Small businesses need to remain vigilant against cyber attacks. The natural reaction is to throw a lot of money at potential security breaches. Businesses often have two choices:
- Load up your computers, tablets, and smartphones with expensive anti-virus and anti-spyware software, or
- Consider bringing in an IT specialist to give yourself some peace of mind, even if it breaks the budget.
But, in reality, you’re still vulnerable.
A new offering from Avast aims to change the way you think about protecting your devices from cyber attacks.
Avast for Business is a free cloud-based security management tool specifically designed for small businesses.
Vince Steckler, CEO at Avast, says in a statement on the release of Avast for Business:
“We believe the time is right to provide great security that is not only free, but also simple for SMBs to implement and manage. A small business may not view their customer database or online orders at the same level as data of an enterprise. Avast for Business addresses the problem of those businesses using consumer products and not being adequately protected; it gives those enterprises a business-class solution they can grow with.”
Luke Walling, a vice president and manager at Avast, told Small Business Trends in a phone interview that this new offering aims to disrupt on two fronts: simplicity and cost.
Avast for Business takes about five minutes to set up. And one manager can monitor any threats on any device protected under the same Avast for Business account, the company claims. Based on a cursory glance at the software, the browser-based dashboard for the free service is easy-to-read and manage. Adding and activating devices running Avast for Business starts with one click.
The software can be downloaded onto one employee’s computer. That user then becomes the “cloud manager.” A link can be emailed to other users covered by the same cloud account.
Here’s a quick look at the main Dashboard screen for Avast for Business:
In a working scenario, if one of your employees or team members opens an email containing a threat, the cloud manager can be notified and anyone else can be prevented from opening the same email.
The free version of Avast for Business offers the following services, available for any device on a business’s network:
- Free Essential Antivirus protection (File Shield, Web Shield, Mail Shield)
- HTTP and HTTPS Threat Scanning & Integrated Browser Protection
- A Web-based management console that is accessible anywhere, anytime
- Robust reporting and alerting engine
- Cross-Platform Support including Windows and Mac OSX.
“We built a product that addresses the SMB of today. We focused on simplicity. It’s built for a small business owner to set up, not an IT pro,” Walling told Small Business Trends.
So, what if you’ve already spent hundreds — or more — on antivirus, anti-malware and anti-spyware software? Is a free product really enough to manage your business’s online security, and enough to replace all those solutions you already paid for?
“Free and easy-to-use is going to get them interested. Is free good enough? We think so,” Walling said.
Although there are premium options available for Avast for Business, Walling believes that everything Avast is including for free is enough to keep a business safe from cyber attacks.
Avast for Business is now available for any business to give a trial run. It’s been available for several weeks as part of a “soft launch.” Avast for Business is currently only available on Windows and Mac OSX devices. However, support for Android devices could come by the end of this year,
The company, according to Walling, first experimented with the free business model two years ago when it developed a similar platform for educators.