Avast Business Cloud Protects Endpoints

If you're an SMB looking for an effective endpoint security solution, you might consider looking into the Avast Business cloud-managed security solution. I've previously found the solution to be effective for clients, and just recently launched the latest version and had it up and running in just a matter of a few minutes.

Sean Sykes, Avast

I took a look at the latest Avast Business cloud-based antivirus solution on the request of Sean Sykes, managing director, at the company. Sean told me he considers the Internet of Things (IoT) to be the wild west of the enterprise, and I think he's right. C-levels are hungry to gain value from big data, and the implementation push is on -- and this often means IT is challenged to contend with the demand for immediacy while engaging in something it hasn't handled previously.

In an SMB survey, Avast found that the awareness level of threats and their complexities is a concern among 75% of respondents and that 80% believe standards and compliance is important. However, 75% of those same believers have no standards or compliance policies in place, Sean said. He attributed this discrepancy to the lack of budget and expertise within the SMB base.

Avast sees this as an opportunity to deliver the cloud services portfolio that followed from its September 2016 acquisition of AVG Technologies, he said. The Avast Business portfolio includes three endpoint protection solutions customized for SMB security needs across devices, data, and identity protection for users.

A new centralized management console provides a managed antivirus option that enables an IT administrator to manage and set configurations on deployed antivirus clients. User-defined device groups allow the IT administrator to group devices logically (e.g. "servers," "sales," "HR, and "marketing") for improved display and policy settings. Reports on network activity such as viruses found and quarantined also are available via the console. In addition, Avast provides online help with a knowledge base and chat channel, Sean said.

Budget-conscious SMBs may not realize the ins and outs of IT security, and may want to rely on Avast and other partners that do know how to make businesses operate in a safer mode.

For mobile device management (MDM), Avast offers Managed Workplace, for Android and iOS devices. While not a full-fledged MDM platform, it does contain key functions like lock and wipe. Antivirus support is available for Android, with basic management on the roadmap for the Avast Business console.

A home network scan (HNS) allows you to see all network devices, including routers, with IPv4 or IPv6 addresses. My main router, named "dsldevice" has a wireless access point, named "bgw210." The rest of the devices are PC/Mac and mobile phones/tablets.

Here's quick sample list of of the types of vulnerabilities an HNS will find:

  • Routers/access points -- Configuration problems (for example, weak passwords, open ports) and vulnerabilities (matched by firmware versions)
  • PC/Macs -- Vulnerabilities such as EternalBlue and DoublePulsar, firewall configuration problems, unwanted applications, or malware exposing services on the network
  • Phone/tablets -- Vulnerabilities such as Samsung Smart Scan and Miniigd UPnP SOAP execution
  • IoT devices -- Missing security or vulnerabilities such as open telnet ports, and Mirai-compromised devices
  • All devices -- DNS hijacking

The good news for me is none of these showed up on my devices, and my new AT&T router appears secure. Avast actively updates the HNS with each monthly release of the endpoint product, and will update in between if a new threat appears. This is what makes the Avast Business cloud product proactive.

Here's the full lineup of the new Avast portfolio:

  • Avast Business Antivirus -- Endpoint protection provides real-time security defense with file, email, Web and behavior shields, plus anti-spam, smart scan, sandbox, real site, Wi-Fi Inspector features, and Avast's proprietary CyberCapture technology
  • Avast Business Antivirus Pro -- Includes all features of Avast Business Antivirus plus data protection services to secure Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers, Software Updater for third-party software updates, and Data Shredder to for deleting files permanently
  • Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus -- Includes all features of Avast Business Antivirus Pro plus identity protection for Wi-Fi connections and password management
  • Avast Business Management Console -- Ensures all endpoints are secure and up to date from a centralized console; available as a complement to the endpoint solutions, via cloud or premises deployment
  • Avast Business Managed Workplace -- Offers the option of Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus, integrated into the Managed Workplace remote monitoring and management platform, for Avast's highest level of endpoint protection. The latest version includes site security assessment to help identify, communicate, and resolve security risks
  • Avast Business CloudCare -- Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus is now available as a security service option in the CloudCare Web-based security portal

Every business must decide whether or not it's willing to accept the level of risk with no, inferior, or inconsistent security for the endpoints. But none should not be taking IT security for granted, and Avast Cloud services provide the tools SMBs need to deploy consistent and uniform security endpoint protection.

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