What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?



  • Hi all,

    I'm talking about company sized with around 110 staff, all windows, most useful service is File Server service, using Office 365 for emails, not hosting website/email locally.

    We have Office 365 essentials for email, but no additional tools like spam filter.
    We have general antivirus ESET, but no specialized anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti.....
    We have firewall, but not additional add on like Outbound filters, etc.....
    We don't have vulnerability scanners, commercial tools to monitor heartbeat of machines and network devices, no opendns kind of service etc...

    So my question is, most of the time SMB's can't afford tools/services like spam filter, specialized anti-malware(malwarebytes), vulnerability scanner etc., does it mean we need to leave these things since we don't have tools? Are these tools really worthy for this size of company? are they necessary?

    Thanks for response!



  • Just because a lot of the tools cost a small fortune doesn't mean there aren't better alternatives.

    Zabbix to monitor everything is a great place to start.


  • Service Provider

    @openit said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    We have Office 365 essentials for email, but no additional tools like spam filter.

    That includes an enterprise spam filter, though. You are already paying for one, even enormous companies don't generally opt for a second one. Some do, but not many.


  • Service Provider

    @openit said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    We don't have vulnerability scanners, commercial tools to monitor heartbeat of machines and network devices, no opendns kind of service etc...

    Why not, that stuff is free.


  • Service Provider

    @openit said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    We have general antivirus ESET, but no specialized anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti.....

    Why not use Windows Defender, it's quite good, and free. Or move off of Windows, no need for it anymore, and even cheaper than "free".


  • Service Provider

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.



  • The most effective tool for SMB is training, particularly in the security segment. Nothing will provide you with more bang for your buck than this.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops. I have known multiple government entities on other countries that have move to Linux but then go back to Windows so it is very strange.


  • Service Provider

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops. I have known multiple government entities on other countries that have move to Linux but then go back to Windows so it is very strange.

    Most seem to do so only after loads of corporate pressure from MS partners, though. You never see any saying that Linux wasn't a big success. Just that they are going back to Windows regardless of the success of the alternative. Meaning, they got paid to go back.


  • Service Provider

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops.

    Yes, but in the SMB, you see essentially everyone on Windows, for little reason. But in the enterprise you only see some on Windows, normally because they chose it intentionally after evaluating other options.

    That's the difference. Enterprises almost always consider the options rationally. Windows is sometimes the right choice. SMB almost never make rational business decisions and just do whatever thing someone in control emotionally chooses.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops.

    Yes, but in the SMB, you see essentially everyone on Windows, for little reason. But in the enterprise you only see some on Windows, normally because they chose it intentionally after evaluating other options.

    That's the difference. Enterprises almost always consider the options rationally. Windows is sometimes the right choice. SMB almost never make rational business decisions and just do whatever thing someone in control emotionally chooses.

    Yeah, most SMB go for the easiest solution they can think of.


  • Service Provider

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops.

    Yes, but in the SMB, you see essentially everyone on Windows, for little reason. But in the enterprise you only see some on Windows, normally because they chose it intentionally after evaluating other options.

    That's the difference. Enterprises almost always consider the options rationally. Windows is sometimes the right choice. SMB almost never make rational business decisions and just do whatever thing someone in control emotionally chooses.

    Yeah, most SMB go for the easiest solution they can think of.

    No, I find very much the opposite. They go for the easiest "choice", but often the harder solution. They avoid easy solutions because they can't be bothered to look into them.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    One of the things that SMBs often do, is perceive the enterprise as paying a lot of things (and sometimes they do), and that the SMB can't afford the same kinds of things (and sometimes they can't.) But very often, we find the SMB paying far more than their enterprise counterparts. Sometimes this is simply because of scale, but often it is just because of either assumptions or not being willing to take the same measures.

    Many enterprises, for example, don't use Windows on the desktop (at least not often.) But SMBs almost never make this same decision. That's just an example, but an example where the average SMB will do a knee jerk "we have to spend money here" and the average enterprise will evaluate their need and see if it is a place where they can save money.

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops.

    Yes, but in the SMB, you see essentially everyone on Windows, for little reason. But in the enterprise you only see some on Windows, normally because they chose it intentionally after evaluating other options.

    That's the difference. Enterprises almost always consider the options rationally. Windows is sometimes the right choice. SMB almost never make rational business decisions and just do whatever thing someone in control emotionally chooses.

