Get your small business up and running with free software.
Getting a new business off the ground is not an easy task and can be quite costly, but there are a lot of free software and services available online that your new or small business can use as an alternative to paid-for products.
Here is a list (in alphabetical order, so no favorites ) of some you will find useful:
Avast for Business – cloud-managed security
Avast not only provides consumers with free security, but we also provide small and medium sized businesses with free cloud-managed protection. Avast for Business is easy to install and can be managed from anywhere and at anytime.
Facebook Page – alternative to building your own website
If you’re a restaurant owner or a small boutique you could also, either in addition to or instead of hosting your own website, create a Facebook page for your business. You won’t be able to sell items online, but you can add your business’ address and directions, opening hours, a description of your business and post images and status updates to inform your customers of new items on your menu or of new items available for sale in your store.
Fundera – loans for your business
Fundera is a free service that offers you loan options and lets you choose the one best suited for your small business. All you need to do is fill out a short questionnaire and then you are presented with loan products, lenders and rates and can apply to the lenders that fit you best with only one application.
The rule of thumb for managing devices is one IT Administrator for every 100 computers or devices. Five hundred is difficult to manage for an entire IT department, let alone one IT Administrator. But, Gary Myers is up to the task.
The Avast team caught up with Myers recently to see what he thinks about the new Avast for Business product. “They say you should have one person for every 100 devices so it’s definitely a challenge.”
Gary explained how he chose new Avast for Business as his security solution. “I’ve been using Avast for a long, long time, so when I saw that there was a new business product, I knew I should give it a try.” Myers says that Avast is a step above the rest and he switched to Avast for Business because he wanted the new features of the cloud-based product.
Avast teamed up with Chillicothe City School District in Ohio to provide free antivirus software to their schools.
Educational institutions manage sensitive data including names, birthdays, and even social security numbers. That data needs to be secured to ensure sensitive student data remains confidential. Tyler Hisel is an IT technician the Chillicothe City School District in Ohio. Tyler recently started protecting his school with Avast for Business. “We had AVG before switching to Avast and we really needed to simplify our security solution.”
Servicing an entire school district’s IT needs is a challenge. That’s why Tyler said he needed software with easy-to-use centralized management where he could monitor the district’s devices. “Avast was cost saving and had lots of features that I was surprised came free,” said Tyler.
Tyler discovered Avast for Business by searching for free antivirus software for business. He explored all of the options and after considering the alternatives decided that Avast for Business was the best antivirus software for the district. “All we wanted was a simple security solution that worked, and I knew we didn’t have to pay a fortune for it.”
Budget wasn’t the biggest factor in Tyler’s decision but he claimed that it was definitely important. There were other security solutions that fit most of Tyler’s qualifications but he says that Avast for Business’ nonexistent price tag and centralized management made it the clear choice. When asked if he would recommend Avast to others he replied saying, “We’ve told businesses in the area about it already!”
Tyler’s final thoughts on Avast for Business were simply this, “I’ve got to hand it to you, it’s really an impressive product and it being free just makes it better.”
Avast for Business is free for schools, small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations. Visit our Avast for Business website to learn more and sign up.
Avast for Business just made life easier and saved money for administrator Dale Kvittem-Barr at Peace Lutheran Church and School.
Schools house a large quantity of sensitive data and Kvittem-Barr knows that security software is a must. But, managing 50 devices is a challenge.
“When I started here, we had Norton and each computer had its own individual license. It was a nightmare. I switched all of the school’s computers to the free Avast consumer product. When I heard there was a free business solution and that it had a centralized management dashboard I knew we had to have it.”
With Avast for Business, Kvittem-Barr no longer has multiple licenses to manage and he can see his entire network anytime, anywhere.
“The cloud-based system makes sense because the entire network can be updated constantly from the dashboard so I don’t have to run around to every computer anymore.”
For his mixed platform networks, Kvittem-Barr says Avast for Business just works for him.
“We have Macs and PCs so to be able to protect them both with the same console is great!”
And the software keeps him continuously informed about threats to the school.
“The notifications have been really helpful because I can see which computers are being hit harder than others and make sure I focus on those.”
Budget is an issue for all schools and Kvittem-Barr said that his school’s savings with Avast for Business were substantial. As for plans to spend the savings he says,
“Yeah, we were actually able to purchase a lot more computers and a device charging cart.”
