From our own hands-on research, we've found that overall, BitDefender GravityZone Business Security is the best antivirus software for a small business.
But it's a competitive market, with lots of the main players offering similar features at compelling price points. In this guide, we compare our top choice, BitDefender, to close runner-ups Norton and Avast, and discuss some other options for small teams and freelancers like Surfshark One, which costs just $3.49/month on a one year plan.
One of the most important solutions in the face of such threats is antivirus software. For a modern business, it's essential that staff computers are protected with a centrally controlled shield against malware, ransomware, phishing scams, and attempted firewall breaches.
Best Business Antivirus Software
We're recommending Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security as our top choice for business antivirus. That's thanks to its rich range of tools and features, excellent administrative controls, and competitive price points. Alternatives include the business antivirus suites from Norton and Avast, whilst McAfee and Surfshark provide great value options for freelancers and small, respectively.
Best antivirus software for small businesses:
- Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security – best overall
- Surfshark One – best value for freelancers
- Norton Small Business – tried and trusted
- Avast Business Security – strong choice for larger companies
- McAfee Total Protection – excellent value for 5+ users
In order to find the right antivirus software for your business, we've put the leg work in. We've assessed each app in this guide, trying them out for size ourselves before we give you the final verdict. We know if one app's user interface is confusing, and understand how a lack of features – or, say, a provider's ties to an authoritarian government – could harm your business.
We understand what makes good antivirus software. It's not necessarily the lowest price (despite what your finance department might tell you), or the marketing promises on the website. It's how easy it is to operate, how responsive it is to updates, and how well it does its job, which is protecting you, and your business.
Per year, unless stated otherwise
Best for Small Business
BitDefender GravityZone Business Security
Norton Small Business
Avast Business Security
McAfee Total Protection
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BitDefender GravityZone Business Security
BitDefender's antivirus business solution is feature rich, with plenty of functionality to discover. This might not suit all businesses – not everyone wants or needs to be able to change every small aspect of their antivirus offering, after all. But, those that do will be more than happy to use the admin settings and custom features offered here.
- Control console for centralized access
- Feature rich
- Granular level of user control
- Rollback feature
- May be too in-depth for some
BitDefender GravityZone comes with a powerful central console that offers tool such as website and app blocking, and apply custom securities policies. GravityZone can even treat users outside the company with a different set of rules, which minimizes your company's attack surface even further.
Although it has a rich suite of settings and customizable options – you can compete rearrange your own central reporting dashboard, for example – don't worry about constantly having to reconfigure your settings. GravityZone is a great product for anyone looking to set up their antivirus and leave it at that – it can run just fine as a dependable background shield.
BitDefender GravityZone Features
BitDefender is one of the more fully-featured providers in this article and has an impressive suite of security features to keep your company safe, as well as a number of extremely useful monitoring tools so can assume complete control of all the various aspects of your network.
- Layered Endpoint security
- Anti-phishing filtering
- Ransomware protection
- Dashboard reporting
- Device control
- Quarantine options
- Rollback feature should a virus get through
The endpoint security that BitDefender uses consists of machine learning models “continuously trained on billions of clean and malicious file samples gathered from hundreds of millions of endpoints globally”, so they're always aware of the latest threats and risks. Endpoint vulnerabilities are constantly monitored, and BitDefender will regularly asses “risky OS and software misconfiguration” for maximum protection.
BitDefender's Quarantine feature will let you isolate specific files that cannot be disinfected and place them inside a quarantine. Whilst in quarantine, none of the code carried in the files can be accessed or executed.
BitDefender also has ransomware protection and mitigation technology, the latter of which includes real-time file backups that kick in if ransomware attacks are detected, so you'll never have to pay up to get your files back.
BitDefender GravityZone Pricing
BitDefender GravityZone starts at $77.69 for three devices/year, but this price is completely scalable – you can get an immediate price for however many nodes you need. For example, if there are 10 people in your business and you'd like to cover them all, then it'll cost you $258/year.
The product can be bought on a one, two, or three-year subscription, and naturally, the price comes down the more time you commit to. for instance, for 100 people for a year, BitDefender's services are available for around $2048. If you have a large business (or even a large ‘small' business – which could still include hundreds of employees), this is a better value prospect than some other antivirus solutions, thanks to its healthy discounts and initial offers.
