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In the small business environment, I often hear someone saying ‘we are using the anti-virus software that came with the computer’ or ‘we bought the anti-virus software from PC World and we can use it on 3 PCs with just one license’This is not the right approach for your business.

The free software you may get with your laptop is NOT free for business users. It is free only for personal or home users. The laptop you purchased may well be a consumer grade laptop. Hence the free software. On top of that, free software doesn’t usually have the technology required to protect against the latest threats in cyberspace. Also, buying one license and using to cover three PCs is not permitted in a business environment. You are in breach of license terms here and you will be hit with hefty fines if you are audited by Business Software Alliance.

Now if you decide that protecting your business data is important, you need to buy a business Antivirus (AV) solution that can protect you against as many threats as possible. How do you select the software that fits your business?

Here are 7 steps you need to take before selecting the right Antivirus software for your business.

  1. First, check what systems you have

Are you using Microsoft Windows or Apple Macbooks or Both? Most Anti-Virus software supports Windows environment. If you are running Apple MacBooks or Linux Operating Systems you will need to double check with the vendor whether they support these.

You will also need to check for is whether it is compatible with your servers. A minority of the software not compatible with the server operating systems. Please check with the software vendor before you make a decision.

2. Does it protect your systems?

Does it have all the protection required for your business? Today’s threats are more advanced and sophisticated. The signature-based Antivirus will not work anymore. Check if the software has application classification, blocking unknown threats, USB Controls and the Web filtering. Download our free checklist so you can compare different Anti-Virus solutions.

How is the vendor protecting businesses against the latest threats? Does it have application whitelisting? USB controls? Web filtering? Is it able to block unknown executable’s?

3. How is your IT setup?

Are your devices all based in one location or spread across different locations? Do you need to manage them all from one central location? How are the sites connected? These things will affect which AV software will work best for you.

Traditionally, AV software servers were set up locally in your office to distribute the updates and manage policies. In 2018, most AV vendors have already moved to Cloud. By using a cloud-based (Software As A Service or SAAS) AV you won’t need a server onsite and also, the management of the endpoints is much easier. Wherever your systems are they will get the software updates and policy updates as long as they are connected to the internet. Whether your systems are in one location or multiple locations I would say the SAAS AV software is the best approach.

Here are some of our recommendations for SAAS AV in no order of priority:

  1. Panda AD360 [we are a partner]
  2. Crowdstrike
  3. SentinelOne
  4. CarbonBlack

4. Check the performance on the PCs?

AV software is usually heavy, making your computers run slower and making you dread the updates which seem to take forever to load, usually when you are in a rush to leave the office! They require lots of resources to run or scan the PC. Be sure to check the performance of the software A good place to start for reviews would be Gartner Peer Insights. Also ask the vendor for a trial to see how it works on your system. Most provide a 30-day free trial.

5. Is the package bundled?

There is software on the market that can offer additional features like USB controls, Web filtering, Email scanning, Patch management, Forensics, remote login, etc…? If you are using emails and PCs then you will need to keep the emails clean and PCs up-to-date. You will require these features if your users are spread across multiple location you may be using a remote login tool to help them.  You may already be using some other tools like Mimecast, Everycloud, WSUS, PDQ Deploy, Logmein and Teamviewer. It may be a good idea to consolidate them. It will save you money and time. Most small businesses don’t usually have a patch management solution and hence this can be a good idea. You will need Patch management to keep you systems up-to-date with the latest updates, patches and hotfixes. A good Patch management solution will let the admin to see all the available patches, pick which patches to apply and what patches to hold.

6. Is after sales support available?

Who is supporting the software once it’s deployed? Is the support included in the price you paid? If you don’t have an internal or external IT team then you might need to get in touch with the vendor’s support team to manage custom policy configurations or troubleshoot any issues. There may be an issue with False positives too. You will need to check if the after sales support is available, whether it is included in the cost and if it’s available 24/7.

7. How much does it cost?

For small businesses most decisions are driven by the cost. So when looking for AV software for your business ask these questions to make sure you are comparing them equally:

  • How much is it costing you? Are there annual subscription costs or extras you have to pay for to make sure you have the protection you need?
  • Are the licenses for the servers different from PCs?
  • Can you benefit from multi-year purchase?
  • Can you get a buyback deal on your existing software?
  • Is there a maintenance or support cost?

After going through these steps and asking these questions you should be able to make a much more informed decision about which AV software is right for your business. And once you have purchased and installed it you’ll be able to sleep better knowing your business is safe.

At TechForce, we only recommend using next-generation AV solutions and want to ensure your business has the best protection against Cyber Crime. To help make it even clearer which AV solution you need for your business, email us at hello@thetechforce.co.uk and we will send you FREE checklist to help you compare them.

I hope the article has helped you get clear on what you need to look for when choosing your AntiVirus software for your business. If you need more information or need further help please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on hello@thetechforce.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1224 516181

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