Find out how your school can save money with Avast for Business.
Earlier this year, we told you about the return of CryptoWall, malware that encrypts certain files in your computer and, once activated, demands a fine around $500 as a ransom to provide the decryption key. These kinds of financial fraud schemes target both individuals and businesses, are usually very successful and have a significant impact on victims. The problem begins when the victim clicks on an infected advertisement, email, or attachment, or visits an infected website.
Recently, a click fraud botnet with ties to CryptoWall has been discovered. The malware, nicknamed ‘RuthlessTreeMafia‘, has been being used to distribute CryptoWall ransomware. What first appears as an attempt to redirect user traffic to a search engine quickly mutates into an alarming threat as infected systems begin to download CryptoWall and system files and data become encrypted, rendering them useless by their owners. Click fraud and ransomware are two types of crimeware that are usually quite different from one another and typically don’t have many opportunities to join forces; therefore, the result of this unlikely yet powerful collaboration can be detrimental to its victims.
During this beautiful spring in “The Queen City” aka Charlotte, North Carolina, new Avast Software offices have opened their doors bringing 60 IT, marketing, business development, and technical support jobs to the area.
The flagship product launching out of the Charlotte office is Avast for Business, the new free, easy-to-use, cloud-managed security offering designed with small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and small government in mind. Luke Walling, a long time Charlotte resident, is the general manager and vice president of Avast for Business.
“We’re thrilled to open doors in Charlotte,” said Walling. “With state-of-the-art facilities in North Carolina coupled with regional offices across the globe, Avast is in prime position to ensure our customers receive top-notch security solutions for their PCs, Macs and servers. As small business owners realize the essential need for data protection in today’s digital world, we’re happy to provide a free product that’s both reliable and secure. Charlotte has been home to me for many years and I’m pleased to report such a strong start.”
Small business owners embrace the idea of employees supplying their own computers, smartphones, and tablets in the workplace. But the savings and convenience can go down the drain if the employee falls prey to a phishing scam and downloads malware or loses their device. Protecting mobile devices has become increasingly more important as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) grows in popularity.
Technical security measures to protect information are of obvious importance. However, many security incidents relate to the theft or loss of equipment.
We can write multiple blog posts about BYOD policies and educating your employees about the latest threats and tricks that cybercrooks play (spearphishing, for example), which is all extremely important, but if you simply lose your device, then all bets are off anyway. You can avoid headaches in the case of misplaced or stolen devices by having a way to remotely locate the missing device and wiping the data away if it ends up in the wrong hands.
Avast Anti-Theft allows users to log on to their desktop account or use a friend’s phone to remotely locate their device, lock it, activate the remote siren, or wipe its data clean.
Business owners also need to consider what to do about company data on an employee’s personal device when they are terminated or leave the company. Some companies have resorted to wiping personal devices clean of all data, but that includes contacts, family photos, apps and music, which can lead to unpleasant lawsuits or complaints from former employees. Mobile device management systems (MDMs) are available, but could be overkill for very small businesses.
If you only have a few employees, and do not require a full-blown MDM, then Install Avast Anti-Theft for free from the Google Play store to protect your own devices and those of your employees.
This article is a re-print from the April 1, 2015 edition of Silicon India.
Security threats are evolving quickly, making it difficult to pinpoint just one threat that is currently affecting small and mid-size businesses.
From the threats we have observed in the past and the ones we anticipate for the future, we have learned that while malware can be damaging to businesses, so can human decisions. This makes it vital for small and mid-size business owners to discuss possible threats with their employees and share basic IT guidelines with them, but more importantly, to implement a strong security solution that holds up dangers before they become a real threat.
Taking Advantage of Human Nature: Social Engineering
Hackers understand that it is human nature to make mistakes, which is why they often turn to social engineering. Social engineering is a tactic that tricks people into revealing their personal information, like log in details, or into performing actions, like downloading malware disguised as an attachment or link.
Phishing emails are a popular form of social engineering that can easily sneak their way into your employees’ inboxes, disguising themselves as yet another offer, promotion, or even customer, if you do not have anti-phishing protection. Phishing campaigns come in many forms; they can either use scare tactics to make people believe they are in trouble or that they have won a prize.
In the last few months we have seen Trojans like Pony Stealer and Tinba make their rounds. Both Pony Stealer and Tinba attempted to convince people they owed money and to download an invoice, which was of course not an actual invoice, but a Trojan.
