“I’m a small business with only a few computers. Do I really need antivirus software?”
We are all connected to the Internet, whether we like it or not (and whether we know it or not). Because you and your devices are online all the time, you are vulnerable to viruses, Trojan horses, adware, ransomware, and all other types of malicious software (malware). So yes, you DO need to have antivirus software installed on your computers.
You’ve probably heard of Norton and McAfee; they’re two of the bigger antivirus products out there. They tend to have corporate contracts with companies like Dell, Xfinity, and other large businesses so they can get their software out to a lot of users. They sell software packages for home users as well, but here’s the thing: there are good, secure, free alternatives out there for you to use that don’t require an annual purchase or a subscription fee. As a matter fact, most software is moving to this model versus an annual purchase of a newer software version, so you end up spending even more money. Antivirus products like AVG Antivirus, Total AV, and Avast Antivirus offer reliable alternatives to many comparable paid antivirus software.
Now, keep in mind that most of these free alternatives do have paid versions; one of the tradeoffs for using free software is you’ll have some sort of periodic attempt to upsell you to a paid version of some sort. Additionally, some companies use notification alerts to prompt you into upgrading your service to something you don’t necessarily need. You’ll want to research the products offered and read any relevant reviews in order to determine what software might work best for you and your company.
Once you’ve made your decision, you will need to set up your antivirus software to run on a regular basis; this could be daily or weekly depending on how often your computers are in use. Make sure you pay attention to how often the program updates its virus definitions, that is the database that lists past and current malware threats security companies have identified.
Bottom line: yes, you need antivirus software on your computer. You don’t need to shell out a ton of money, or any, in order to protect yourself from malware, but you do need to have something that is reliable and updated regularly.