The joy of B.Y.O device usage in the workplace – and the extensive connectivity and range of devices that accompany – is all positive… until it’s not.
Considering how the average user simply assumes data protection when adding or integrating a protocol, a cloud facility, or devices, corporate security has remained remarkably tight. Granted, there has been an increase in broad criminal activity online, but when looking at the figures, the successful strike rate is still low.
In part, this is because antivirus and other tools have evolved enough to run just ahead of the game, regardless of the enhanced connectivity and diversity of inputs globally (get ready to times that by a million for the unfolding IoT). Another factor is increasing awareness of online security－the bigger the company, the higher the awareness, by and large.
Reputable agents like IT support outfit EC-MSP make patches and best practices – as well as important updates – available to their clients as a standard courtesy. It’s vital for your security to remain as current as possible, and larger companies have dedicated IT departments that contain someone who will do just that.
Unfortunately, most small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) don’t have that luxury, with an increasingly large proportion of SMEs falling prey to first time cyber-attacks each year. It’s not easy to make patching your business’ security your prime focus when you’re the boss and doing everything yourself.
The antivirus software community can still slap themselves on the back a little－today’s online security is dynamite in comparison to the simple days of yore－and most take the onus of updating out of (busy) users’ hands. Invariably, successful hacks come on the back of poor user behaviour, not the failure of top end protection.
Here are seven great choices for phone and PC security; all are packages that are highly unlikely to allow any meaningful or successful attack via mobile or office machines. All can provide top end security, so feel free to pick and choose your preferred option.
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud
A name now familiar to millions, Kaspersky is highly scalable and good for common OS options, including Android. Features that make this option stand out include cloud discovery, mobile support, and vulnerability monitoring. Frequent complaints about the price can be found in consumer reviews, but it’s still comparable. That the app is cloud-scalable reflects Kaspersky’s focus on SMEs, and it comes with mobile support and remote management, as well as a 30-day free trial period.
Some of Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud main features include:
- comprehensive network attack defence
- email, web, and file protection
- a solid firewall
- exploit and ransomware prevention, and
- vulnerability monitoring
Just to name a few.
It also allows monitoring users’ social media networking, messaging, and file sharing. This feature is intended for security flags rather than an Orwellian desire for control, but it does help with identifying who did an honest day’s work on any given day.
A clean and easy to use dashboard has gone a long way towards increasing Kaspersky’s current popularity, and from there you can control password rules, camera use, and even detect compromised devices.
Furthermore, you can remotely lock or entirely remove data from lost or stolen devices, alongside the usual filtering of unwelcome messages or calls－mighty handy in our mobile era. On that point, two licenses are issued per user, enabling a phone and tablet per staff member, which is often sufficient, even for larger corporates.
Overall, a great choice from a company that’s evolved into the modern cyber battleground while still remaining simple yet comprehensive for users.
Avast Business Antivirus Pro
Voted the most comprehensive antivirus by many, don’t be put off by your previous trials of their free offerings. Curiously, the free version often fails to pick up worms, trojans, and some other more ubiquitous malware files, but the pro version is a different story – and extremely potent.
Avast Business Antivirus Pro is a good choice for Mac, Windows, and Windows Server users. There is a significant difference between the performance of the free versions and this business pro package.
For example, this pro version includes:
- a shredder
- a no-nonsense sandbox
- an inbuilt rescue disk (standard with the pro version)
- protection for Exchange and SharePoint servers, and
- automatic updates (protection is always current and live)
Overall, Avast Business Antivirus Pro boasts super web filtering capacities, but avoid toying with the extensively customisable spam filter; otherwise, it can allow junk to land in your inbox.
Their network firewall, web shield, and phishing email protection will keep you safe online, letting you know that all endpoints are secured. A 30-day trial is usually on offer too, so that you can familiarise yourself and give it a whirl.
Critically, their support and overall company ethos is good－replies are swift－but there’s consumer complaints around constant ‘pop ups’ of payment requests and warnings that you’re not covered (when you are). Unfortunately, this is similar to McAfee－left off this list precisely because of too many negative reviews about their approach, not their products.
Avast is still on the right side of the fence, but since 2016 they’ve changed their behaviour and now manifest many of the frustratingly bothersome pop-up and crossed-wire behaviours of the antivirus fraternity as a whole. Still, it features great functionality and enterprise-level protection that will serve any business well.
Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security
While a good for Windows, Mac, and Windows Server users just like Avast, Bitdefender GravityZone is also great for a host of other OS options. Additionally, you’re unlikely to have installation issues no matter what OS you’re running on.
This app is easy to use, although it’s fairly technical in approach; anyone not current on computing (at least on layman’s terms) will be intimidated by it. The company has made a pitch out of machine learning (ML) components, which is good, but that’s also where their Proprietary Process Inspector starts to overwhelm new users.
That said, this antivirus option provides exceptional malware flagging and removal, and its heuristic understanding is impressive. Their firewall, web advisor, URL filtering, and anti-malware features are automatic, but open to customising by users.
A range of features geared specifically for a busy company is on offer with this package, notably:
- auto-updates across all your Windows or selected OS devices (not just the device searching for updates)
- local full disk encryption
- broad protection against web threats
- process monitoring and blocking suspicious activity
- endpoint risk analytics, and
- app and device control
There’s no free trial, but a 30-day guaranteed satisfaction refund is available.
Overall, Bitdefender is an excellent choice, although most users should ‘keep it simple’ and not attempt extensive customisation of this app. Bitdefender has been around since 2001, and its current pro version is the result of decades of refinement.
Sophos Endpoint Protection Advanced is rising in popularity on the back of its user-friendly, solid protection. Another antivirus incorporating AI, it’s a little heavy on resources but takes a visibly predictive approach to security with its Intercept X technology, rather than a reactive one.
Webroot Business Endpoint Protection is light on resources and provides quiet but highly effective protection, its soft footprint belying its potency. With plenty of advanced features available – including a truly synchronous outbound firewall that compliments the Windows firewall without compromise of any kind – this option will protect against fileless or file-based script attacks, while also preventing malicious behaviours in PowerShell or Java.
The enterprise-level antivirus fraternity plays a competitive and impressive game, and any one of the options listed here will provide cutting-edge protection for small to very large companies.
Antivirus options are worth trialing whenever you can get a 30-day free trial, as it truly comes down to personal preference when all available options provide almost the same level of security for connected devices.
Protecting Your Business PCs and Phones
All of the choices listed above are sophisticated and can competently cope with the modern online business environment. However, how they impart their sophistication – how technically or simply they present to users – makes all the difference, along with support levels.