The Importance Of An Antivirus
Why do many managed IT service providers place so much emphasis on security? Let’s illustrate with a story. The day begins with you rolling over to your phone to check email. After a shower, breakfast and coffee, and some light workouts, the work day begins. Working from home cuts commute time to 15 seconds. You log into your workstation to check any missed emails. An Amazon email order arrives in your inbox. You click on the message, then the link to track your package. Turns out the link you clicked was a phishing attempt and you now have a compromised workstation. Panicking is a normal reaction at this time and you’re unsure of what to do next.
You’ve read about scenarios similar to the story above. Malware takes over the computer and now the hacker is asking for Bitcoin or money to unlock the data. What do you do next?
Working for a managed IT service provider has taught me to always have an antivirus app installed on every device. Back in the olden days, word of mouth from Apple made Macs seem safe from any malicious attacks. The statement is simply not true. While Macs were not widely adopted as quickly as Windows, the demand for Mac devices has risen recently and thus attracted more cybercriminals. Fast forward to today, all devices, whether Windows or macOS are exposed to security vulnerabilities. Performing Windows and macOS updates practices good technical hygiene. With that said, here are 10 important reasons for installing an antivirus for any device.
1. Malware & Virus Protection
Malware & viruses consistently work to penetrate vulnerabilities inside a company system. For example, countless bots or entities probe networks on a regular basis to determine what exposures are open to infiltrate. What can a small business do to help combat malicious actors? First, every single piece of hardware connected to the Internet will need to have an antivirus software in place. No matter what type of operating system (OS) is in place, macOS or Windows, each workstation requires a proactive antivirus. Second, ensuring all network appliances and devices remain updated continuously. All hardware and software requires continuous updates to combat opened vulnerabilities that bad actors look to expose. Similarly performing regular software updates to the workstation will help with practicing great computer hygiene.
Lastly, the antivirus requires proactive services. In case a virus or other malicious software penetrated the system, the proactive antivirus application will detect, quarantine, and note the virus is trying to attack the computer. After the virus is stored in the quarantine state, the antivirus software will be able to zap away the virus and store the virus’ digital fingerprint for future knowledge. A small business can implement a full fledge antivirus app throughout the entire organization at a reasonable cost. No matter the size of the company, every workstation, server, or other network hardware requires antivirus.
2. Defense Against Data Thieves
Data thieves are lurking to steal sensitive information from businesses daily. In fact, small businesses are targeted more often due to the lack of resources and lesser security protocols implemented. What can small and medium businesses do to protect themselves from uninvited digital guests? For starters, educating company associates on digital threats provides employees information that wouldn’t be sought. Educational cybersecurity training consist of faux phishing emails, fake landing pages, and internal email spoofing. Small business cybersecurity training became an essential part of any organization during the pandemic as phishing emails ran rampant.
What other tactics will help deflect data thieves? In general implementing complex passwords throughout digital touch points deters easily guessable passwords. Complex passwords help prevent data theft. The harder to guess the password, the more difficult external bad actors will have confiscating data. In addition, incorporating an encryption strategy for sensitive data will help keep information secure. For instance, using a third party system like Hightail or ShareFile, will help keep data encrypted and sent to the proper receiver.
Proactive cybersecurity education and training will remain important for businesses of all sizes. Providing that extra education for employees will save the business tons of time, energy, and money in the long run.
3. Ensures Protection From Removable Devices (Thumb Drives)
Stop me if you’ve heard this story. An unmanaged thumb drive lying around the office or household becomes an option to save data on the drive. Once plugged in, the computer slows down and becomes unresponsive. A virus installed wiping away all of the data on the hard drive. While reasonable to panic and worry, what steps can you perform to get your data back? For starters, the computer will require a diagnostics check to determine the main issue. Depending on the technical level, you may be able to perform the virus removal yourself and recoup the data. Here’s why installing an antivirus would’ve prevented this type of incident.
A proactive antivirus application will work on combating the virus in the background, attempting to quarantine the malicious entity. Anytime the computer feels an unwelcome digital guest penetrated the computer, the antivirus will spring into action moving the virus into a quarantine state. The antivirus software will quarantine the malicious actor into a vault for evaluation. The antivirus app will deem the threat viable and archive said threat into the vault. In fact checking the antivirus vault regularly will help keep the computer clean and at peak operation. Adding passwords to thumb drives helps combat unmanaged drives. A password prevents anybody from using the thumb drive without the required credentials to access.
4. Increases Your Computer’s Lifetime
An antivirus app is more than a virus butt kicker. A solid antivirus will help elongate a computer’s lifespan. For instance, computers that aren’t hit with viruses or other bad software tend to outlive computers that have been hit with viruses. While the computer’s hardware isn’t affected per se, repairing the destruction the virus performs on the computer will be detrimental. Some malware encrypts a computer or an entire system and will not relinquish the data unless a ransom is paid in cash or Bitcoin.
Similarly, investing in a good antivirus software will keep all users productive. No wasted time figuring out what’s going with a computer, waiting for a tech to resolve the issue, or spending capital on resolving the issue. Computers hit hard by viruses will cost a lot of time, energy, and resources to resolve. In other words, ensure the entire system and individual computer’s are running a solid security suite to fight off viruses, malware, and intrusions.
