Small business owners contend with a lot, and the spirit of the entrepreneur is one of focused, calculated risk taking. It’s quite stressful, but when a project is successful, the rewards more than justify a few gray hairs. In today’s world, a successful entrepreneur must plan for more than just logistical and financial hurdles, but must also account for the technological aspect of their business.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or leading a startup, technology has made it much easier to run a business. Databases and document management solutions make curation of records and communications. Networking, financial, and accounting infrastructures have rendered it easy for the small business pushing for global expansion right out of the gate. Many software tools allow you to automate tedious processes, reducing the chance of errors and freeing your time so you can focus on your business.
And yet, there is a dark side to this progress—the internet is rife with its own perils and pitfalls. Technical failures aside, there is no shortage of unsavory online events. Fortunately, early in the evolution of the digital world, security and protection systems began to evolve in parallel. Today’s security tools include antivirus software, firewalls, email security tools, and endpoint protection.
Unfortunately, many small businesses and freelancers disregard the necessity of this technology, deeming it costly, intrusive, and only necessary if attempted attacks or other intrusions are already suspected. This is a problematic mindset to have regardless the size of your business, but especially for small ones.
Let’s take a look at the three biggest benefits of antivirus software for your small business and the related consequences of its absence. The necessity of this technology and the financial ramifications of its disregard may shock you.
Reason #1 – Resource Hijacking
One of the most common forms of malicious attack is less theatrical than data theft or rampant vandalism. It’s also one of the oldest purposes of viruses, worms, and malware. While not overtly destructive, resource hijacking can be crippling to small businesses with limited budgets.
As a small business, computational and bandwidth resources are an expensive commodity, and every CPU cycle and kilobit of data needs to count, as you simply can’t afford the behemoth infrastructure of a large enterprise entity. Resource hijackers gobble up computer power and bandwidth, using it for their own means—often illegal data trafficking, or, in modern times, cryptocurrency mining. This causes tremendous slowdown and instability in your framework and also compromises your security.
When you’re a small business or startup, you really can’t afford any inefficiency caused by this. Thankfully, one of the prime functions of modern antivirus software is to prevent malware that permits such hijacking. These tools can also monitor traffic and discover existing incursions and firmly lock them out.
Reason #2 – Ransomware
Ransomware is one of the other, far more destructive forms of cyberattacks that has garnered quite a reputation in recent times. Ransomware is a problem for any business size, but for the smaller ones, it’s catastrophic.
With ransomware, a sneaky program gets into the system and encrypts all the files (sometimes also databases and records) so that they’re impossible for your team to open. The cyber attackers will then offer the cipher to decrypt all of this, but only for a steep price. Small businesses can literally be undone by something like this considering the ransom is very high, and losing all of the data (the only alternative in most cases) would equally be your undoing.
Most antivirus software combats this in two paralleled ways. First, it keeps up-to-date definitions that allow it to spot and thwart invasive code that attacks the files. Of course, the best offense is a good defense, when it comes to IT. The other way is that most antivirus software either has a regular backup system of its own, or it integrates with such frameworks. This means the data can be restored with little progress lost, if something like this happens.
As an added advantage, some modern platforms can also obtain ciphers through the same definition updates, which can completely undo the encryption. This potentially means zero loss (aside from a little bit of time), should these attacks occur.
As cyberattacks go, this is the most devastating sort commonly taking place these days, as data theft or rampant vandalism just aren’t profitable anymore—and most hackers are definitely out to profit.
Reason #3 – Cost Effectiveness
Modern antivirus software’s biggest advantages and benefits come in how much money and resources they can save you, especially if your business is small. They’ve obviously evolved beyond just preventing malware, viruses, and worms, to being a full security suite. They can manage role-based access, intrusion prevention, backup management, exploit prevention, and everything else that comes with these.
While this doesn’t provide an opportunity to forgo a comprehensive, competent IT staff, it greatly reduces IT costs. Your IT staff, whether in-house ort outsourced, can focus on maintaining the infrastructure as a whole (which saves time and money via rapid problem solving and response), and you don’t need to hire a ton of additional, entry-level assistance staff to help them stay on top of security.
This also saves a lot of money in physical equipment as most antivirus platforms (especially SaaS implementations) eliminate the need for hardware firewalls and the like, as well as the need for local backups due to cloud integration potential.
It goes without saying that this also saves a lot of money by preventing the many forms of cyberattack from halting daily operations.
The advantages of this sort of technology are pretty obvious, as are the general dangers they’re intended to combat. However, you may still find yourself thinking that as long as you’re responsible and have good IT people, you can probably get by without such a platform. Absolutely not!
If your business gains traction, you will eventually be noticed by those with ill intent. It doesn’t matter who you are, any profiting business will suffer an attempted attack at some point, either directed or passive. When this happens, if you don’t have the technology intended to respond to this, there will be negative consequences.
Your competent IT staff may indeed be able to repair the damage done if they’re on top of things. Sadly, this will take considerable time, which will cost you quite a lot of money. It will also disrupt your operations, and no matter how “under wraps” you keep the cause of this disruption, it will severely harm your reputation. Eventually, the cause will also come to light, and your seeming disregard for security will cause damage to your reputation.
Now that you’ve come to terms with antivirus software’s crucial role in your business’ development, it’s time to begin serious research on what’s out there. There are a lot of choices, and this could seem overwhelming.
The best way to approach this is to read TEC’s complete antivirus software overview, which will explain in detail how this software operates. With a solid grasp on that, you can continue with a comprehensive buyer’s guide to understand what makes for good solutions in this technology.
At this point, you have a solid understanding of how this technology works and a good idea of what good antivirus software looks like. You can then see what meets these criteria by looking at a list of top antivirus platforms. TEC makes this easy by including reviews, pricing, and the ability to compare those different platforms in a comprehensive manner, so be sure to check out our category and product reviews.