If you’re a small business or an organisation looking to tighten the purse strings, then cybersecurity may be a consideration that falls by the wayside. The truth is, however, that cyberattacks are a real threat to businesses of all sizes. Foregoing the proper measures puts you at serious risk, and can lead to all sorts of monetary losses, data breaches and damaged reputations.
As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, the sheer amount and frequency of them means they now pose a near-daily threat to both businesses and individuals. And while this sounds like you’ll need costly software to take care of, don’t fret. There are plenty of affordable cybersecurity tools that can protect your business without troubling your wallet.
For those whose funds are on the scarce side, take a look at this selection of inexpensive security tools you can use to safeguard your business and with ease.
- Antivirus software
- Firewall software
- Password managers
- Virtual private network (VPN)
- SSL certificate
- Online backup
- Data encryption/full disk encryption
Perhaps the first thing you’ll need if you’re looking to strengthen your cybersecurity, antivirus is essential in the battle against outside attacks. Designed to detect and remove viruses and other forms of malware, antivirus can help a lot in preventing malware and cyber threats, though it doesn’t guarantee absolute security.
And though many premium packages of this kind have a price tag to match, there are plenty of free and cheaper ones available too, including:
One of the few free commercially-licensed solutions available to businesses, Comodo Antivirus provides a critical line of defence against internet threats. Its basic package is free to use for everyone, but even a year’s worth of full coverage is only $4.99, providing you with safety from any kind of malware, automatic scanning of downloaded files, internet security and much more.
Slightly more expensive, but worth the increased price tag, Avast’s business plans are well-suited to smaller organisations. One year of protection will set you back around £28, and offers four levels of antivirus: an impenetrable firewall, CyberCapture (a constantly updated threat analyser) and SmartScan, an unobtrusive security scanning system that runs without slowing down your PC.
The first line of defence between your network and the internet, firewalls prevent the entry of known malicious programs sent by hackers and can also stop data leaking from your device elsewhere.
Before you look for firewall software, it’s worth noting that software firewalls are often built into your device’s operating system and hardware firewalls can be found in routers. You might just need to check to see if yours are enabled.
If you want some added protection or you don’t have any built-in firewalls, then you might want to try these options:
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2019
Only available for Windows, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2019 nevertheless includes a stealth mode to help keep you safe from hackers and malware. Great for any remote workers connected to public Wi-Fi networks, when you’re in need on an extra layer of protection.
Another free Windows-only, AVS combines several security measures to truly optimise your safety. It includes blocking incoming connection requests and enables users to select which application can connect to the internet, as well as registry activity monitoring, alterations blocking, and an ad and popup blocker.
In the realm of cybersecurity, strong passwords are essential. No matter the account. Provide best-practice guidance so your employees are aware of the importance of using different, difficult-to-guess passwords.
However, with so many passwords floating about the office, it can be tough to keep track of them all. Writing them down is out of the question, as this is an even bigger security issue. What you can do is use a password manager that remembers and auto-fills passwords for you. Though they can take a little time to set, they’re a highly valuable tool to have on board.
For a free option, KeePass might be short on some of the features of other password managers, but as a no-cost alternative, it does the job.
With team plans that start at $4 per user per month, LastPass is slightly more expensive but it lets you save and fill passwords, generate new passwords, share on a one-to-one basis, and enable multi-factor authentication. Additional features such as one-to-many sharing and priority tech support are also available, but only at a slightly increased cost.
Virtual private network (VPN)
Not just for personal use, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a valuable security tool, taking internet traffic flowing to and from a device and forcing it through an encrypted tunnel via an intermediary server. This means that anyone intercepting this traffic will be unable to read it.
When using a VPN, anyone attempting to monitor your business’ online activities will be unable to do so. And though they aren’t free, there are some VPNs that are tailored to small business. However, their monthly fees are very reasonable, so you might want to consider these options.
A customisable VPN service, Perimeter 81 enables you to add members, create groups, manage permissions and monitor resource access, bandwidth consumption and network anomalies. All that for $8 per month per team member.
A more affordable alternative, ScribeForce costs just $3 per user per month, which is pretty much the minimum you’d pay for a decent VPN for personal use, plus you get a management panel, shared static IP addresses and centralised billing.
It’s important that your website stays secure. Implementing HTTPS and getting an SSL certificate sounds complicated, but it’s a straightforward procedure. And with great benefits like traffic encryption that prevents things like ISP snooping, it lets users know that your site is authentic.
Provided by the Internet Security Research Group, Let’s Encrypt is an automated certificate authority that grants you with the certificate you need to enable HTTPS on your website. The website explains how to go through your web hosting provider to demonstrate control over your domain and obtain your certificate.
Loss of data can be a hugely damaging problem for business, so maintaining regular backups is vital. Though you can store data on a hard drive, a popular alternative is cloud backup, since they offer a more streamlined, hassle-free method of backing up files and data.
Free options tend to be limited on storage space and features, so it’s worth looking at these budget-friendly options instead:
With business plans that start at $74.62 a year for 250GB, iDrive’s paid options allow for an unlimited number of users, computers and servers. So, for businesses looking for extensive storage that’s kept under lock and key, it’s pretty much an essential.
For something more affordable, Backblaze offers $60 per year per computer, netting you unlimited, continuous and complete backup, along with free hard drive restore, centralised administration and a host of other features.
Data encryption/full disk encryption
If you need extra protection for your cloud-stored data, then a layer of encryption can help. This means if anyone does get access to important files, they’ll be unable to decipher their contents. Although many cloud backup and storage services include encryption by default, there are some inexpensive options for extra file encryption, such as:
Encrypto provides a streamlined solution for file encryption, individual files can have their own password attached, then the file can be uploaded to the cloud, stored on your computer and then shared if you choose. Entirely free, it works on both Windows and Mac computers.
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