As cyber incidents continue to increase and exploit vulnerabilities within business networks, a good antivirus solution is critical to adding a layer of protection in safeguarding your business from bad actors. Antivirus software helps protect your company’s sensitive data against breaches by integrating and checking for and protecting against viruses, spyware, and malware. In this article, we’ll review how antivirus works and what steps businesses must take to maximize security.

Types of Cyber Threats

First, it’s important to understand the various forms of malware to appreciate the significance of antivirus protection.

Computer Virus:  A type of malicious software that spreads between Networks and Computers. It can cause damage to data and software, disrupt systems, affect business operations and, more importantly, result in data loss and leakage.

Spyware:  A type of malicious software unknown to a user, that accesses and gathers data (user accounts/passwords/Personally Identifiable Data), and subsequently exports and sells to third-party actors.

Malware:  Pertains to hostile, nasty, intrusive software that invades and seeks to disable/damage systems and networks.

Viruses, malware, and spyware can be compared to a cold or flu. The best way to combat it is to be proactive and take preventative measures. When a system gets compromised, data can be stolen, encrypted, and ransomed, and your business is pressured to pay for decryption keys to regain access to your data. Think of antivirus software as getting a flu shot to prevent catching the flu, so antivirus software would be just like a flu shot.

How Antivirus Works

Antivirus can protect businesses from many malicious attacks, including viruses, worms, Trojans, and ransomware. It performs real-time scanning (new, modified files), proactive threat monitoring (analyzing behavioral patterns), and zero-day analysis (using heuristics).

Good antivirus software also checks in real-time for web exploitations and network threats. Your IT Department should enable real-time monitoring that generates alerts when a virus or malware is detected, as well as weekly reports. Antivirus software provides one layer of protection to your business and should be utilized in conjunction with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software that provides analytics, reporting, and forensics about security incidents.

Take Antivirus Further: Educate Your Employees

However, antivirus software alone is not enough to thwart secure your systems. A critical part of protecting your business also involves educating your employees on the different tactics employed by bad actors attempting to gain access to their systems. At IT Acceleration, we recommend these areas of training on cyber security best practices:

  • Only accessing websites that are secure with a valid certificate and https: which tells you that the data transferred from your browser to the website is encrypted.
  • Identifying links received in an email from an unsolicited source or suspicious-looking emails.
  • Checking with their IT department before downloading any IT software.
  • Creating strong passwords.

What to Look for in an Antivirus Software

As you can see, antivirus is integral in keeping your endpoints safe from being compromised. However, there is a lot of competition in the antivirus software arena, and the options can be overwhelming. Many providers have similar signature-based detection capabilities but vary when it comes to additional protection levels or packages. Businesses should look for antivirus software with good reviews and the following features for advanced protection:

  • Advanced threat capabilities that also use heuristics, AI, and behavior monitoring
  • Updates frequently
  • Compatibility with your operating system
  • Ransomware mitigation

According to “the ascent,” the following are their top 11 best picks for Antivirus solutions:

Consider conducting online research to compare antivirus solutions and what will work best with your system.

Going Beyond Antivirus Software

A comprehensive antivirus tool should be part of every cybersecurity plan, but it’s just one step. Many businesses lack the technical expertise and partner with a managed service provider (MSP). MSPs can help businesses implement cybersecurity policies, set up additional security tools (including firewalls and endpoint detection and response technology), and SOC services. Don’t wait until you’re a victim of a cyber-attack – protect your business today with antivirus software and a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. At IT Acceleration, we work with clients to implement safeguards against cyber-attacks with the most advanced tools and 24/7 monitoring. To learn more, schedule a call today.

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