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Small Business Options for Antivirus and Firewall Protection

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/9/2010

If you run a small business, or are part of one, make sure you know your options for antivirus and firewall protection. In this article you'll learn who needs them, and what software and hardware options are available.

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    What Protection A Small Business Needs

    In order to be less vulnerable to viruses and other malicious threats and to help keep intruders from entering a network, a small business needs to invest in a good antivirus product and a firewall. Although the use of an antivirus and a firewall is a good idea for personal computers, it is essential for small businesses that normally store valuable and sensitive data on their systems: business information, customers' private data, etc...

    Companies like McAfee and Symantec recommend an integrated solution; like

    McAfee SaaS Endpoint Protection Computer

    Symantec Endpoint Protection

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    Who Needs Antivirus and Firewall Protection?

    Everyone! That's right; everyone needs antivirus and firewall protection today. There are too many viruses and other malicious threats and risks that exist on networks (e.g., Internet, Intranet, and Extranet); therefore, all PCs running at home or in an office are vulnerable. Here is information on two reliable companies (McAfee and Symantec) that produce very good small business software products for antivirus and firewall protection. More options do exist, but these two organizations are well-known and trusted for providing everyone high quality software.

    Here's why a small business might want a firewall: simply because antivirus protection is not enough to cover the full spectrum of threats to systems. Antivirus are effective in catching malicious codes, but firewalls create a barrier that helps blocking unauthorized access to a system. By inspecting all traffic that goes through, these software or hardware devices can be set to block applications and any unauthorized activities.

    • to safeguard and protect data on a PC and the network from outsiders (e.g., hackers)
    • to avoid DoS (Denial of Service) and DDoS (Distributed Dos) attacks

    Since the costs of purchasing a firewall are a great deal higher than any antivirus/malware software, it's a good idea to look online for the right one: not only for the best price, but for features that can best safeguard and protect your business data.

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    Small Business Software Options

    McAfee is a reliable company that provides good security protection for small businesses. Available McAfee software products include solutions for the desktop, email and server. Here are the McAfee options for antivirus and firewall protection...

    The best McAfee option is...

    • McAfee SaaS Endpoint Protection (formerly Total Protection Service). This is an all-in-one solution for anti-virus and desktop firewall protection. On the McAfee Web site, it costs $34.98. Also available is the advanced version for $44.10. These products are designed for Microsoft Windows operating systems only.

    Alternative options are...

    • McAfee Desktop Host Intrusion Prevention is the right option for Windows firewall protection. The price: $33.62.
    • McAfee Active VirusScan / McAfee Active Virus Defense are McAfee's options for anti-virus protection. The price: $51.46 for the VirusScan and $88.85 for the Virus Defense.

    McAfee's options for Mac users...

    • McAfee VirusScan for Mac is the right option for Macintosh-based computers. It provides anti-virus protection, as well as safeguards Mac PCs from other malicious code threats. The price: $36.55.

    Symantec is another well-known reliable company. It too provides very good security protection for small businesses.

    The best Symantec option is...

    • Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition / Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 12.0. This is an all-in-one suite that provides antivirus and firewall protection; thus, making it a suitable option. And, according to TopTenREVIEWS, this product is one of the best Internet security software suites for small businesses. However, this product only works with Windows platforms. The estimated price: $47.25.

    Alternative options are...

    • Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 which combines antivirus and firewall protection into one package. The estimated price: $33.39.
    • Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.2 provides virus protection for workstations and network servers throughout a small business. The estimated price: $25.00.

    Symantec's options for Mac users...

    • Symantec AntiVirus for Macintosh 10.2 is an ideal option for Mac users wanting to keep PC viruses from entering their system. The price: $50.09.

    Other McAfee and Symantec options...

    Norton vs McAfee: Which Internet Security Program is Better?

    Companies with "free" antivirus options...

    If you're looking for a firewall option, see: Today's Best Programs to Test a Firewall.

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    Small Business Hardware Options

    For small businesses looking just for a hardware option, solutions are available. There are hardware firewalls that can be as effective as a software firewall, but are often more costly. However, when a hardware firewall is coupled with anti-virus software, it provides a suitable option for any small business. As well, it's a good option for providing additional network security.

    An affordable option...

    • ZyXEL ZyWALL USG-100 provides the right security protection for the price of $393.99 - $509.99. It's suitable for small businesses only. A bigger business will need instead another hardware firewall; one that is sure to cost more money.
    • SonicWALL is another low-cost option for those on a budget. It costs $369.75. It provides antivirus protection, and is an ideal firewall VPN appliance.
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    Useful Web Sites

    McAfee Small Business Products:

    Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition:

    Firewall Debate: Hardware vs. Software:

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