Business security is comprised of layers. Antivirus software should be one of those layers.
Previously, we wrote about how everything in coding should have layers of support where each layer assumes it needs to do the whole job. The same applies to security, you can never rely on just one thing to protect your business. While many businesses know the importance of security, they may not know that antivirus software is a necessary layer of protection. Startups especially have limited budgets for information security, so when their internet service provider (ISP) says they offer protection, some think that is all they need. But that could not be farther from the truth. Every business needs layers of security, including that protection offered by the ISP, and those layers should include antivirus, antimalware and antispyware software at a minimum.
As consumers, we know that it is important to have antivirus protection on our personal devices. We hear it all the time, that these services can help keep machines clean and protect them from nefarious activity. But when it comes to our businesses, we tend to think that security is some magical voodoo that only a shaman can produce. The reality is, security isn’t all that different for businesses as it is for consumers. Yes, businesses need to be more aware of their responsibility to customers and be compliant with regulatory bodies, which means that their security protocols must be more stringent than what we have in our homes. But some of the same methods can be applied in both scenarios.
The household names we know are Norton, McAfee, Kapersky, BitDefender and more. All of those companies offer business solutions. Or, if you’re a small startup with only a few devices, you could set it up initially as a personal account. You just have to understand that as your business grows, you’ll have to change your plan. Personal accounts cannot grow with your business, but it’s a better-than-nothing option for budget purposes.
Before you begin the hunt for the right software, you must first determine what protection you need. How many devices need protection? How often do you want to run scans? Are you starting your business with cloud services (as you should)? What other protections do you plan to put in place (ie. firewalls)? Do you need your software to scale or is what you sign up for going to hold you over for the time being? Do you also want antimalware, ransomware protection, hard disk cleanup options, adware and/or spyware?
Once you determine what your business needs, you can seek out software that provides it. You can find comparisons of each antivirus provider with a simple search, but remember to compare more than cost. Yes, cost is a factor, as it should be, but the biggest factor you’re looking for is what you get covered for that price. If the plan is $99/year, what does that include? If you find yourself in a place where one plan isn’t quite enough and another plan is just way more than you need, try calling the company. See if they can find some wiggle room to tailor a program that meets your needs without going overboard with features you won’t use or don’t need. Or get inventive and see if you can mix products. Be careful, though, trying to install two or more all-in-one solutions will cause enough headaches you may just decided unplugging form the internet is the most secure path.
The point here is that every business should have antivirus software protection as part of its security layers. Businesses should also have firewalls, geofences where compliance requires, they should have regular employee training on cybersecurity and how to recognize a scam or phishing scheme, and ensure proper IAM controls are in place (meaning that people only have access to the systems they need for job function).
When it comes to storage, there should be added layers of security around stored data. Blockchain techniques where applicable, proper configuration of storage systems, storing data away from the broad internet, utilizing cloud services and microsegmentation as much as possible.
Antivirus software (and the rest) has more than one purpose. They will monitor your business and protect against known virus strains, and they have tools integrated that help keep business systems clean and operating at max efficiency. But that is all they do, which is why you need added layers of security to keep out and/or mitigate the risk of someone accessing your sensitive business information.
A key point to remember is that hackers are forever changing their tactics and habits. AI and ML are fast becoming normal integrations for hacking tools, making it even easier for bad actors to get the information they want. This is why layers matter. Software can only do what it’s programmed to do, and with threats coming from all directions, you need more than one guard on your team. Never assume you have enough security, there’s no such thing as too much. So if you’re not using antivirus software, it’s time to investigate and make sure it’s part of your security toolbox.