It’s hard, if not darn near impossible, to have a business in the modern age without having some sort of digital presence. What follows naturally from such a presence are myriad cybersecurity risks, which in turn necessitates some sort of software to protect your systems.
Speaking of such software, there’s a lot of options. Not every business will require all the possible cybersecurity software tools, as many are created for particular types of business situations, but there is one thing that every business has: Employees.
Unfortunately, employees are one of the most likely ways for malware or bad actors to get onto a business network. Thus, one of the unavoidable pieces of cybersecurity software that you need is antivirus software. Hopefully one of the 10 business and enterprise antivirus solutions covered here will be the right fit for your business.
What is antivirus software?
For all intents and purposes, antivirus software is what it says on the package: Software that helps prevent computer virus infections. At least, that’s what it was in the 1990s when viruses were the typical form of malicious computer code. Fast forward to today, and antivirus software may be more aptly called antimalware, or just plain security software.
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Modern antivirus software can detect and remove malware of practically any sort, as well as perform other security services like scanning email, monitoring web traffic and generally protecting a computer from whatever the internet throws at it.
These definitions only really apply to consumer products, which are typically the sort of antivirus software discussed above: A single application that secures a single computer. Businesses composed of more than a couple of people need to do a bit more to protect themselves, which is where a big distinction comes in: The difference between personal and business/enterprise antivirus software.
What is the difference between personal and enterprise antivirus software?
As mentioned above, there are a lot of different business cybersecurity software products, each designed to do something a little different or protect something specialized. In this case we’re talking about the workstations that every employee sits in front of, which themselves need a special form of security software known as endpoint security software.
Endpoints encompass any device that serves as the end of a network connection, like a laptop, tablet, smartphone, IoT device and other similar hardware. Endpoint security software, therefore, is designed to do everything necessary to protect both the endpoint hardware itself as well as the business network it operates on.
There are two typical types of endpoint security software: Endpoint protection platforms (EPPs) and endpoint detect and response software (EDR). U.K.-based cybersecurity company Redscan breaks down the difference between EPP and EDR succinctly, first describing EPPs as “an integrated security solution designed to detect and block threats at device level. Typically, this includes antivirus, anti-malware, data encryption, personal firewalls, intrusion prevention (IPS) and data loss prevention (DLP).”
EDR, on the other hand, is a totally different cybersecurity paradigm. “EDR platforms are cyber security systems that combine elements of next-gen antivirus with additional tools to provide real-time anomaly detection and alerting, forensic analysis and endpoint remediation capabilities,” Redscan said.
EPPs are very much like traditional antivirus software, in that it works on the same signature-based detection that relies on a database of known malware to detect threats. EDRs, on the other hand, use a variety of different tools, often machine learning and AI-based, to detect anomalous activity.
This list of 10 different antivirus products for business doesn’t cover all the possible security solutions that a company would want. Rather, EDR and EPP software, which for our purposes here can be called antivirus software that protects user computers, is what we’re concerned with.
If you have employees, you have computers. If you have computers you need some sort of antivirus, so hopefully one of these 10 is the right one for you.
A note on enterprise antivirus pricing
Many of the products offered by the vendors in this list fall into either, and sometimes both, the EDR and EPP categories. As mentioned above, antivirus software has evolved a lot over the years, to the point where it’s almost impossible to separate antivirus and antimalware capabilities from other aspects of cybersecurity.
That said, there aren’t prices on many of these products for the very reason that they aren’t offered as standalone products. Just as a company wouldn’t arm its sales team with only part of a CRM platform, these EDR and EPP products can only go so far alone.
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Additional portions of an enterprise security solution include firewalls, managed detection and response software, secure internet gateways, VPNs, data loss prevention software, cloud security software, a dashboard for managing endpoints and actionable feedback delivered via AI-based analytics.
We’re only covering the antivirus/EPP/EDR components here. If you don’t see a price it’s because that particular product is part of a larger suite, and it’s best to call for a quote or to get more information.
Best enterprise antivirus software options
Pricing: Call for quote
MVISION is McAfee’s name for its cloud-native enterprise security solution, which includes many of the aforementioned features typical to an enterprise security platform. Individually, its two antivirus-equivalent products, EDR and Endpoint Security, offer features expected of them as well.
