#2 – Antivirus

Michael AguSafer ComputingLeave a Comment

Cyber-attacks are one of the most serious threats that modern businesses have to face. While keeping our computers up to date helps keep us protected from attacks that take advantage of the vulnerabilities on the software we use, there are other forms of cyber-attacks that target individuals or businesses as a whole. One of the most common forms of Cyber-attacks is ransomware.

What is Ransomware

Malware is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or computer network. A wide variety of types of malware exist, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and scareware.

Ransomware is one form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. Victims are shown instructions for how to pay a fee to get the decryption key. The costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

Recent articles and research shows that ransomware attacks are on the rise. According to the 2019 Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report. An increasing proportion of smaller firms are now caught up in the cyber battle. Small and medium sized firms are much more likely to have suffered multiple attacks this year, and on average the proportion of small and medium firms that have had an attack has increased 59%.

Protecting yourself from Malware

While there are many things to do to stay protected from existing and new online threats, using a decent anti-malware solution helps protect us from malware that might find their way through into our network. 

What about Antivirus?

“Antivirus” and “anti-malware” mean the same thing. They both refer to software designed to detect, protect against, and remove malicious software. Contrary to what the name might suggest, antivirus software protects against more than virus. It just uses a slightly antiquated name to describe what it does. 

Which Antivirus should you use?

While Ant-Malware (Anti-Virus) vendors release several updates daily to keep users protected from newly found threats, some anti-malware vendors use technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect the more elusive type of malware, while anti-malware solutions designed for businesses go a bit further with features such as behavior monitoring and data loss prevention technologies to further protect your business.

While there is no best anti-malware, there are various external organizations that continuously test many anti-malware solutions against known malware samples to see how they well they perform. AV-Test and AV-Comparatives are two of such organizations that do these comparisons.

Managed Anti-Malware

As you can see on the charts above, no anti-malware solution is perfect. While some anti-malware solutions fail to catch more malware than others shown with the red topmost bar on the chart, some of them have more false positives than the rest, denoted by the orange line on the bottom of the chart. A false positive is where a legitimate file or program is block or removed by your anti-malware solution. 

Managed anti-malware is simply an anti-malware solution that is managed centrally. The management console can be a website or software installed on a central server that communicates with all your computers. It makes it easier to manage the anti-malware settings on your computers all at once as well as the disruptions that can be caused due to a false positive, and in most cases also equip you with additional tools to aid in the quick recovery from an or a an actual incident of a malware slipping through the cracks.

Why use managed anti-malware for your business?

Clearly, it’s a big plus to be able to focus on your core business without thinking about data security. But using a managed anti-malware solution also has other benefits:

  • Cost-effective pricing – Per computer pricing  gives you the flexibility of paying for what you use each month

  • Consistent security – With a secure installation option, if would be impossible for an employee to turn off or uninstall a managed anti-malware solution just so they can access a possibly malicious site or file they deemed important.

    Regular updates – System-wide updates of virus definitions happen automatically and routinely, this means every device always have the latest version to keep you protected from recent threats.

  • Centralized management – Entrusting your antivirus management to a single source means that every device in your system has the most current versions.

  • Visibility without the distraction – While getting a pop up every time your security solution blocks a threat can be reassuring, it can also affect productivity in a fast paced environment. With managed anti-malware, the notifications can be removed from the user side and presented as weekly or monthly reports to keep you up to date on what types of attacks are being seen on your network, how it’s being dealt with and which users are more prone to accessing malicious files or sites

  • Rapid response – With small businesses constantly under attack from hackers and malware, managed antivirus solutions provides a single dashboard to monitor your security status and instantly isolate and clean compromised systems without a huge impact to the rest of your business.

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