    Yeah, most SMB go for the easiest solution they can think of.

    No, I find very much the opposite. They go for the easiest "choice", but often the harder solution. They avoid easy solutions because they can't be bothered to look into them.

    I think so, you said better than I could do it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops. I have known multiple government entities on other countries that have move to Linux but then go back to Windows so it is very strange.

    Most seem to do so only after loads of corporate pressure from MS partners, though. You never see any saying that Linux wasn't a big success. Just that they are going back to Windows regardless of the success of the alternative. Meaning, they got paid to go back.

    What do you mean paid to go back? I'd like to see some figures, but I'm pretty sure Windows dominates the enterprise market, just like it does SMB. If enterprises are as clued up as you claim, that suggest Windows is just better and\or cheaper.


  • Service Provider

    @carnival-boy said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @dbeato said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    I still see a lot of Enterprises still on Windows for desktops. I have known multiple government entities on other countries that have move to Linux but then go back to Windows so it is very strange.

    Most seem to do so only after loads of corporate pressure from MS partners, though. You never see any saying that Linux wasn't a big success. Just that they are going back to Windows regardless of the success of the alternative. Meaning, they got paid to go back.

    What do you mean paid to go back? I'd like to see some figures, but I'm pretty sure Windows dominates the enterprise market, just like it does SMB. If enterprises are as clued up as you claim, that suggest Windows is just better and\or cheaper.

    And at scale, it often is. Enterprises get Windows at a fraction of the cost that the SMB does, and they have more need for AD, and less need for distributed workforces. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because something makes sense for many enterprises, that SMBs should fail to do their due diligence. That's how people started buying SANs for the SMB... because they mistook "scale needs" in the enterprise applied without scale - because they didn't look into how the technology applied.

    Enterprises are more likely to need Windows than the SMB, because they are more likely to have Windows-only legacy apps that have to be supported. Enterprises are less flexible, have more technical debt, and less ability to update. Those are all things that SMBs have an opportunity to outperform enterprises by being more flexible, more up to date, more aggressive.

    And one key difference, SMBs tend to use homogeneous desktop environments. They "choose" Windows. Enterprises almost never do. They almost always deploy desktops as needed. Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. They don't just force one to everyone. Somewhere, some must, but it's rare.


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller Microsoft charges more for Online Advanced Threat Protection right?


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    And one key difference, SMBs tend to use homogeneous desktop environments. They "choose" Windows. Enterprises almost never do. They almost always deploy desktops as needed. Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. They don't just force one to everyone. Somewhere, some must, but it's rare.

    Work for a 30K man company. I can have our VAR spec out whatever I really feel like and my boss will approve for a computer. Currently using the "standard choice" MacBookPro. When you use MDM API's and agents for management you don't really need to focus so much on a corporate "Image" (which Microsoft has been going away from as the SMB's tend to use it more). Our trusted stuff is behind SSO portals, or VDI generally.


  • Service Provider

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller Microsoft charges more for Online Advanced Threat Protection right?

    Yes, I believe so.


  • Service Provider

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    And one key difference, SMBs tend to use homogeneous desktop environments. They "choose" Windows. Enterprises almost never do. They almost always deploy desktops as needed. Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. They don't just force one to everyone. Somewhere, some must, but it's rare.

    Work for a 30K man company. I can have our VAR spec out whatever I really feel like and my boss will approve for a computer. Currently using the "standard choice" MacBookPro. When you use MDM API's and agents for management you don't really need to focus so much on a corporate "Image" (which Microsoft has been going away from as the SMB's tend to use it more). Our trusted stuff is behind SSO portals, or VDI generally.

    I used to be able to do that at the non-profit with Windows and MacOS, but they wouldn't let me have the Chromebook that I wanted - even though it would have been cheaper and more useful than the Macbook they made me get 😞


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    And one key difference, SMBs tend to use homogeneous desktop environments. They "choose" Windows. Enterprises almost never do. They almost always deploy desktops as needed. Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. They don't just force one to everyone. Somewhere, some must, but it's rare.

    Work for a 30K man company. I can have our VAR spec out whatever I really feel like and my boss will approve for a computer. Currently using the "standard choice" MacBookPro. When you use MDM API's and agents for management you don't really need to focus so much on a corporate "Image" (which Microsoft has been going away from as the SMB's tend to use it more). Our trusted stuff is behind SSO portals, or VDI generally.

