The best endpoint protection software makes it simple and easy to safeguard your business desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Additionally, endpoint protection software should bring together all cyber security (opens in new tab) and privacy (opens in new tab) controls for business PCs (opens in new tab) into a single management dashboard. This means everything from a standard firewall to antivirus software with malware removal and ransomware protection (opens in new tab) for multiple devices.
The advantage here is that endpoint security saves on having to individually install software on every single computing device in the office, 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 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 (opens in new tab), inclusive of Windows and Macs, as well as mobile devices such as smartphones (opens in new tab). Some providers may also offer a rescue disk (opens in new tab) feature to rollback any existing attack, or encryption software (opens in new tab). Additional features might include a data shredder, password manager (opens in new tab), or business VPN (opens in new tab).
If you're looking for extra protection, we've also featured the best identity management software (opens in new tab) around today.
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Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus (opens in new tab) 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.
Read our full Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus review (opens in new tab).
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ESET PROTECT (opens in new tab) is pitched at small and medium-sized businesses and covers Windows, and macOS, and with certain conditions also extends to Linux, Android and iOS endpoints as well.
The security product brings with it a software firewall, the ability to detect malicious communications over the Internet and then block the offending process that initiated it. You also get a Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) that uses a predefined set of rules to identify and stop dubious behavior.
ESET monitors and evaluates all executed applications on the endpoints and based on their reputation and behavior will block any processes that act like ransomware. It keeps an eye on typically exploitable applications such as browsers, document readers, email clients, Flash, Java, and such, to look for identifiable exploitation techniques.
The endpoint bundle also includes the File Security product for Windows Servers and Microsoft Azure that can scan and monitor a connected OneDrive storage and VMs.
Trend Micro Worry-Free Services Suites (opens in new tab) protects Windows endpoints on the desktop as well as on server installations, along with macOS workstations. The platform’s protection also extends to mobile devices powered by both Android and iOS.
Its anti-virus scanner analyses files not only before execution but also during runtime. It can detect all types of malware including fileless malware, cryptocurrency mining, ransomware, and more.
WFS uses a mix of behavior analysis, predictive and runtime machine learning techniques to keep your endpoints secure. Thanks to these techniques it can identify and block communications of malicious apps.
If you don’t have Linux endpoints, this platform offers everything you’d need to secure your Windows and macOS endpoints, along with Android and iOS mobile devices. If your company uses popular cloud-based services such as G Suite, Dropbox and others, you should definitely take WFS for a spin.
If reliable protection is a top priority, Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security (opens in new tab) needs to be on your shortlist. Bitdefender products are loved by the independent testing labs, highly rated for malware removal, performance and usability.
Most of the features work automatically – anti-malware, firewall, web advisor, URL filtering (opens in new tab) – but you can also customize 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.
Formerly Panda, WatchGuard Endpoint Security (opens in new tab) protects against a wide range of threats including known and unknown zero-day malware, fileless malware, ransomware, advanced persistent threats (APTs), phishing attacks, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and can also thwart any malicious in-memory exploits.
While most users will be happy with its default mode of operation, the platform is flexible enough to make way for exceptions. If you know what you’re doing, you can allow the execution of an item that has been flagged as a threat.
All of its functionality is exposed via a remote cloud interface, which makes installation a non-issue and management fairly straightforward. The platform offers a detailed look into the endpoints, and also offers detailed forensic information to all malicious activities.
While Watchgaurd offers well-rounded protection, you should note that not all features are available for all supported platforms. For instance, device control, to control user access to the devices connected to the computer, are only available for Windows clients.
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.