5. Comprehensive Threat Protection
Deciding on an antivirus software requires diligent research. Simply choosing an app that zaps away viruses, while a good start, shouldn’t be the only requirement. A proactive and solid antivirus covers many facets within the OS. For example, a proactive antivirus will identify bad actors upon arrival. The software will review the virus and quarantine said virus into the designated vault. In addition, the antivirus software will cover more than simple viruses.
You want the antivirus to be able to identify other malicious actors, such as malware, ransomware, and trojans. Detecting malware before any damage happens on the network can save a business time, energy, and resources. Identifying the infiltration prior to any damage performed helps plan the next action steps.
A security suite will protect a PC and network from various threats. Similarly partnering with a managed IT service provider will help with determining the optimal security suite for the business and network.
6. Peace of Mind Security
The thought of a computer virus disrupting a work day can cause some anxiety. Viruses have evolved into more than encrypting files and wrecking havoc on PCs. Sophisticated malware looks to exploit vulnerabilities and hold data ransom. An antivirus software will provide peace of mind.
The fact of the matter is installing an antivirus software will always be a solid idea. Even a basic app to scan the PC during non business hours will help prevent future issues. For example, a proactive antivirus app will automatically perform scan tasks. These scans run and determine if any bad entities are found. Once found, the suspicious entity becomes quarantined.
Humans make mistakes, but AV will help keep us safe. The goal is to set it and sort of forget it, a smart AV will update its own database threats automatically and know when a threat is incoming.
7. AV Scans Help Protect Your Computer
Without a doubt, antivirus applications help protect a computer. A proactive, smart, and reactive AV app will thwart many types of malicious programs on a PC. For instance, an AV app not only runs scans in the background, the software also looks for silent threats. These silent threats lurk in the background waiting for a specific action to take place before enabling itself. Scans are the main function of the AV software. Looking for background threats is one main reason an AV app will benefit any PC user.
As we pointed out, some viruses wait or require some sort of action to take place before being enabled. A smart antivirus application will run 24/7/365 looking for inappropriate digital guests. An AV scan will look throughout the entire system of a PC determining if any malicious or suspected malicious files are on the PC. Once found, the unwelcome entity moves into a quarantine state until the user removes the malicious entity from the PC. While in this vault, the entity won’t be able to initiate.
Smart AV apps will run automatically without input from a user. A proactive AV app will run scans, look for malicious files, and quarantine viruses all while you work on your day-to-day tasks with little to no interruption.
8. AV Protection at Home
An AV app is beneficial for home computers as well. The pandemic has shifted us to working from home, and being secure while working from home requires diligence and consistency. Installing an AV app at home will only benefit the PC’s long term care. You wouldn’t exclude a PC at the office from having an antivirus app, why do the same for a home PC?
While home PCs aren’t viewed as workstations, home PCs are just as valuable to viruses. Over this past year, home PCs have become work PCs. It’s a good idea to add AV to all home PCs, whether or not they’re used for work.
9. All Network Hardware Requires AV
PCs are the main piece of hardware that end users interface with on a daily basis. Though there are other touch points the company associate may be interacting with such as servers, network attached storage (NAS), VPNs and a remote desktop. These other hardware appliances will need their own antivirus software to prevent a malicious actor from breaking through. Firewalls act as a security guard at a gated community; without the appropriate credentials or identification, you’re not getting in.
Proper security must also be applied when accessing the company’s hardware from offsite. Without the correct username and password, a user will not be authenticated to access the company data remotely. Servers and other hardware devices are equipped with antivirus software to protect themself from vulnerabilities. In addition to workstations, protecting the server or other hardware pieces helps protect the entire company infrastructure.
10. Lowers Business Cost
One of the main perks of incorporating an AV strategy throughout your company is that it lowers business cost in the short and long term. For instance, a proactive & smart AV defender will allow workers to keep working instead of fussing with (and potentially ignoring) AV notifications. Workers won’t need to spend time troubleshooting a virus if they let the AV software perform all of the heavy lifting.
Lastly, AV prevents downtime if a computer becomes infected by malware. It’s important to realize that a down computer means lost productivity. When a business team member is unable to work, the business is losing money. An infected computer can take hours — or even days — to resolve, depending on how bad the virus is. All businesses are looking to lower expenses, and an AV cost will benefit the business’ bottom line.
Countless stories about a company targeted for ransomware has sadly become the norm. For instance, a recent ransomware attack on the colonial pipeline demonstrates the importance of implementing a solid cybersecurity plan. The initial investigation found unpatched vulnerabilities in the system and a phishing email that successfully fooled an employee. While an antivirus wouldn’t have helped protect the end users who succumbed to a phishing attack, proper security training would have been helpful. In addition, the unpatched vulnerability falls solely on the managed IT service provider.
The moral of the story: install an antivirus software no matter what OS a business implements. The more security and educational training provided, the more time can be spent on generating revenue, running the day-to-day, and performing necessary tasks for projects. A smart business will implement cybersecurity protocols for the entire organization.
While we work with numerous AV apps, we recommend the following list of antivirus software for your business or personal workstation.
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The Importance Of An Antivirus Why do many managed IT service providers place so much emphasis on security? Let’s illustrate with a story. The day begins with you rolling over to your phone to check email. After a shower, breakfast and coffee, and some light workouts, the work day begins. Working from home cuts commuteideas, innovation, management, technology, Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community