, free antivirus software typically isn’t updated as often as the paid versions, meaning that businesses, which are more at risk for attack, don’t get the level of protection they need. Additionally, many antivirus software vendors don’t license their free versions for business use.
How Does Antivirus Software Work?
Antivirus software works in the background of a device, scanning files and applications for known malware signatures and suspicious file structures. Once it identifies something that it recognizes as malware, the platform will quarantine it until it can delete it from the system.
Some antivirus software scans files as they enter your device, but others will scan programs already on your device. Both options work well, but if you’ve had a device for a while, you should look for software that scans files that you already have on your device since malware could already be present.
Best Antivirus Software
Businesses that need antivirus protection should look at the following platforms, picked for their high user reviews, solid security ratings, and included features.
Avast Business Endpoint Protection
Avast Business Endpoint Protection combines next-generation antivirus (NGAV) software with patch management to identify and remove malware while also fortifying vulnerabilities. The Business Hub gives IT real-time visibility into all of the devices on the network, showing them potential threats and giving them access to comprehensive reports. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning use behavioral clues to identify both known and unknown threats. Additionally, with basic remote control, IT can remotely access a user’s device to troubleshoot technical issues quickly.
There are three pricing tiers for small businesses that include between 11 and 100 users, but there are also solutions for smaller and larger businesses, as well as managed services providers (MSPs).
- Patch management
- 24/5 email, chat, and phone support
- Server protection
- Seven layers of malware protection
- Cloud threat lab analysis
- Central management console
- The system notifies IT any time it detects a threat
- Good threat detection capabilities
- Easy to manage
- Installation can be slow and complicated
- Can sometimes be resource-intensive
Bitdefender Gravityzone Business Security
Bitdefender Gravityzone Business Security offers resource-efficient virus protection software with machine learning. IT gets a single management console where they can track security events and handle any manual work associated with them. Ransomware mitigation technology provides real-time backups of files to keep organizations from having to pay the ransom to get access to their data. Plus, network-based security blocks brute force attack attempts and lateral movements within the network.
Gravityzone pricing depends on the number of devices organizations want to protect and the length of the contract they want to sign. Longer contracts will offer steeper discounts, and there is custom pricing available for businesses that want to protect more than 100 devices.
- Remote installation
- Local and cloud machine learning
- Email security
- SIEM integration
- Risk analytics
- Full-disk encryption
- Easy to use with a user-friendly interface
- Ranks highly in most third-party security tests
- Helps determine weaknesses in a company’s infrastructure
- The cloud dashboard can sometimes be slow to update
- Some users complained about limited third-party integrations
Trend Micro’s OfficeScan
Trend Micro’s OfficeScan offers endpoint protection with NGAV and machine learning to close security gaps in a business’s network. It protects physical endpoints, including Windows PCs and servers, Mac computers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and ATMs, and there’s an add-on available for virtualized endpoint protection. The threat protection includes behavioral analysis and sandboxing to identify unknown threats as well as web reputation checks to block malicious websites.
Pricing is not available on the Trend Micro website, so interested organizations will have to contact them for more information.
- Machine learning and behavioral analysis
- Data loss prevention (DLP)
- Exploit prevention
- On-premises or cloud deployment
- Whitelist checking
- Easy to deploy and manage
- Behavioral analysis quickly terminates suspicious processes
- Doesn’t require a ton of CPU resources
- Computers can sometimes run slowly during the scan
- The interface is not very user-friendly
Panda Endpoint Protection Plus
Panda Endpoint Protection Plus, now a part of WatchGuard, offers virus protection for both known and unknown threats, including phishing and ransomware. It covers Windows systems, Linux, macOS, Android, and virtual environments and provides automatic analysis of these systems. With web filtering, the software protects users from malicious websites and bot attacks.
Pricing for Panda Endpoint Protection Plus depends on the number of users businesses want to protect and the length of the license. Licenses are available for one- and three-year periods, and there are add-on products like encryption and patch management that organizations can add as needed.
- Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android support
- Centralized device control
- File quarantine
- Good detection accuracy
- Easy to use and deploy
- User-friendly interface
- Can take time to configure properly for each organization
- Is sometimes resource-intensive and slows devices down
AVG Antivirus Business Edition
AVG Antivirus Business Edition offers protection against malware, ransomware, and malicious web pages. With protective AI and real-time detection, businesses get protection from both known and unknown attacks. The software also provides a firewall and identity protection. The file shredder securely deletes files, while the File Server Security tool keeps Windows files safe and private.
Pricing depends on the number of devices organizations want to protect and the length of the license. Licenses are available in one-year, two-year, and three-year terms, and longer contracts will have lower price points. Additionally, there are certain price breaks for protecting more devices.
- Free email and phone support
- Web protection
- Identity protection
- Remote access
- Automatic updates
- Ransomware protection
- Isn’t very resource-intensive
- Easy to install and use
- Priced competitively compared to similar tools, especially for smaller businesses
- May not be cost-effective for businesses with hundreds of devices
- Only supports Windows devices
Norton Small Business
Norton Small Business offers antivirus software for PC, Android, and Mac devices, including smartphones and tablets. Users can mix and match licenses, so not all employees have to have the same types of devices to get protection. 24/7 support makes it easy to lock lost or stolen devices remotely at any time and address issues before they lead to downtime. The system is cloud-based and simple to use.
Pricing is based on the number of devices, and the license is good for a full year. Higher discounts will be given to businesses that cover more devices, but it’s probably not cost-effective for enterprises.
- 24/7 support
- Desktop, tablet, laptop, and smartphone protection
- Centralized management console
- Email enrollment
- Cloud backups
- Website filtering
- Effective and easy to use
- Simple installation and deployment
- Scheduled device scans
- Can be difficult to manage multiple device subscriptions
- Sometimes causes devices to run slowly
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud offers cloud-based antivirus and firewall tools with the option to upgrade for patch management and endpoint detection and response (EDR). It includes two mobile licenses per user, allowing coverage for a laptop, smartphone, and tablet or a work phone and a personal phone. With vulnerability scanning, users can identify any patches that they need to install to keep their devices secure. For remote access and control, businesses will have to upgrade their licenses.
There are two pricing tiers that businesses can choose from, and pricing depends on the number of users and the length of the contract. There is also custom pricing available for businesses looking to cover more than 150 users.
- File, web, and email protection
- Vulnerability scanner
- Patch management available
- Ransomware rollback
- Remote intrusion detection
- Solid malware detection
- User-based pricing makes it more cost-effective
- Good ransomware protection
- May automatically erase files that it thinks are contaminated
- May not offer real-time visibility
ESET Endpoint Security
ESET Endpoint Security offers multilayered defense for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices. In addition to virus and ransomware protection, the platform also includes mobile devices management (MDM) for remote access to employee smartphones and tablets. Browser protection keeps users safe from malicious websites, while network attack protection identifies network vulnerabilities before an attacker exploits them.
There are four pricing tiers that businesses can choose from, depending on the features they need. There are also add-on solutions available, including cloud security, EDR, and email protection.
- Centralized management console
- Fileless attack protection
- Behavioral analysis and machine learning
- Ransomware protection
- Advanced memory scanner
- Not very resource-intensive
- Effective at detecting and blocking viruses
- Helpful and responsive support team
- Glitches can sometimes take a while to fix if they don’t directly impact security
- There may be a learning curve
Business Antivirus Software is the Minimum
Antivirus software is a necessity for businesses, and it’s the bare minimum security tool you should have in place. You’ll also need firewall protection, email security, and identity and access management (IAM) software. Depending on the size of your organization, you may also need EDR, security information and event management (SIEM), and other security suites. In order to protect your business from the rising number of cybersecurity threats, start with antivirus software and add more protection as you’re able.
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