BitDefender GravityZone – Verdict
However, it is a much more pricey solution than some of the competitors on this list – McAfee Total Protection, for example, will allow you to protect an unlimited amount of devices for just $74.99/year, whilst BitDefender will only let you protect three for roughly the same price. You do get what you pay for though – a quality product.
This product is a little different from the rest of the providers on this list, which are all antivirus programs geared towards small businesses. Surfshark One, on the other hand, is an all-in-one security solution with built-in antivirus software and is much more consumer-focused. but that doesn't mean that smaller companies and freelancers won't find it super useful too.
- All-in-one VPN + antivirus package
- Powerful scanner for files and apps
- Data breach alert system included
- Incredibly easy to use
- Excellent value for money
- Unsuitable for medium-to-large businesses
- Antivirus aspect is quite basic
Surfshark One Features
Surfshark service has not got many (if any) of the features discussed in the other sections on the list, but that's to be expected – it's not trying to directly compete with the other services and won't attract the same clientele. It's effectively a streamlined antivirus program with a powerful VPN and some helpful additional tools attached. Included is an:
- Antivirus scanner
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Safe Search tool
- Data Breach Alerts
Surfshark One will grant you access to a VPN, an Antivirus program, a safe search tool that will stop trackers from tracking you, and a data breach alert system that will notify you if your personal information is found in any publicly released, breached databases.
Surfshark’s VPN is one of the most reliable on the market, with a strict no-logging policy, diskless servers (which are more secure than servers with hard drives), and AES-256 bit encryption, the best money can buy. There’s also a Multi-hop function that will reroute your connection through two servers, rather than one.
The antivirus software provided will allow you to schedule and perform scans on your device as well as notify you if you download malicious files, apps, or documents. Currently, this feature is only available to Android and Windows users but will be rolled out on macOS imminently.
Surfshark One Pricing
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Surfshark One is the price – which starts from $3.49/month (on a one-year plan), plus two months free, it’s an absolute steal. Even better, their Black Friday deal is currently live and you can get up to 86% off + up to 5 months free.
Although Surfshark doesn’t provide any ‘business’ packages – their products are geared exclusively towards consumers – the all-encompassing nature of this security solution, along with the incredibly cheap price, makes it a plausible alternative for very small businesses.
Surfshark One represents a reliable and budget-friendly option for very small businesses of three to four people, as well as self-employed entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t need an expansive antivirus plan designed to cover a number of devices or log into a company network.
Surfshark One - Verdict
Norton Small Business
Norton Small Business is a package that takes a mix and match approach, and the licences can be used to protect various devices, such as laptops, PCs or smartphones. The package offers 24/7 support, which can be accessed by the individuals themselves rather than the account holder themselves, either to resolve issues or block access if needed.
- Web portal
- Competitively priced
- Wipe devices remotely
- Virus removal guarantee
- Features depend on device
- Won't suit larger businesses
Norton also offers cloud access, and it's possible to wipe devices remotely should they fall into the wrong hands.
Norton Small Business Features
Norton Small Business has all of the antivirus basics covered, such as scanning all the files you download and preventing you from going anywhere near the malicious ones. But there are some nice additional features too – you're also able, for instance, to optimize this scanning process so only previously unidentified files are checked. it'll also protect you from malicious websites too.
Norton, similar to BitDefender, also uses a crowdsourced threat monitoring system that pools information from other service users for protection purposes. Features include:
- Virus Removal Assurance
- Spam Blocking
- Internet Protection System
- Identity Safe
- Misplaced device alarm
- Safe Web for Facebook
- Download Insight
- Optimized File Scanning
- Live 24/7 Threat Monitoring
Norton Small Business will even keep your company secure if you're using Facebook for digital marketing. Norton will scan Facebook Walls and News Feeds for URLs containing malicious content such as phishing sites, shady downloads, and links to unsafe external sites.
Norton's ‘Scream' Alarm (listed above as the ‘misplaced device alarm' will let out a loud signal) will alert you to the location of your physical device, a handy tool that can be used if a laptop or phone is stolen in public space where remote workers may congregate, such as a library or airport.
The company's virus removal assurance is a guarantee that Norton will remove all viruses from your computer, or you get your money back – a bold claim but one the company is happy to live by. Luckily for Norton, its spam blocking feature, which will protect all your employee's from email-based security threats, is one of the best currently available.
