— by Don Phravorachith

Is website anti-virus necessary?

Being a provider of website design development, I get asked these three questions regularly by clients:

  1. Do I need website anti-virus?
  2. Will hackers attack a small business, especially when I’m not selling products on the site?
  3. What company do you recommend?

Here’s how I answer:

Do I need website anti-virus?

Anti-virus is like insurance for your car, home, or health. Most of the time, you won’t use it. Unfortunately you can’t predict when problems will occur. And gosh darn, it always happens at the most inopportune moments (not that there’s ever an opportune time). So when something does happen, it’s quite chaotic and expensive to take care of if you don’t have insurance coverage.

The same situation is true for websites. Most of the time your site will not be compromised, but when it is, your online store (whether or not it’s an e-commerce site) is down until the site has been cleaned and restored. Search engines (especially Google) will take down your site, other computers’ anti-virus software will block access to your site, and you’ll have to pay a website security company to clean the site. Depending on the extent of the damage and whether you have a site backup and restoration arrangement with your hosting company, your loss may be significant. Getting hacked is chaotic, time consuming, and expensive. If it’s an e-commerce site or membership type of site, confidential client information may be compromised, thus posing a liability issue on top of the other losses. Basically you do not want to see a warning like this from your anti-virus when trying to access your own site.


Will hackers attack small businesses?

Hackers aren’t like Robin Hood who stole from only the rich and gave to the underprivileged. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that 31% of all cyber attacks are directed at businesses with fewer than 250 employees (small businesses). Hackers don’t discriminate based on company size or business type. If you’re on their target list, they can get in. But you can make it harder by implementing an anti-virus on your site.

What’s the best anti-virus?

There are so many website security companies, how do you choose? That’s a good question. The answer is to find a company that offers the most comprehensive plans to remove as much malware as possible. By this, I mean find a company that scans for as many types of cyber attack threats as possible, notifies of those threats, AND removes them from the site. Once the site has been cleaned, then it can be restored.

I use Sucuri on my own and my clients’ sites for the above reasons. It’s the most comprehensive for a reasonable price. There are others that scan and monitor, but don’t remove the malware. I recommend doing your own research to find the right anti-virus for your site.

Remember, you need to protect your website the same way you would protect your other valuable possessions.

Don Phravorachith

Don Phravorachith is the president of Neo Design Concepts, Inc. a Results-Driven print and digital marketing company that helps small to medium-size businesses get noticed and get found!