Are you trying to choose antivirus software for your business? We're here to help you find the one that's right for you. Whereas some security solutions are appropriate for larger businesses, we found three that we think are best for small businesses' needs.
What is antivirus software?
Antivirus software's first job is to protect your computers from malware, but it does much more than that. Small business packages also help protect all aspects of your mobile devices, tablets, servers, email and Macs. Without IT experience, you can manage your security using one management console. If you choose an online version, you can manage your security from anywhere.
Benefits of business antivirus software
- Centralized management console
- Protection for all devices
- No experience required
- Protects files and email
- Provides internet security
- Anti-theft security for mobile and laptops
The software we looked at is specifically intended for small businesses, and all score high in third-party anti-malware tests. Some versions require an upgrade for email protection, but most include mobile licenses for free. All of our picks charge by the number of seats per year, with discounts for multiyear purchases.
How we evaluated best antivirus software for business
Business.com (BDC), a sister site of Business News Daily, has been testing antivirus software since 2003, and this author has been reviewing security software since 2005. We spoke with the current team managing BDC security reviews to learn about industry trends and the special needs of small businesses without an IT department.
The reviewers tested the management console for ease of use and considered third-party tests as a benchmark for effectiveness against malware. They also looked at what types of security is included and what devices are protected. Each security review includes up to 80 hours of testing and research. The management console was also tested by inexperienced users who judge the likelihood of small business owners figuring out the software on their own.
After conducting our own research and interviewing BDC reviewers, we found three of the best antivirus software products for small businesses. These three products score high on all tests, provide total security for all devices and are simple to use. All offer downloadable software versions as well as subscription-based online versions. Here are our top three picks.
Secures 5 to 25 endpoints, mobile security, password manager, protects Windows and Macs, management consoleCredit: Kaspersky
Kaspersky is well-known for its antivirus software and usually scores higher than most in third-party tests for protection. This version is specifically designed to protect all types of small business devices including file servers, Macs and Android phones. It even includes a password manager, extra security for banking transactions, keylogger protection, data encryption and online backup. Security features can be centrally managed easily by a small business owner. The smallest package is $149.99 per year and includes five users, one file server, five mobile licenses and five password managers. License packages are available for up to 25 users.
In terms of basic security, Kaspersky small office scored 100 percent by AV-Tests in malware protection and detection in its most recent round of tests. It also earned the VB100 by the Virus Bulletin. This security company protects nearly 300,000 corporate clients and 400 million users in more than 200 countries. This small business version can help you protect your devices and business data with a two-way firewall, monitoring of targeted applications, behavior analysis technologies, whitelisting, mobile data encryption, mobile call blocking, mobile data wiping, spam blocking and more. Go here to read a full review of Kaspersky Small Office Security on Business.com.
Secures 3 to 50 endpoints, device control, centralized remote management, manages user roles, web filteringCredit: Bitdefender
Bitdefender is simple to use and makes it so you don't have to have a full-time IT person to secure your small business computers. The company reports that its security software can detect 99 percent of unknown threats and that it will not negatively affect the performance of your devices. Currently it protects more than 500 million machines in more than 100 countries. It uses behavioral identification technologies to identify unknown and potential threats to block problems in real time as malware emerges. Similar to Kaspersky, business packages start at $149.96 for five units for one year. And like Kaspersky, it protects both Windows-based PCs, Windows servers and Mac computers. It doesn't come with mobile phone protection but it will scan connected drives.
In the last AV-Test round Bitdefender scored 100 percent in protection and detection of malware, and it passed the Virus Bulletin test for the past two years. To help keep your business safe, you can manage the security via a management console. You can configure a two-way firewall with intrusion protection, block dangerous web pages, restrict the transmission of sensitive files, assign security policies to groups and secure remote laptops. It will even remove other competing security software. If you have questions, you can contact Bitdefender for consultations. Go here to read a full review of Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security on Business.com.
Secures two to 100 endpoints, advanced ransomware protection, online or software options available, centralized management.Credit: Trend Micro
Trend Micro, one of the few internet security companies founded in the U.S., protects PCs, laptops, Macs, mobile devices and servers. It now generates about a billion dollars in revenue per year with customers across the globe. It covers about 30 percent of the corporate security market and offers two Worry-Free versions for small businesses that can be purchased as software or as an online service. The Advanced version also protects from spam and email-delivered malware. Trend Micro is pricier than Bitdefender and Kaspersky: Five licenses start at $188.75, but each license comes with two mobile devices licenses so you can protect up to three devices per person.
It also received 100 percent scores from AV-Test, but was not tested in the last round by Virus Bulletin. From Trend Micro's management console, you can control a number of security issues; for example, you can block nefarious web pages, spam and sharing of sensitive files, and you can also scan connected drives. Online threats are kept online and blocked by Trend Micro from your network. It features "enhanced" ransomware protection. Ransomware is particularly a problem for small businesses that may not have adequate security and likely no professional security team to help combat it. Ransomware blocks access to files or your system, or even your website. Many small business owners end up paying the ransom to have their control returned. Trend Micro employs technologies that attempt to block the malware used by cybercriminals to access your network. Go here to read a full review of Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security on Business.com.
For more information about how to protect your business devices, visit Business News Daily's cybersecurity guide for small businesses.