Norton Small Business Pricing
Norton Small Business starts at $99/year, for which you'll be able to protect up to five devices. This could be five different employees, or the same employee with five different devices, as you're paying by device rather than user. As with other providers, Norton offers discounts with the more cover you need.
Stretch it to ten, for example, and it's $149.99/year, representing rather good value when held up against other packages. If you've got a slightly larger number of employees with devices that need protecting, the 20 device plan, which is available for $249.99/year, will be your best bet.
Norton Small Business – Verdict
If the features you need fit the devices your business runs, however, then Norton Small Business represents a good value choice.
Avast Business Security
Avast's Business Security software comes in three flavours: Essential, Premium, and Ultimate. Avast's management platform offers a central point from which to manage the accounts for each device, and is a great way to stay on top of how well your team is protected, although for companies without an IT department, it isn't ideal. Opt for the version without the console and your employees will be tasked with ensuring that their devices are virus-free themselves.
- Sliding price scale depending on users
- Management console available
- 30 day money back guarantee
- Strong quarantine features
- Not feature rich
- May be too simple for some
Avast comes with some neat extra features too. We like the shredder function, which can permanently delete information that you don't want shared or seen. Avast has had some questions to answer recently about how it shares user data, which may give some extra work to your company's legal team before any contracts are entered into. From our view, the brand is perfectly safe and reputable, though it has endured something of a PR black eye in recent months.
Avast Business Security Features:
Avast's business security software is split into three tiers – Essential, Premium and Ultra (more on this in the pricing section below) – and here are the most impressive features available on at least one of their plans:
- Integrated firewall
- Email and file scanning
- Sandbox space to quarantine any ‘risky' files
- IT Support
- Malware, ransomware, and advanced attack protection
- Webcam protection
- Tools for avoiding fake websites
- Data theft protection
- Option for Management Console
- password management features
Avast will let you easily set up and install your antivirus software, and you'll be able to manage all your team's devices in one central place. On the dashboard, you'll be able to check device statuses, policies, and enable or disable specific security services like the ones listed above.
Device protection, the management dashboard mentioned above, and IT support are available on all three of Avast's plans geared towards small businesses, but the built-in VPN, webcam, and password protection are reserved for Premium and Ultimate users. Unfortunately, the latter two features – are not available on macOS.
As well as your usual antivirus program, Avast offers a number of additional programs that small businesses may find useful, and some are pretty affordable too. As a small business owner operating online, you've probably gathered by now that a lot of cyber-attacks only occur once ‘exploit points' are identified and targeted. Avast Business Patch Management will identify these critical vulnerabilities – and $150/year will allow you to protect ten devices.
Avast Business Security Pricing
Pricing is straightforward with Avast Business Security. The ‘Essential' package is $174.95 per year for five devices ($34.99 per device per year), and there's a small decrease in the price-per-device the more devices you add, but it is minimal.
The Premium package, on the other hand, is $220.50 per year for five devices ($44.10 per device per year) whilst the Ultimate package is $267.80 per year for five devices ($53.56 per device per year).
Avast Business Security – Verdict
McAfee Total Protection
One of the best-known anti-virus providers out there, McAfee's reputation is far-reaching. Its Total Protection software is a good example of why its offerings are so widely regarded.
You may already know McAfee as a home security software brand – and they've pivoted even more towards consumers since selling off the enterprise element of the business in 2021 – but Total Protection still offers features companies and their staff will find useful.
Total Protection comes equipped with other tools to help employees stay safe. This includes actively seeking out ransomware and shutting it down before it begins to pose a problem, and sniffing out phishing scams that may appear in inboxes.
- Simple interface
- Includes VPN
- Password manager
- Other providers have more features
- New app design could be better
Of course, McAfee has all the thorough scan options you'd expect, and these can be set by an IT administrator. Individual users can also initiate a quick scan or a more thorough option that will permeate every corner of a computer to hunt down potential viruses.
McAfee Total Protection Features
McAfee's pricing plans are dictated by the number of devices you'd like to protect, so virtually all the features offered by the provider are available on all plans. You can protect devices across multiple different secure operating systems too, such as mac, iOS, Windows, and Android. On every single one of McAfee's Total Protection packages, you'll have:
- Encrypted storage
- Email address/identity monitoring
- File shredder
- Password manager
- Web protection
- Ransomware protection
- Identity theft protection & coverage
Included in McAfee's Total Protection packages is Ransom Guard, the company's ransomware detection and prevention tool, which will neutralize threats before they get to your device. Identity theft protection includes 24/7 monitoring of email addresses and bank accounts, and McAfee says it will reimburse you “for qualifying recovery costs if your identity is stolen, covering expenses such as lost wages and legal fees.”
