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Why Your Small Business Needs Cybersecurity Software

Content sponsored in partnership with Avast

Cybersecurity software can help you protect your business from hackers and cyberthreats, many of which could result in irreparable damage.

Your small business is probably not a household name like many larger corporations, so you might not be worried about hackers targeting you. However, a 2012 study showed that 71% of data breaches occurred at companies with no more than 100 employees – and the problem has only gotten worse in the years since.

Cyberattacks aren't just inconveniences – they can be devastating to your company. In fact, they can be so expensive to recover from that many small businesses are forced to close their doors.  

This might sound scary, but you can defend yourself against cyberattacks well in advance. Small business cybersecurity software can stop cyberattacks on your business in their tracks, saving your company invaluable time and money.

How prominent are cyberattacks?

According to a CrowdStrike study, the number of cyberattacks in the first half of 2020 exceeded the number of cyberattacks that occurred in all of 2019. The study found approximately 41,000 cyberattacks between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2020, whereas there were roughly 35,000 cyberattacks throughout 2019.

Also, according to Fintech News, 80% of companies reported an increase in cyberattacks in 2020 from 2019. From the end of February 2020 onward, phishing cyberattacks became 600% more prevalent, and in March 2020, ransomware attacks (which demand the victim pay "ransom" to hackers) became 148% more frequent. The average ransomware payment increased 33% from its 2019 Q4 value to $111,605.

Since these sharp increases in cyberattacks began in February and March 2020, some experts attribute this trend to the onset of widespread remote work during the pandemic. However, phishing and ransomware cyberattacks existed long before COVID-19, and nothing suggests they'll go away anytime soon. If anything, the exponential growth of technology in the 21st century suggests that hackers will only find more ways to launch cyberattacks. You may have felt that hackers are unstoppable if you paid attention to the news last year.

What small businesses should know about cyberattacks

Small business owners like yourself should know that cyberattacks aren't just mysterious, complex incidents that happen to companies nothing like yours. In reality, cyberattacks are quite consequential for small businesses. To best understand why cyberattacks matter, consider the following facts.

1. Small business cyberattacks are common and can be devastating.

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, 29% of small business owners have been phishing scam victims. Additionally, 60% of companies that are attacked close shop within six months of the attack. A Hiscox report found that cyberattacks cost companies $200,000 on average, and an earlier survey found that a cyberattack can cost a small business up to $188,000.

2. The United States ranks first in large cyberattacks.

A study published in July 2020 determined that the U.S. has received a far greater number of significant cyberattacks than any other country – 156 between 2006 and 2020, to be exact. The U.K. had the second-most significant cyberattacks during this period, though its total of 47 is less than one-third of the U.S total.

3. Small business cybersecurity threats are numerous and varied.

While you might think of a hacker as someone who wants to gain enough access to your devices and systems to entirely shut you down, small business cybersecurity threats can initially appear much more innocuous. These are some common threats:

  • Phishing scams. These scams take the form of seemingly legitimate emails and text messages that direct victims to a link where they enter identifying information, company passwords, or something else they would otherwise keep secure.
  • Password theft. Attackers can hack into your database or infiltrate your servers in search of unencrypted passwords, which by definition aren't defended from hacker access.
  • Server attacks. Whether via the "drive-by" server infiltrations described above or DoS (denial of service) attacks that bring your operation to a temporary halt, your server can be turned against you to cripple your business practices.
  • Hardware hacks. In some cases, hackers will leave USB drives that look like normal company property, but actually contain malware, near your devices. That's why you shouldn't use USB drives that you can't confirm are company property.

4. American small businesses are uniquely susceptible to cyberattacks.

While the U.S. is already a hotbed of attacks, American small businesses are particularly prone to cyberattacks for various other reasons:

  • Lack of IT staff. Most small businesses can't afford in-house IT support, and many of those that do have IT staff still lack adequate IT budgets or training.
  • No data backup. Even as cloud services increase in prominence, not all companies are using them. Without the offsite data and document storage these services provide, your company can lose far more information after a cyberattack.
  • Employees who don't know cybersecurity basics. If your employees aren't familiar with phishing scams or don't know when it is and isn't OK to share sensitive information, they could be deceived into providing hackers with direct access.
  • Easier entry points. Small businesses are often cyberattack targets simply because they lack rigid cybersecurity. This is only the start of why cybersecurity software is so important for small businesses.

Why cybersecurity software is essential for small businesses

Cybersecurity software is the only true barrier between your small business and the cyberthreats named above. With cybersecurity software in place, malware and attacks against your company are rapidly detected and stopped. As such, your sensitive business information, processes and systems remain protected. Other cybersecurity solutions regularly assess and update all your outdated and vulnerable software to fortify your cyber-defenses.

Today's most comprehensive cybersecurity solutions do all the above through digital interfaces that even people entirely unfamiliar with cybersecurity can easily use. Avast's many offerings, for example, fully protect your company's entire digital infrastructure, whether you and your team access your systems via laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile device. These are some of Avast's small business cybersecurity products:

Avast Business Antivirus

Avast Business Antivirus protects your systems against cyberattacks around the clock, includes single-screen endpoint management, and prevents breaches with artificial intelligence and behavior-based machine learning. It keeps your data secure, identifies and neutralizes malware, scales with your company, and has a cloud-based, user-friendly interface. Avast Business Antivirus costs $29.59 per device per year.

Avast Business Antivirus Pro

Avast Business Antivirus Pro has been ranked the No. 1 cybersecurity software for small and midsize businesses. It is an enterprise-level solution that neutralizes more complex cybersecurity threats and shields your most important data. It contains all the features of Avast Business Antivirus, with the addition of SharePoint Server Protection and Exchange Server Protection. Avast Business Antivirus Pro costs $37.59 per device per year.

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus is an all-in-one cybersecurity tool that protects your data, your devices and your team. Not only does it include a VPN, but it also neutralizes the most complex cyberthreats that businesses face and safeguards your most crucial data and servers. It contains all the features of Avast Business Antivirus Pro, plus privacy and identity protection that shields your banking information, passwords, and downloads from hackers, even if you're using public Wi-Fi. Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus costs $45.59 per device per year.

Avast Business Patch Management

Avast Business Patch Management identifies your company's most pressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities and rapidly updates all your endpoints. This way, it strengthens the cornerstone of your endpoint security setup and makes your cybersecurity efforts more efficient. It includes these features:

  • Automated patching across thousands of devices
  • Compatibility with third-party applications
  • Remote patching
  • Cloud-based management console
  • Vulnerability identification and resolution

Avast Business Patch Management can be bundled with any other Avast antivirus product for an additional $14.99 per device per year.

At yearly rates compatible with small business budgets, Avast can give your company user-friendly, automated defenses against cyberattacks while protecting your information, servers and people. For especially thorough small business cybersecurity, visit the Avast Business Endpoint Protection page to learn how you can combine Avast Business Antivirus, Pro or Pro Plus with Avast Business Patch Management – think of it as the full cybersecurity suite. With Avast Business Endpoint Protection in place, you're far less likely to become one of the many small businesses that fall victim to cyberattacks.

Click here to get started and prepare your company for all kinds of cyberattacks. Although you might not have experienced the worst-case scenario yet, prevention starts now.

Image Credit: utah778 / Getty Images