Falling for phishing scams can have devastating effects on businesses; they could not only steal personal information, but also attack Point of Sale (PoS) systems to steal customers’ financial information, thus not only affecting the business itself, but its clients as well.
Lack of security awareness: Beneficial for hackers, bad for your business
Not taking proper security precautions, like choosing weak passwords or ignoring security updates, is another human flaw cybercriminals like to abuse to access accounts and networks. To gain control of a system, hackers can enter common or weak passwords or simply look up hardware’s default administrative log in credentials.
Luke Walling, GM of Avast for Business, had confidence in the Avast for Business product all along. But the explosion of new customers has surprised and delighted even him. ~Editor
Avast for Business is the industry’s first free, easy to use, cloud-managed security offering that protects small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) from cyber attacks and data breaches.
The new product has been available for two months, and already more than 75,000 SMB owners have enthusiastically selected Avast for Business to protect their companies.
The new, cloud-managed solution has specifically been adopted by IT consulting, education, and non-profit sectors. Early results also show a strong uptake in managed service providers, who make up 12 percent of Avast for Business’ total installed device count and 2.5 percent of its new users.
A reason for it’s booming success is because most start-ups, small businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations lack the IT infrastructure to install costly and complex on-premise security solutions. Avast for Business provides the ideal solution. It’s easily scalable and managed from anywhere. Additionally, Avast for Business starts at a price everyone can afford: free, making it a natural fit for small-to-medium-sized businesses and organizations worldwide.
Avast for Business is free for as long as you want it and for an unlimited number of admins and devices. Protect your company with Avast for Business.
Small and medium-sized businesses face a challenge when it comes to keeping their data secure. Many companies don’t have the budget to hire a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to take care of their IT needs, and often, they think they do not have enough knowledge or time to handle it themselves, therefore the path of least resistance is to not have any security at all. At the very best SMBs use a consumer version of antivirus software.
But these days, neither of those options is a good idea. Having no protection leaves you too vulnerable, and the problem with using a consumer product in a work environment is whoever is managing the network cannot look across all computers at once and implement policy changes or updates.
Do hackers really target small businesses?
The media coverage of big time data breaches like Target, Neiman Marcus, and Home Depot may have many SMB owners thinking that they are not at risk, but even small and medium-sized businesses need to make sure that their data and that of their customers is protected.
Here’s a statistic that should get your attention: One in five small businesses are a victim of cybercrime each year, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. And of those, nearly 60% go out of business within six months after an attack. And if you need more convincing, a 2014 study of internet threats reported that 31% of businesses with fewer than 250 employees were targeted and attacked.
Why do hackers target small businesses?
Hackers like small businesses because many of them don’t have a security expert on staff, a security strategy in place, or even policies limiting the online activity of their employees. In other words, they are vulnerable.
Don’t forget that it was through a small service vendor that hackers gained access to Target’s network. Hackers may get your own customer’s data like personal records and banking credentials and your employee’s log in information, all the while targeting the bigger fish.
While hackers account for most of the data lost, there is also the chance of accidental exposure or intentional theft by an employee.
What can I do to protect my small business?
For mom-and-pop outfits, Avast for Business, a free business-grade security product designed especially for the small and medium-sized business owner, offers tremendous value. The management console is quite similar to our consumer products meaning that the interface is user-friendly but also powerful enough to manage multiple devices.
“Avast for Business is our answer to providing businesses from startup to maturity a tool for the best protection, and there’s no reason for even the smallest of companies not to use it, because it starts at a price everyone can afford, free,” said Luke Walling, GM and VP of SMB at Avast.
Some companies may still opt to pay for a MSP, and in many cases, especially for medical or legal organizations, handing over administration to a third-party may be a good way to go. Either way, our freemium SMB security can be used, and if you use a MSP then the savings can be passed on to you.
Is free good enough for a business?
Many IT professionals have been using free security on their home computers for years. It’s not such a huge leap of faith to consider the benefits of making the switch in their businesses as well.
“I have been using Avast since 2003 at home, with friends, with family. You really come to trust and know a product over the years. It lends itself to business use really well, nothing held back,” said Kyle Barker of Championship Networks, a Charlotte-area MSP.
How do I get Avast for Business?
Visit Avast for Business and sign up for it there.