You may have got the feeling from what was written above that EPP and EDR are two sides of the same product: EPP does the actual work of securing workstations, while EDR gathers all that information up into actionable reports and insights for the security team. That’s especially correct in McAfee MVISION’s instance.
What sort of businesses is mcAfee MVISION for?
MVISION is a truly enterprise-tier product, with a ton of features and capabilities and pricing hidden behind the need to call for a quote. If you’re a large organization or a new organization who just reached that level, MVISION is one of the products you should consider.
Pricing: Various/Call for quote
It’s really not possible to give a link to all of Kaspersky’s various business and enterprise-level offerings in a concise list, so the above link will take you to a central page about Kaspersky’s enterprise products. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find a full list of what it offers for various tiers of customers.
Kaspersky offers a lot of products aimed at different tiers of businesses. Small Office Security and Endpoint Security Cloud are designed for small businesses, medium businesses can choose Endpoint Security Business Select and Advanced and at the enterprise level a variety of additional security products are available.
What sort of businesses is Kaspersky for?
With services split between tiers, and variable pricing as well, Kaspersky’s business antivirus products are designed to fit essentially any business, regardless of the size or type.
Products: Falcon Prevent, Falcon Insight, others
Pricing: As low as $8.99 per endpoint per month
As far as pricing transparency goes, Crowdstrike and its various levels of Falcon cybersecurity software is about as open as you can get. For $8.99 per month you get Falcon Prevent, Cowdstrike’s next-generation antivirus software, its threat intelligence software, USB device control software and firewall management software. Additional tiers add Falcon Insight, the EDR software for the platform, as well as its threat hunting and IT hygiene software.
Falcon Prevent, the actual antivirus product of the suite, uses next-generation behavior-based indicators of attack, AI-based detection, exploit blocking and other strategies that go beyond the basic definition-based antivirus that’s rapidly becoming irrelevant.
What sort of business is Crowdstrike Falcon for?
The clarity of its pricing structure and its offerings make Falcon a great option for smaller businesses who want to protect their networks and users without sacrificing a lot of budget to do so. As mentioned above, the introductory price gets you the minimum of what Crowdstrike offers, but that’s still a next-gen antivirus and endpoint security product for less than $10 a seat.
Products: GravityZone (various)
Pricing: As low as $77.69 for three endpoints for one year
Bitdefender’s GravityZone suite of enterprise security software is divided into three tiers: Business Security, Advanced Business Security and Elite. The basic tier, Business Security, is what’s quoted as an introductory price above, and is about as basic an enterprise-level antivirus suite can get.
That’s not to say that GravityZone Business Security skimps on features — definitely not. Rather, it’s only capable of supporting physical and virtual workstations and servers. Other than that, it’s up the pricing ladder you go.
What sort of businesses is BitDefender GravityZone for?
Even at its lowest tier, GravityZone offers a lot of the features that businesses, even those growing rapidly, will need to defend themselves and their users. If your business is growing rapidly but can’t invest a ton of money into software, or if you don’t need security for Exchange, mobile devices or centralized server scanning, you can get a lot out of GravityZone Business Security for the cost.
Products: Protect (Entry, Advanced, Complete, Enterprise)
Pricing: Call for quote
Here’s where I’d say that, having managed enterprise distributions of ESET, I’m qualified to speak to its merits. Ten years on from my time having done such, I’d say ESET has changed a lot.
Like the other products in this list, ESET Protect’s four tiers (plus the fifth, which is email security only) offer what you’d expect from enterprise security software that includes antivirus protection. The only disappointment to be found is in ESET’s reserving of EDR capabilities for its fourth, and most expensive, tier.
What sort of business is ESET Protect for?
With its withholding of EDR for its top-tier customers, ESET is leaving a critical component of modern cybersecurity off the table for a lot of businesses. With that in mind, the choice to buy ESET may be best for enterprises with money to spend to ensure they get all the features.
The decision to leave ESET to big companies is further reinforced by the pricing of its three lower tiers, which are left off of the enterprise pricing page but are present on ESET’s SMB product one. The introductory price, which covers five devices for one year, is $239. Compare that to what you get from Crowdstrike Falcon for $8.99 per user per month and there’s no contest for SMBs, or even budget-conscious enterprises.
