Ask a Security Expert: How to Pick an Antivirus
Question: “What should organizations look for in an antivirus program?
-Jason Ballard, Sedona Technologies
Answer: Recent research shows that more than 60 percent of companies have already been affected by ransomware.
Given the prevalence of malware today, it is no longer a question of if an organization will be infected, but how often.
All businesses need an effective defense program that can either minimize the impacts of cyberattacks, or stop them altogether.
A larger issue is that security expertise is required to implement strong defenses, and to do that, they must know what to look out for.
Many companies simply don’t have the in-house expertise or dedicated IT security resources to protect themselves from cyberattacks.
When you’re considering an antivirus or endpoint security program, it’s important to understand that you will need multiple layers of defense to effectively stop the wide range of malware types that you or your users are likely to encounter.
Both IT security analysts and reputable vendors agree that security programs must have the capabilities to predict, prevent, detect, and remediate today’s sophisticated malicious attacks.
Ideally, the solution will not require daily administration by a security professional—potentially through automation.
To eliminate the burden of program management, look for solutions that either update automatically, or don’t require daily signature or definition updates.
They should be easily updated without having to go through a time-consuming uninstall and reinstall process.
Some antivirus solutions hog system resources and take a long time to perform system scans, which annoys users, raises support call costs, and lowers productivity.
Look to an antivirus that has a lightweight footprint.
After all, it’s no good being able to schedule a scan if that makes the device unable to perform any other task.
Additionally, a reliable antivirus program should be able to remove and remediate any malicious software it detects.
Some programs ask the user prior to removing infections, but most don’t automatically clean up the device.
That leaves the administrator with the burden of re-imaging the device to get it back to a truly usable state.
That’s why I would emphasize looking at the automation features and capabilities of any antivirus or antimalware tool—this way, less expertise, time, and operational costs are required.
Furthermore, organizations should look for an antivirus program that offers features that will keep users safe—features like phishing defenses, protection of login credentials, secure web browsing, an outbound firewall, and safe browsing searches that include user warnings before they access potentially harmful or dangerous websites.
The purpose of an antivirus program is to prevent, detect, and remove viruses and any other form of malware.
As the quantity, uniqueness, and severity of cyberattacks continues to rise, it is clear that malware is going to persist and it’s critical for organizations to ensure they have real-time protection in place to protect their computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
George Anderson is director of product marketing at Webroot.
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