    I used to be able to do that at the non-profit with Windows and MacOS, but they wouldn't let me have the Chromebook that I wanted - even though it would have been cheaper and more useful than the Macbook they made me get 😞

    Hijack Anyone sees value in an i9 beyond cooking things on my laptop? I do some video render jobs but not enough to care (or I wouldn't just throw at my desktop if they became a chore).
    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    I've noticed the biggest slowdowns on a Mac are

    1. Running the SSD low on space
    2. Putting the McAffee Virus with automated scanning of all files on access and no exceptions.


  • @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    And one key difference, SMBs tend to use homogeneous desktop environments. They "choose" Windows. Enterprises almost never do. They almost always deploy desktops as needed. Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc. They don't just force one to everyone. Somewhere, some must, but it's rare.

    Work for a 30K man company. I can have our VAR spec out whatever I really feel like and my boss will approve for a computer. Currently using the "standard choice" MacBookPro. When you use MDM API's and agents for management you don't really need to focus so much on a corporate "Image" (which Microsoft has been going away from as the SMB's tend to use it more). Our trusted stuff is behind SSO portals, or VDI generally.

    I used to be able to do that at the non-profit with Windows and MacOS, but they wouldn't let me have the Chromebook that I wanted - even though it would have been cheaper and more useful than the Macbook they made me get 😞

    Hijack Anyone sees value in an i9 beyond cooking things on my laptop? I do some video render jobs but not enough to care (or I wouldn't just throw at my desktop if they became a chore).
    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    I've noticed the biggest slowdowns on a Mac are

    1. Running the SSD low on space
    2. Putting the McAffee Virus with automated scanning of all files on access and no exceptions.

    Yeah. . . installing the McAfee Virus usually causes me issues too. . .



  • @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    Never. I've never, not once, seen anyone use remotely close to the amount of RAM they think they need (who doesn't run multiple VMs). It's always a waste of money when someone wants tens of gigs of RAM... 20 or 30gb plus. Even in the teens.

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.



  • @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    Never. I've never, not once, seen anyone use remotely close to the amount of RAM they think they need (who doesn't run multiple VMs). It's always a waste of money when someone wants tens of gigs of RAM... 20 or 30gb plus. Even in the teens.

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.

    I do hit 16GB I have in work PC occasionally, with Photoshop, Indesign and gazillion tabs in Google Chrome. I can imagine crossing 20GB, perhaps even getting close to 30GB.


  • Service Provider

    @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    Never. I've never, not once, seen anyone use remotely close to the amount of RAM they think they need (who doesn't run multiple VMs). It's always a waste of money when someone wants tens of gigs of RAM... 20 or 30gb plus. Even in the teens.

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.

    I need 16, but 32 is a lot.


  • Service Provider

    @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.

    I go past 8GB using mostly web browsers!



  • @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    Never. I've never, not once, seen anyone use remotely close to the amount of RAM they think they need (who doesn't run multiple VMs). It's always a waste of money when someone wants tens of gigs of RAM... 20 or 30gb plus. Even in the teens.

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.

    I need 16, but 32 is a lot.

    Yes I'm sure hte majority of ML users will. I'm talking about office type setting, typical "power" users, some drafters, programmers, etc.


  • Service Provider

    @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @scottalanmiller said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @obsolesce said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Also is 32GB of RAM seriously useful if you don't run VM's locally?

    Never. I've never, not once, seen anyone use remotely close to the amount of RAM they think they need (who doesn't run multiple VMs). It's always a waste of money when someone wants tens of gigs of RAM... 20 or 30gb plus. Even in the teens.

    For example, we have some serious drafters and programmers who swear they need lots of RAM, but I've never seen usage go past like 8 to 10 or so GB.

    I need 16, but 32 is a lot.

    Yes I'm sure hte majority of ML users will. I'm talking about office type setting, typical "power" users, some drafters, programmers, etc.

    I can definitely "get by" with 8GB, but 12GB is a lot more comfortable. I'm loving having 16GB now.


  • Service Provider

    @storageninja said in What are necessary/worthy/affordable tools for SMB?:

    Hijack Anyone sees value in an i9 beyond cooking things on my laptop?

    Nope.... 🥚



  • @obsolesce For the typical office worker that I have seen 8 is just fine



  • @storageninja No I sure don't. The "i" series I would consider best for gamers mostly.