Cybersecurity is something that often goes overlooked for small and medium-sized businesses. Given all of the tasks that need to be accomplished by a small staff of individuals, it's understandable that something falls by the wayside. Unfortunately, cybercriminals know that cyber security is a soft spot in small enterprises, and they specifically target them for several reasons. According to Verizon, 46% of all cyber attacks in the year 2021 were focused on small and medium-sized businesses. Another study revealed that 51% of organizations of this size have no cybersecurity measures! For this reason, you should install small business cyber security software to help protect your organization from emerging cyber threats. It can be difficult enough to stay healthy while running a business of this size, but just imagine the added risk of a data breach.
Criminals, in general, go for the low-hanging fruit, and those that prefer cybercrime are no different. Small businesses are often targeted because they have significantly more assets than a private citizen, but they don't possess the staff that a large enterprise does. Data breaches can compromise sensitive information of your customers, staff, and business partners, the loss of credit card information, and more. In fact, the cost of 95% of small business cyber incidents fell between $800 and $650,000 in 2021. Those numbers should terrify small business owners everywhere. Still, there are some simple steps that you can take to enhance your security posture without damaging your profit margins or significantly increasing your staff or their workload.
Common Small Business Threats
The two most common attacks facing small businesses are social engineering incidents, like phishing, smishing, fishing, and denial of service attacks. Social engineering attacks attempt to trick employees into taking an action that will benefit the criminal by giving them access to your systems, complete control of the operating system of your desktop or mobile devices, or even directly transferring funds to them. DDoS or denial of service attacks are structured attacks that use a network of typically compromised devices over many locations to overwhelm a public-facing server and cause it to shut down, thereby taking down the business's website or other critical network systems.
While they are the most common threats, there are other concerns that you must protect your business from as well. Malware is the use of malicious software to compromise your networks or machines, and ransomware is a malware attack that completely locks you out of your systems and demands that you pay a ransom to restore them. Ransomware is currently one of the fastest-growing cyber threats. Other attacks like direct password compromise through brute force or malware and man-in-the-middle attacks typically using unsecured wi-fi networks are also things that you need to watch out for. We've put together some simple tips to use as best practices and created a list of helpful cybersecurity programs and applications that you can use to help secure your networks and devices without breaking the bank.
Use Strong Passwords
Long passwords or phrases with multiple character types that don't use easily guessed words are the most secure option. You should use different passwords for every account and not mix personal and business accounts. While this may seem like a headache, a simple program like a password manager can suggest strong passwords, secure them using biometric security or multifactor authentication, and apply financial institution-level encryption for that data, typically for free or a nominal fee.
Secure Your WiFi Networks
Implementing one of those strong passwords we just talked about on your wi fi network is a must. An unsecured network leaves you open to a host of attacks made that much more difficult by just setting a password.
Use Antivirus and Cyber Security Software
As a small business owner, this suggestion is one of the most important ones to implement. You likely need the staff to stand up a full cyber security team, and even if you did, they would demand that you take this step anyway. You can shine here as a small business by selecting programs that act as a force multiplier for you and leveraging automation to make up for the lack of subject matter experts on your payroll.
The Best Small Business Cyber Security Software
If you put those few tips into place, you're already worlds ahead of many of your peers, but sorting through what antivirus and cybersecurity solutions to pick can be a headache of its own. We took the time to sift through the chaff and put together a list of the best small-business cybersecurity software. Only you can be sure what is the best for your specific situation, but these programs provide the most bang for your buck.
Norton is a well-known provider of cybersecurity solutions and has been for quite some time. Norton Small Business is optimized for small businesses with under 20 devices. It provides endpoint protection for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices from a cloud-based interface. This feature aids in ease of setup and management for a remote workforce. Norton Small Business has robust security features that can eliminate malware and ransomware and detect and protect from zero-day exploits. It can even categorize potentially malicious files by their behavior and reputation. This small business-specific software from Norton is another quality program in their trusted lineup.
As the name suggests, Malwarebytes is an anti-malware service that offers so much more than that under the same umbrella. With programs for homes and businesses, this software includes antivirus and anti-malware support, advanced threat detection, endpoint security, incident response, endpoint detection and response, and even real-time threat response. Malwarebytes works on Windows and Mac and has endpoint functionality on Android, iOS, and Chromebook mobile devices. It covers a broad spectrum of operating systems and provides a wide range of services in one package.
Snort is a free tool that can be useful for almost every cybersecurity program. It is not one of the package deals we've included elsewhere on this list, but this program is hard to argue against as a free-to-use packet sniffer. It's an open-source program that provides real-time packet analysis, rule violation notification, and logging. When used in conjunction with a quality firewall, Snort can act as an impressive line of defense for the low price of free.
Bitdefender is primarily an anti-malware software. It has extensive, layered ransomware defenses that even include remediation options. They offer various services, including a true file shredder, firewall, web attack prevention, anti-phishing, anti-theft features, and even rescue mode. Bitdefender includes an advanced threat detection package and also conducts real-time data protection. It's available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, and they offer cyber security packages for home, business, providers, and partner levels. They're an outstanding malware protection service but unlikely to provide everything that you need with just one program.
ESET Smart Security works with Windows, Mac, and Android operating systems, and this is one of only a few on our list to include Linux. Data protection through advanced encryption keeps your sensitive info secure even if you lose your device, and their impressive network protections include endpoint security for all connected devices. Smart Security also features parental controls for home networks and devices and is very easy to install and use, even for those with less technological experience. Their console is cloud-based and offered in 21 different languages, and it features mobile device and endpoint management, all from the exact location.
Vipre is an all-inclusive cyber security package that has scalable pricing. This allows you to be very flexible in selecting the services that are the most important to you. Vipre offers antivirus protection, anti-malware services, ransomware security, email encryption, and more. Driven by AI, it assesses threat intelligence and indeed provides advanced endpoint protection. Vipre also includes a VPN and can provide both home and business services. It also has an easy-to-use and understand interface, but it only works with Windows and Mac operating systems.
SolarWinds is the Cadillac plan when it comes to a fully integrated SIEM. Don't know what a SIEM is? Well, if you have an IT security vendor or contractor you're bringing on board, this probably isn't worth the investment. With packages starting at $4,500, SolarWinds isn't cheap. Still, for a high-risk enterprise or someone with in-house cyber security staff, this truly is the top-of-the-line security information and event manager.
It provides continuously updated threat intelligence and real-time threat detection, monitoring, and response options. Comprehensive, integrated reporting tools and extensive logging features are standard. SolarWinds is also cloud-based and scalable.
Kaspersky Lab is familiar to anyone who has worked in the IT space for the last 20 years. They offer several cyber security solutions, but Kaspersky Total Security is their premium package. It includes stellar anti-phishing protection, webcam security features, hacking defense, and more, in addition to its antivirus software. Kaspersky Lab is the single largest global vendor when it comes to endpoint protection solutions, and this software is proof of that. Whether you're tired of spam phishing emails or concerned about spyware and malicious websites, Kaspersky Internet Security is the industry leader in small business cyber security software.
Kaspersky's antivirus software only works on PC, but their Internet Security package offers protection for all devices. Total Security is the best of both worlds. Still, the single biggest complaint regarding all of Kaspersky's programs is that their user interface could be clearer, and the settings could be easier to manage. This is probably only the software to consider if you have a fair understanding of cybersecurity features, but it is one of the best in the field if you can get past that hurdle.
Web Titan is a cyber security offering developed by TitanHQ. It provides malware and spam protection and allows web content control. Web Titan also protects against ransomware and phishing attempts. With the many different services that TitanHQ offers, they are experts in customer support, but Web Titan's biggest downfall is that it needs something in the way of network resource management. This means that no matter how compelling their product is, it will never be an all-encompassing solution for your total cyber security needs, with pricing that can reach almost $2,000 annually for up to 100 users, that leaves a fair amount of ground to cover for other software to protect the rest of your systems.
Emsisoft Anti-malware is a lightweight program that offers a heavyweight impact. A robust virus and malware scanner with anti-phishing and ransomware protections also includes its Behavior Blocker feature. This protects against customized threats and other advanced and emerging cyber-attacks. Emsisoft's program is optimized for server use and even sends an email notification upon detection of a threat. Despite its small footprint, this software's protection punches well above its weight.
You cannot let cyber security fall by the wayside. Implementing some type of small business cyber security software can help protect your organization from cyber threats. At EMA, we specialize in leveling the playing field and giving small businesses a leg up to compete with large organizations across the board. Whether you're looking for small business website design, SEO, or full-service social media management, get in touch today, and let us show you what we can offer for your specific needs.