Endpoint security software aims to bring together all cyber security and privacy controls for business PCs into a single management dashboard. This means everything from a standard firewall to antivirus software with malware removal and ransomware protection for multiple devices.
The advantage here is that endpoint security saves on having to individually install software on every single computer in the computer, so it immediately comes with management benefits from an IT and productivity perspective. However, it also means there’s a single place from which you can update company security policy across all machines on your IT network, as well as set up filters, options, and features customized to required needs.
The result is the ability to protect desktops and laptops, inclusive of Windows and Macs, as well as mobile devices such as smartphones. Some providers may also offer a rescue disk feature to rollback any existing attack, or encryption software . Additional features might include a data shredder, password manager, or business VPN.
Here are the best endpoint security software suites currently on the market.
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Best endpoint internet security software at a glance
- Avast Business Antivirus Pro
- Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security
- Avira Antivirus for Endpoint
- Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud
- Webroot Business Endpoint Protection
- F-Secure SAFE
- Sophos Intercept X Endpoint
Great value back-to-basics protection for your PC
Platforms: Windows | Features: AV, browsing protection, remote management | Users/nodes: 1-100 | Standard licence period: 1 year | Trial: 30-days
Nicely priced with flexible licensing
Some features not available on certain platforms
Avast Business Antivirus Pro is an excellent business endpoint security software suite, giving you various tools such as antivirus, Firewall, email protection, anti-spam and the ability to sandbox applications for complete security. Avast Business Antivirus Pro (as opposed to the standard Avast Business Antivirus) also includes Sharepoint and Exchange protection, as well as a number of tools for your servers.
The AV protection you get is generally rated as good by independent testing, with Avast’s engine blocking 99.7 per cent of threats in AV-Comparative’s Real-World Protection report.
The free version of this security package has long been considered one of the best, but If value for money and simplicity are key factors, Avast Business Antivirus Pro could be a sensible choice.
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Market leading detection rates at a bargain price
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux | Features: AV, browsing protection, firewall, device control, user control, remote management | Users/nodes: 3-50 | Standard licence period: 1-3 years | Trial: 30-days
Lots of features
Granular policy settings
No mobile device support
If reliable protection is a top priority, Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security needs to be on your shortlist. Bitdefender products are loved by the independent testing labs, highly rated for malware detection, removal, performance and usability.
Most of the features work automatically – antimalware, firewall, web advisor, URL filtering – but you can also customise the product to control user actions. You’re able to restrict access to certain websites and applications, block the transmission of sensitive information, remotely deploy the product to unprotected systems, and allow or deny users the ability to modify their security settings.
All this is managed from a central console where you can control and monitor remote users, create and apply custom security policies by user, location (the product adapts when users are outside the company), and more.
Easy-to-use end point protection for small business
Platforms: Windows | Features: AV, browsing protection, baseline network protection, remote management | Users/nodes: 3-10,000 | Standard licence period: 1-3 years | Trial: 30-days
Simple to use
A little expensive for what you get
Avira Antivirus for Endpoint is the company’s main small business product. It takes all the core features you’d expect – AV, baseline network protection, web filtering – and extends them with file server protection and optimisation, along with application whitelisting and blacklisting.
Avira’s Online Essentials web console lets you manage your devices. This is simpler than some of the high-end competition, but that’s not necessarily a disadvantage, and there’s some useful functionality here: drive partition reports, licence management, remote deployment, and assorted mobile phone tools (antitheft, phone finder, and more).
Avira Antivirus for Endpoint doesn’t have the longest of feature lists, but it’s easy to use, and offers excellent protection, regularly matching competitors like Bitdefender and Kaspersky in AV-Comparative’s Real World tests.
Kaspersky’s latest offering shields PCs and mobile devices
Platforms: Windows, Windows Server, iOS, Android | Features: AV, browsing protection, firewall, device and web controls, remote management | Users/nodes: 10-150 | Standard licence period: 1-3 years | Trial: 30-days
Highly rated in independent testing
Mobile device support
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud is a small business product, which comes ready to protect Windows PCs, file servers, Android and iOS devices.
The desktop side of the package has all the usual quality Kaspersky modules – AV, antispam, a firewall, more – but the mobile security technologies are even more impressive. There are tools to detect insecure devices, control password rules, manage camera use, filter unwanted calls and texts, and remotely lock or wipe data from lost devices.
