The first advantage of internet security for small business over a group of individual internet security licenses is that these suites include the ability to manage the software centrally from one PC or server. This means that you do not have to depend on your employees to keep the security on your company PCs up to date, and you'll know right away if someone attempts to bypass your internet security. Many business internet security software also allow you to control what websites your employees visit, what data they share (unknowingly or knowingly), and to remotely erase data on stolen or lost laptops. The group of small business security products we reviewed has the ability to provide small network security across a range of PCs, Macs, business servers and mobile devices.
The best small business internet security suites help protect your business from debilitating malware and expensive data loss. The days of taking internet and company security causally are long past. Nowadays, all internet-connected computers and servers are targeted by those deploying ransomware or seeking to steal personal information such as credit card numbers, bank data and social security numbers. In addition to dealing with paralyzed computers and the loss of personal information, you also have to worry about safekeeping your employees' and customers' information. Most states require companies to report to the state if they suspect compromised data, and many businesses are subject to steep fines for compromising customer data with lax security protocols.
The small business security solutions that provide a competitive level of internet protection, are easy to install and are minimally intrusive received our highest ratings. All the products we reviewed include a central administrative console for managing protected devices and have the ability to provide reports and event logs. We also looked at additional security features such as file encryptors, data backup tools and data loss prevention (DLP) tools.
These business security solutions' capabilities vary, and not all products protect all types of devices. To help you find a compatible security solution, we include full hardware specifications with our reviews.
We compared the core security features and considered a range of third-party test scores for these specific products or their antivirus counterparts. Security elements we compared include internet protection, the ability to detect and remove malware, firewalls or network/Wi-Fi protection, and email protection. We also evaluated whether the security suites provide social media protection, chat/IM security and protection from malicious downloads. The products we rated the highest provide a full range of protection and passed numerous third-party antimalware tests with above average scores.
All the products we reviewed include a central management console that controls the security status of protected devices such as PCs, Macs, servers and mobile devices. The best management dashboards allow you to view security events, monitor license statuses, schedule scans and manage updates. Some also control users' internet access, block/allow applications and remotely wipe lost or stolen laptops and mobile phones. Some products run these admin tools from a server, and others from a PC.
A common complaint about security software is that it slows down systems or interferes annoyingly. When this happens, IT managers become irritated and employees are tempted to disable or bypass the security software. We compared multiple performance tests to determine how much these security products might slow down performance. To help us compare products expected resource usage, we used the average as a baseline and rated all products as faster than or slower than the average. Keep in mind that newer systems will experience little noticeable slow down, but if you need to protect older machines with less than 1GB of RAM, security software's resource usage is a major consideration.
Ease of Installation
Most small business owners are not IT specialists, and therefore require a simple-to-install security solution that is also easy to manage and deploy. We compared the process of installing the software as well as whether it can help with installation by searching for conflicting software, endpoints and compatible components. Many products also provide tools for removing conflicting security software and suggest default configurations. The best security suites also provide straightforward, systematic installation instructions.
We listed various additional features that provide extra security or DLP tools. Additional features include the ability to encrypt files, tools for erasing files and data backup tools. We also considered whether the software includes a rescue CD and whether it has the ability to run on a compromised machine. Added extras such as these can help minimize data loss and prevent leaks of sensitive information.