On all the plans McAfee offers, you'll be able to get round-the-clock support from a team of online experts, and the inclusion of a password manager and a VPN means you won't have to invest in other important pieces of software on top of antivirus. McAfee will also keep a personal ‘Protection Score' for you, which is a handy way to visualize whether you're doing enough to keep yourself safe.
Unlike the other features available on McAfee's Total Protection plans, the VPN that McAfee provides is only available if you have five licenses or more.
McAfee Total Protection Pricing
McAfee's Total Protection packages start at $34.99 for an annual subscription to the Basic plan, which is geared towards individuals and only supports one user. Solo users on a budget may find McAfee Antivirus Plus may be a better option, starting at $29.99/year, although it doesn't have nearly as many features as the provider's Total Protection packages.
Total Protection Plus, the next plan up from Basic, is available for $39.99/year and will let you protect five devices. Total Protection Premium – which will let you protect 10 devices – is priced at $49.99/year, whilst the aptly named Total protection Unlimited can protect any number of devices for $74.99/year.
McAfee Total Protection – Verdict
It's worth noting that unlike the other solutions in this guide, McAfee Total Protection doesn't have a web portal for controlling your employee's protection centrally, and its security suite isn't focused on securing endpoints in a company network – which is why we think it's best suited to smaller businesses.
What to Look for in Business Antivirus Software
Businesses have slightly different needs to personal users when it comes to antivirus software. Whereas a home package might have a user base of one, it's a different story when it comes to juggling multiple business users on one license.
You want to make sure that the business software you pick has strong admin features that allow total oversight over the protection of your business devices in one place. This way, you can ensure that all your staff are protected, and don't have to rely on individuals to update their own security settings. This is especially important when it comes to remote workers, who may be using unsecured wi-fi connections or networks that are outside of your control.
You can't always be standing over your employees checking what they're plugging into their laptop or PC. That's why it's important to opt for a package that automatically scans any external devices the moment they are connected. This mitigates the danger from a USB stick or external drive that may be infected, even if your staff member doesn't realize it.
When considering which solution to opt for, it's important to think outside the office. The days of the desktop PC being a employee's one-and-only device are truly over. The workforce has gone mobile, and most of us have a laptop, smartphone and other devices in our work arsenal. You shouldn't leave these out of your antivirus plan, so look for software that covers these different devices.
Similarly, consider the operating systems that your company uses. Is the software you're considering both Windows and Mac compatible? Most will be, but it's important to check before you commit. Make sure that the version of your operating system also matches the requirements.
Some providers are so confident in their software that they will offer financial guarantees, and compensate you should a virus slip through their defenses, which in the cases of some particularly nasty and expensive viruses, such as ransomware, could prove extremely useful.
Business Antivirus Pricing and Discounts
Pricing is key when looking at sourcing a new software solution. You'll find that most providers will offer a sliding scale, depending on how many employees/devices you want to protect.
For example, Bit Defender's Gravity Zone package works on a 30% discount. This means that it costs $70 for three devices, but you can add more to make further saving as the value of that 30% discount increases.
As some providers will lock you into a year contract, it's worth thinking about the immediate future of your business. If you're expanding quickly, then you'll want to consider this before committing to a limited-device contract that may not be great value as your number of staff increases.
Also, remember that most providers will charge you by device covered, not employee. This means that while you may have, say, 20 employees, you may need to cover 40 devices, should staff have a laptop and desktop PC, smartphone or other device.
Business Antivirus Features
If there's one thing that antivirus providers like to shout about, it's their features. Visit any of the companies' websites and you'll be bombarded with long lists of what their software can do. But, which features are essential and which are nice to have?
Virus detection and removal – Clearly the number one thing you want. If your antivirus software doesn't do this, it's not pulling its weight. From an IT admin point of view, you want this to be seamless, and to require as little user input as possible. Staff shouldn't need to initiate their own virus scans – let your admin control the schedule, as well as decide autoscan settings wherever possible.