Products: (Essential/Premium/Ultimate) Business Security
Pricing: Beginning at $36.99 per workstation per year
Of the products included in this list, Avast is the one that’s truly a small and medium business-centric product. It doesn’t even offer an enterprise product tier, instead offering three levels of service.
The basic level leaves out a VPN, webcam protection, password protection and patch management, all of which are nice to have, but not necessary.
What sort of businesses is Avast Business Security for?
As mentioned above, Avast is a small business product, and it’s unique among the 10 items in this list in that regard. For that very reason, anyone who falls into the SMB category should consider Avast: They’re tailored toward your type of business, so you’ll get the type of support you need, hopefully.
Pricing: Call for quote
There’s a lot of security software available from Trend Micro, with antivirus/endpoint defense being just one of the things it specializes in. Luckily, there are a couple of offerings that stand out, particularly geared toward protecting machines and the users that operate them.
First, there’s Apex One, a SaaS-style security product that integrates EDR with endpoint security and other solutions. The other option, one of three user protection security packages, offers some of the features of Apex One, but in an a la carte fashion designed for smaller organizations and those looking to save money.
What sort of business is Trend Micro for?
Trend Micro offers security software that covers practically everything conceivable, even ICS, edge, IoT and other endpoint devices that aren’t workstations. Organizations with a tech-heavy mandate, or those who may enter new tech spaces in the future, should check Trend Micro’s end user antivirus, as well as its web of other security products.
Pricing: $52.49/$63.74 (per device per year)
When it began life, Malwarebytes was a small piece of software sure to be a part of every IT person’s incident response kit. Now, Malwarebytes is a whole suite of security software that includes EPP and EDR software.
Malwarebytes markets its endpoint protection product as “an advanced threat prevention tool” for small-to-medium businesses, and it’s EDR software as more applicable to large businesses. As is the case with many EDR products contrasted with EPP products, the difference largely comes down to the EDR software’s ability to actively mitigate exploits and better monitor connections.
What sort of business is Malwarebytes for?
When looking over Malwarebytes product offerings for businesses, I’m left wondering where the rest of it is. While endpoint protection and EDR are both featured extensively, much of the rest of what one would think of as a large-scale Enterprise Security Suite is missing. That said, businesses looking for a standalone and Point Security solution could do worse than checking out Malwarebytes.
Pricing: Contact a distributor
The Symantec brand is owned by Norton LifeLock now, but for some reason its two endpoint security products for enterprise are still sold under the Broadcom name.
However they’re being sold, Symantec Endpoint Security Enterprise and Symantec Endpoint Security Complete both have a feature set suitable for protecting most large organizations. The largest difference between SESE and SESC is their attack surface reduction, response and remediation capabilities, namely that the former doesn’t have any.
Those differences shouldn’t be surprising at this point: They’re basically par for the course when comparing EPP and EDR software. Regardless of the differences, Symantec’s enterprise antivirus solutions still have multiple distribution options, cover everything from mobile devices to servers, and use machine learning and behavior-based prevention to improve detection capabilities.
What sort of business is Symantec for?
Like the first item on this list, Symantec Endpoint Security Enterprise and Complete both cater to large organizations looking for an easily deployed and centrally-managed security solution.
Larger organizations with more money to spend will find Symantec’s offerings more appealing, as the Complete service tier is where things like breach assessment, behavioral isolation, EDR and analytics are located. All of them are valuable tools to the organization willing to pay for them.
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
Products: MDE P1/MDE P2
Pricing: $36/$57 (per user per month, billed annually)
Here’s a novel idea for offices that use Microsoft products: Don’t add another piece of third-party software when you can integrate another solution from Microsoft, instead.
Sold as part of Office 365 E3 and Office 365 E5 subscriptions, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is, like the other solutions in this article, capable of doing all the endpoint security work that it should do.
The difference, as before, comes down to EDR and advanced detection/remediation capabilities, which in this case are only available with MDE P2, part of the Office 365 E5 package. In case you’re not sure what the two Microsoft 365 packages are, they’re both bundles that include security software and other tools along with a subscription to Office 365.
What sort of business is Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for?
There’s a good chance that your business uses either Google or Microsoft’s suite of cloud-native office and productivity tools. Companies that use the latter should definitely consider MDE as an option. Be sure to weigh the price of the licenses for MDE P1 and P2 against what you’re paying to Microsoft right now, and what you would pay for an additional vendor.