That’s topped off with an easy-to-use web console managing network and Bluetooth configuration, internet access policies, device settings and more. The most recent version added support for Mac devices, further extending protection.
There’s impressive levels of protection, too. Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud came first out of four contenders in AV-Comparatives’ October 2016 Business Security Test, detecting and blocking 100% of known malware and exploits. The package also produced an above-average five false positives, so overall, it put in some impressive results.
The fastest, most lightweight endpoint security solution around
Platforms: Windows, Windows Server, macOS, Virtual Environments | Features: AV, browsing protection, outbound firewall, identity and privacy shield, remote management | Users/nodes: 1-249 | Standard licence period: 1 year | Trial: 30-days
Lightweight system footprint
Core AV features only
Mobile support requires a different product
The Webroot Business Endpoint Protection product stands out immediately for being incredibly lightweight: the package is tiny (2MB disk space), and installs so quickly you’ll barely notice (from 5 seconds), and consume the absolute minimum of system resources.
Scans are fast, too, and because just about everything is done in the cloud, there are no bulky updates or definitions to download – you’re always up-to-date.
Other features include behavior monitoring, an outbound firewall, along with identity and privacy protection. These don’t always have the power and options of other tools, but they’re implemented with real intelligence, and generally cope well with day-to-day tasks.
A cloud-based console enables tracking all your installations, and the package runs on just about any Windows or macOS system.
Factor in the price and Webroot looks very appealing to us, but it really is a product you need to try for yourself to understand the benefits. If you’re interested, grab a copy of the trial and see what it can do for you.
Feature-packed antimalware for desktops, servers and VMs
Platforms: Windows, Windows Server, macOS, Virtual Environments | Features: AV, browsing protection, firewall, patch management, device and web controls, remote management | Users/nodes: Varies | Standard licence period: 1 year | Trial: 30-days
Lots of features
Decent detection rates
Protects PCs only
F-Secure SAFE is a popular endpoint protection tool, highly rated by the independent testing labs.
AV is just the start. There’s also a firewall, intrusion detection, web filtering, online banking protection and device control.
If you need more, the Premium edition adds a software updater to scan for missing patches, and an option to restrict a user’s web access by category. Whatever version you buy may be deployed and managed from a central console.
There are some issues here, in particular the fact that F-Secure’s engine is more likely than most to flag legitimate software as malicious. But overall F-Secure Client Security Standard offers good protection for a reasonable price, and it’s certainly a product worth thinking about.
Accurate endpoint security software that doesn’t need signatures
Platforms: Windows, macOS | Features: AV, browsing protection, device control, application control, data control (DLP), remote management | Users/nodes: Varies | Standard licence period: 1 year | Trial: 30-days
Good detection rates
Few false positives
Some PC slowdown can be evident
Relatively high price
Sophos Endpoint Protection Advanced is a powerful tool which uses many technologies to keep you safe. It blocks dangerous URLs, and is capable of detecting and removing exploit code, analysing behaviour to uncover even the very newest threats, and identifying endpoint connections with malicious servers to find compromised systems.
The results can be impressive, with the core engine doing an above-average job of blocking zero day threats, yet raising almost no false alerts at all.
There’s a price to pay for this kind of safety, though: Sophos Endpoint Protection’s background activities can noticeably impact your PC’s performance.
There are some business-friendly features to compensate, including DLP along with device and application control, although other packages give you more at a much lower cost.
What’s the difference between consumer and business antivirus protection?
Consumer AV products might be suitable if you operate your business from a single computer and a smartphone, but if you’re using multiple devices and have many employees accessing company assets from a variety of locations, then you’ll need business-grade endpoint protection.
Business AV has more features, such as business-grade firewalls, and protects more parts of your IT infrastructure. This includes endpoint protection for PCs, Mac, Linux, mobile and virtual environments as well as server protection.
It will also give your IT department a lot more control over how it’s used, ensuring you have the best safeguards possible for your business.
Do I need endpoint security software?
If you have more than a few employees, then probably. While the evidence suggests that free AV products are effective at safeguarding against threats and providing basic protection, they do lack certain features.
With more people and more endpoints for a cyberattack to target, the additional protections such as the ability to manage (and restrict) user activity will make an incident less likely to occur.
And given the consequences of a data breach, it might not be worth skimping just to save some money.