Real time detection – You want your antivirus software to be always on the alert, and not waiting for you to schedule a scan before it tells you that nasties have been occupying your system for hours. The best packages will have real time detection to alert you as soon as a virus appears.
Firewall – A firewall will stop any viruses dead before they even have a chance to get into your network or infect your devices. Your IT administrator will likely want full control over corporate firewall settings and visibility of whitelisted sites and services.
Rollback – This handy feature is essentially a time machine for your device, enabling you to wind back time and return to 1BV (before virus). It can be a superb tool should something slip through the net.
Sandbox environment – The name of this will vary depending on the package, but it's a safe environment where your IT department can safely hold and open attachments that have been flagged as suspicious, without harming the network or devices. Once deemed safe, they can be opened by the employee, or if infected, removed entirely.
Spam & Malware detection – This will stop viruses that are attempting to infiltrate your network via your email or messaging service, before they even reach their recipient. This avoids your staff from accidentally unleashing viruses, by removing them instantly.
Control center – All the best business antivirus solutions offer a centralized point, usually a web portal, where admin can control the devices on the system and ensure that all devices are properly protected. This larger your business, the more important this feature becomes.
External device scan – Many rogue viruses can enter systems through external hard drives and USB sticks. Look for a solution that actually scans these devices when they are attached, spotting the malware before it can infect your system.
Help and Support
It might not seem like it sometimes, but all software is designed to be easy to use and simple. However, in practice, it doesn't always work this way, which is why it's important the antivirus software that you choose comes with excellent customer support too, for those times when you, or your staff, need that extra help.
The good news is that all of the packages we've covered here really do deliver in this area. Antivirus providers realize that this is a huge selling hook, and have gone all out to make sure you can contact them whenever you need to.
As a premium business user, you can expect access to 24/7 helplines, as well as online forums and online chat from all these providers, and for this reason its hard to differentiate between them.
However, not all are equal when it comes to the built-in help systems of the software. Some left us a little confused, like BitDefender, which left users a little swamped with a busy interface that required the user to go digging for help. The answer was there, it just wasn't immediately obvious. At the other end of the scale, McAfee's help features were clearly signposted and easy to find.
Ease of Use
Software can be daunting for some, and when it comes to antivirus software, you'll want to be sure that everyone who needs to be able to use it can do so successfully. For some companies, the ideal scenario is that their IT department are solely responsible. But even in this case, it's still vital to have software that's easy to use and doesn't require constant referring back to the help files or on the phone to support.
The very best antivirus packages offer simplicity on the surface, with a wealth of options and flexibility for those that want to do a deeper dive. A great example of this is McAfee's Total Protection, which has a wonderfully clean interface. It appears deceptively basic on first glance, but includes all the essential options up front, with more detailed information tucked away for when you need to access it.
Ease of use is also vitally important when your device actually has a virus. What should you do with it? Remove? Quarantine? The best solutions will offer clear advice on the best course of action for the virus you find, leaving you in no doubt as to what your next steps should be.
Security is one of the key components of any antivirus solution, and it's important that the one you choose can deal with a wide range of malware, ransomware, and any other kind of virus. The good news is that all of the options on the page have got you covered.
A firewall is another key factor of the very best antivirus software, and again, all of our selection on this page come with one as standard. What the firewall does is blocks any viruses before they even get the chance to infect your device.
As email as a common entry point for viruses, antivirus software that comes with the ability to actively scan your inbox and identify suspect messages, flagging them before your employees are tempted to open them, is a must. This can be a major factor in stopping ransomware and spyware programs from infiltrating your system.
Some packages come with a VPN included, which is a superb way to lock down secure access to your corporate network. A business VPN is especially important should remote workers be accessing the internet with networks that are outside of your control. Then there are other extras, such as the Shredder function from McAfee, which permanently deletes sensitive data.
Also of use to some businesses is the ability to remotely wipe devices should they become lost or fall into the wrong hands. Norton Small Business offers this feature as standard, although it's worth noting that it only applies to certain platforms.
Verdict: What is the best business antivirus software?
BitDefender GravityZone Business Security is the best business antivirus software, according to our in-depth research. Simply put, it offers the most robust protections against everything from malware to phishing scams, so you can be sure your entire team is protected. Plus, with an affordable annual subscription, you won't break the bank trying to stay secure.
But again, all of these antivirus software options have pros and cons that could make them better for your business. If any of them pique your interest, take a look at the links below for the best price.
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