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.
More than 20,000 people entered our Referral Program last month, giving us a lot of entries to go through and a lot of data to tally. In the end, our grand prize winner came from Brazil, bringing in the largest share of the more than 145,000 new people who joined the AVAST community as a result of your efforts.
We also had winners from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, the U.S.A, and Vietnam. All of these winners have been notified by email, so please make sure that any messages from AVAST are not in your Junk, Spam, or Bulk mail folder.
We created this infographic to show the impact of the program worldwide. As you can see there were a large number of participants, consequently we are still evaluating the creative entries. Part of the challenge involves translations of more than two dozen languages so that the judges can evaluate each entry fairly. We will be posting those winners as soon as we can.
While the contest is over and the ruling of the judges is final, anybody can still win free Internet Security licenses for recommending AVAST to your friends. Remember that every time anybody joins the AVAST community, it helps all of us by increasing our network of malware sensors.
Congratulations to all of the winners. We wish we could have declared everybody who entered a winner, but that’s not really practical. So we offer a hearty thank you to everybody who participated. AVAST is grateful for all of your support.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.
While most of the AVAST team is located in freezing Prague, some of us are enjoying sunshine in Florida. The AVAST Free for Education team is excited to be attending FETC 2014 in Orlando, Florida for the first time! Check out the preparation progress and don’t forget to follow AVAST on Instagram and stop by at the Booth 356!
AVAST Free for Education team is FREEking awesome!
Getting ready: booth 356 already looks pretty!
Why pay for Antivirus, if you can get one for free? Read more…
Creativity takes courage ~ Henri Matisse
When in 2001 AVAST Software co-founders, Mr. Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš, decided to offer avast! Antivirus for free, it was one creative and brave decision. No one expected that this would change the future of the entire company and that 12 years later avast! Antivirus would protect 200 million devices. It is a marketing and business phenomena, and the AVAST “freemium” model has been outstandingly successful.
However, the key to our success is YOU: The AVAST Community. By recommending our products to your family and friends you have helped us to establish the largest antivirus community globally. So to say thank you we launched the AVAST recommendation system. Every user can register via my.avast.account.com, generate their own individual link and start recommending avast. Each successful installation with that link is awarded one point and once 7 points are collected, the user receives a free license of avast! Internet Security.
Putting our money where our mouth is
Now we take it a step further and offer special rewards for the best AVAST recommenders. For the next month or so, those avast! Antivirus users who help us get new users globally, and on each continent, will receive cash prizes! This is the time to get your whole family, work colleagues, or classmates protected with avast! Free Antivirus.
California, the third-largest state by area and number one by population, also seems to want to be number one in terms of education. Since our AVAST Free for Education program launched in November, 2012 (yes, it will have its 1 year anniversary soon!), almost 200 California schools, districts, colleges, universities, libraries, and other education institutions have obtained over a quarter million FREE licenses.
We’re really excited to announce that we’ve just reached the 3 million mark for number of licenses we’ve issued on the AVAST Free for Education program!
Some 2500 schools, libraries, universities and other educational institutions in the USA are benefiting from this program by receiving free business-grade antivirus protection.
The AVAST Free for Education league table
We’ve produced our very own league table to show which are the top states for number of licenses issued – how well is your state doing?
|Rank||State||Number of licenses|
|10||New York||71 346|
Congratulations to California, who have received over a quarter of a million FREE licenses from AVAST.
We love to hear from our customers about how the program is benefiting them. Here are some of the feedback we’ve had from our schools on this program:
“We appreciate the offer and opportunity AVAST has given to Education. We’ve been using this product for approximately 1 year now and have to say we are more than thrilled with it. Thank you AVAST!”
Jim Giordano, IT Manager, Anaheim City School District
“We have been very happy with the support we have received… Avast is a great product at a great price – it provides the tools administrators need to keep their computers safe.”
Jeffrey Such, Director of Technology, Camp Tecumseh YMCA
Putnam Schools District are also thrilled to be using our free software. We went to visit them recently, hear what they have to say here:
If you’re a school in the US that hasn’t benefited from our program yet, why not apply online here: www.avast.com/education
Alternatively feel free to contact me with any comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a recent survey, we found that over 96% of schools in the United States are likely to face a major technology crisis in the new year when Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Educational institutions of all sizes around the world are going to have to foot the bill of upgrading not only their operating system but also their hardware.
Schools that don’t upgrade to a new operating system by the April 2014 cut-off could be at risk. The withdrawal of support means that there will be no updates such as security patches, driver refreshes, or bug fixes — all of which are essential for networked personal computers, where protection of children and information is especially important.
At AVAST, we took a closer look at the costs schools will face: The cost of upgrading from Windows XP to a more recent operating system is approximately $200 per computer and it is not likely to stop there. Many schools are also facing the expense of upgrading their hardware as well since hardware older than three years is unlikely to be able to support Windows 7 and beyond. The cost to schools in this situation could run into tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To help alleviate some of the burden, we created the Free for Education program which provides bullet-proof antivirus protection completely free to schools in the United States. Institutions can save an average of more than $14,000 USD per year by taking advantage of this program.
A great example of how AVAST’s Free for Education has benefited a local school system is the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos, California. With the program, they have saved over $40,000 USD. “With AVAST Free for Education we were able to take some strain off of our budget,” said Joe, Machado, Network Analyst at ABC Schools. “Our savings in licensing alone will be at least $20,000 USD per year. And, our savings in time from cleaning up outbreaks from unprotected or under-protected systems is easily another $20,000 USD per year.”
Since launching in November 2012, the AVAST Free for Education program has protected over 2.8 million computers and servers belonging to over 1,800 education institutions. If you are interested in more information or to participate in the program, please visit: www.avast.com/education
 AVAST Software survey amongst 164 educational institutions, July 2013
Starting this week, we have made most of our Avast antivirus products and solutions free for use by schools and libraries in the US. This is just the first step and if it is successful, we will extend it worldwide. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. First, even though schools need security products, in these tough budget times, they need the ability to focus their spending on teaching. A couple of us here at Avast used to run the government and education sales at Symantec some years ago. We know that schools spend a lot on security—money that could be better spent on teaching.
A Google alert just popped up this review from Android Authority titled: “The best just got better“. And I just love the writeup from the author Simon Hill…
“After trying a number of Android security apps and comparing their performance in independent tests it is easy to recommend Avast Mobile Security as your best option. The sheer variety of features is more in keeping with a premium app, but it is still completely free.”
So if you have an Android phone – and according to the latest data by Gartner there should be about 450 million of you out there – go to Google Play and get the best rated security app. For free.
I’m still having my old Nokia but I guess time has come to get the shiny Galaxy S3 and install as well
One of our users sent us a sample of rogue AV for analysis. He didn’t attach further informations and the binary was heavily obfuscated, so I decided to give it a shot inside a virtual machine. A virtual image of clean (freshly installed) Win XP was used to run it and this screen appeared: