“SMBs are not just targets of cybercrime, they are its principal target”
says a U.S. Security and Exchange Commission report from last fall. In fact, the majority of all targeted cyberattacks last year were directed at SMBs.
The New York Times, in its article No Business Too Small to Be Hacked, said that 60% of all online attacks in 2014 targeted small and mid-sized businesses. Of those attacked, more than half (60%) would go out of business within 6 months of a data breach. That’s a lot of broken dreams and heart ache because of a lack of security.
Small businesses lack IT expertise and budget
SMBs make attractive targets because they often neglect their security or rely on older consumer security software for protection. Money is always an issue, and sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for an expensive security package.
Just recently, our free, cloud-managed security solution, Avast for Business, passed a milestone – more than 1 million endpoints protected in less than a year. From our relationship with IT admins in sectors as diverse as Education, Non-profits, Retail, IT consulting firms, and SMBs, we have learned that many organizations lack in-house expertise or resources to install costly and complex security solutions.
In February, Avast launched the world’s first free, easy to use, cloud-managed security offering, Avast for Business, protecting SMBs from viruses and cyberattacks. We conducted a survey amongst our Avast for Business users in the UK to gain further insight into how local SMBs handle their security.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said that 100% of their company’s employees use the Internet. Businesses, whether small or large, retail or non-profit, often have a database of valuable customer data, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals.
Cybercrooks use social engineering to attack businesses, tricking employees via phishing scam to, for example, gain access to a company’s network. Despite the high number of data breaches, 57% of SMBs in the UK invest only 0-2% – little to nothing – of their IT budget on security.
Who handles IT support services for SMBs in the UK?
- 1 out of 10 said an employee (not a designated IT admin) handles the company’s IT support services
- Nearly 50% have an in-house technician
- 1 out of 10 have an external supplier/technician handles the company’s IT support services
- 28% of SMB business owners handle their company’s IT
More than half of SMBs in the UK allow their employees to access company data from their personal devices. Bring your own device (BYOD) is a convenient practice SMBs have embraced, as it saves costs and encourages productivity.
However, BYOD can be risky, if not handled properly. Not only can hackers target the device to gain access to sensitive corporate information, but if the device is lost or stolen, the company data stored on it goes with the device. More than half (52%) of SMBs authorize employees to access corporate data on personal devices, yet the majority (54%) doesn’t run a BYOD scheme.
Losing valuable and confidential data (31%) is the greatest security risk to UK SMBs along with productivity (23%) and losing customers (16%). We asked our business users if a virus or threat had infected them before switching to Avast for Business. When it came down to it, threats and hacks cost six out of 10 businesses productivity, followed by data loss (19%).
Types of security solutions SMBs used prior to switching to Avast for Business:
- More than half (55%) used free consumer security solutions
- 23% used premium business security solutions
- Nearly one out of ten used premium consumer security solutions
- Nearly one out of ten either do not know what kind of security solution they used before switching to Avast for Business or did not use any security solution (3%)
If your SMB has a low IT budget or if your business is currently using a consumer security solution, make sure you check out Avast for Business. Avast for Business is FREE and can be downloaded here.
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.
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.
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.
Recently we started a new corner in our blog, SMB/Business, to talk about the avast! business product line. We will focus on topics which are come up during our conversations with resellers and their clients.
Today we will present a quick guide to answer this question:
How can I correctly reinstall the avast! Antivirus client?
Whether you’ve used avast! Antivirus for a long while, manage a large organization, or simply installed the wrong product, it is imperative that you understand the correct uninstallation procedure before installing a different avast! Antivirus product.
The following guide will help you through the process.
- 1. Navigate to add/remove programs, and uninstall the relevant avast! Antivirus product.
- 2. Download avastclear.exe from here, and save it to your desktop.
- 3. Start Windows in safe mode. (Safe mode is an operating mode that uses only the most fundamental driver and application set required to start the operating system.)
Windows XP, Vista, 7
To get to safe mode in Windows XP, Vista or 7 – Restart your machine, and continuously tap the F8 key. You will then be presented with an Advanced Options Menu, where you can chose to boot from safe mode.
To get to safe mode in Windows 8 – Go to the start screen and type Advanced into the search field. When the search results appear, click the settings category and navigate to the Advanced startup options screen. Clicking restart now will take your computer directly to the advanced startup mode, from there click troubleshoot, then at the startup settings menu press F4 to enable safe mode. Your machine will then restart to safe mode.
- 4. Open the avastclear.exe file you downloaded, and navigate to the root of the previous installation directory. Ex: C:\Program Files\AVAST Software.
- 5. Click remove and restart your machine.
Using the add/remove programs in Windows is not always 100% effective
Enjoy our business solutions! To find more information about SMB products, please follow this link: http://www.avast.com/business
For our existing business partners we also offer products training, which can be found here: http://avast.enterprisetube.com/
Ask a question on the User Forum
Thousands of avast! Antivirus users as well as avast! team members gather on the popular forum to help users-in-need with their questions. It helps to read the rules and practice polite netiquette at all times.
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.
Text written in cooperation with Magdalena Kuberacka
AVAST Software is a well known brand thanks to its multi awarded avast! Free Antivirus. However, AVAST is much more than just a great free antivirus solution you probably use on your home computer. Our avast! Business Solutions present portfolio of products designed especially for the Small and Medium Business and offered both online and through our advanced network of business partners representing our brand locally.
AVAST expanded its SMB portfolio and products compatibility.
Starting from January, avast! Endpoint Protection compatibility now includes full support for all Microsoft Windows versions from Windows XP through Windows 8.1. This means that small and mid-sized businesses don’t have to compromise on security, while using a mix of older PCs with the latest Windows tablets, touchscreens and convertible Windows 8.1 devices.
The avast! Business Solutions portfolio has recently expanded to include avast! SecureLine VPN, providing safe public hot-spot connection. This solution is both conveniently packaged and favorably priced, from 5 PCs and up, to fit the needs of small and medium businesses. This solution is offered exclusively via AVAST Business partners. Read more…
This question, from a small-site owner with tens or hundreds of visitors per day, is an unfortunate but all too familiar one.
One morning I started getting emails from my customers complaining that their antivirus reported my site as infected and won’t let them in. It must be some mistake because I don’t have an e-shop. There is just a contact form and information for customers. Is it possible that someone is attacking my business?
Why do hackers attack small webpages when there are larger targets?
Small websites have a very low frequency of updates, and the possibility that somebody would find and fix malicious code is almost non-existent, which make them attractive targets to hackers. Hackers seek unpatched pages based on open-source solutions because they can attack them quickly and easily. These pages are later used for sorting users – by those who have vulnerable applications on their computer and by those who cannot be attacked – or simply to hide their true identity. Attackers close “the door” behind them by patching the vulnerability that leads them in and simultaneously create another backdoor, only for them, so the page does not show as suspicious when tested for vulnerabilities.
In general, there are three common types of hacking events a web administrator could encounter:
This type is recognizable on the first look because the site has been changed to display a message from hackers showing off their skills and mocking the web administrator. This is usually a less harmful attack, and although your page was deleted, you don’t have any financial loss because the motivation for this attack was to show the lack of security on your pages and get credit from other hackers. People which make these attacks usually follow the rule, Don’t learn to hack, hack to learn.
For example, there are PHP shells that lets you select the method and reason of defacement and post it online. The image below shows part of a PHP-shell that sends statistics.
According to statistics from Zone-H, there were 1.5 million sites defaced during 2010, and the screenshot to the right shows the reasons for the attacks. A million and half seems like big number, but these are only documented attacks and the actual number would be much higher.
During the last few years, defacement has been used to display political or ethical opinions by attacking sites with lots of daily visitors. This is turn attracts media and gets as much attention as possible. Even antivirus companies are not spared, as you can read in a recent article about the hack against AVAST.