How to Choose the Right Antivirus Solution for Your Company
Compared to some 20 years ago, antivirus software applications – and the businesses that use them – have evolved to encompass a suite of valuable features including secure data storages, email scanning tools, data shredders and much more. There’s no way around it: Choosing the right antivirus solution is an important task, with the more reliable variants able to help protect the user and a business from a myriad of security threats – all while significantly reducing the risks of data breach.
In this article, we’re going to focus on three primary elements to take into consideration when choosing an antivirus solution: Memory and CPU usage requirements, “local” antivirus versus a cloud-based approach and the limitations of antivirus software in 2019 (and the limitations of the built-in Windows solution).
Memory and CPU Usage Requirements
It’s a question we hear regularly from customers: Why do antivirus programs eat up so much RAM?
The simple answer is that the function of these programs is to detect malware, and to do that, there needs to be recognition/search patterns to compare files with a database of known threats. Those patterns (sometimes referred to as fingerprints or signatures) are in reality not that large, but there are a massive number of threats out there, and therefore many of these signatures are required.
A malware scanner has to check seven million signatures against each of roughly 300,000 files on a hard disk – within a fraction of a second.
Here’s the way we see it, though: Considering the benefits you gain from installing antivirus software on your business network, the amount of space it demands really becomes almost inconsequential; making space for virus protection is much cheaper than having your IT staff fix infected computers. Moreover, there does exist antivirus software that takes up a relatively small amount of disk space and likely won’t require any backup to accommodate it.
“Local” versus Cloud-Based Antivirus
When it comes to antivirus solutions, there are two major choices for business entities: An on-premises managed approach you pay for once (per computer) with yearly renewals, or a cloud-based system for which you pay a monthly subscription fee. Both receive regular updates to protect against new viruses and malware, with many cybersecurity vendors offering both an on-premises and cloud version of their solutions.
Each option has its own pros and cons, and each can be a good fit for your company depending on the environment in which it’s being used.
On-Premises Antivirus Pros:
- Lower cost, with a single yearly payment typical
- Highly configurable
- Server-based management console
On-Premises Antivirus Cons:
- Large file sizes take up space on your hard drive
- May require manual updating (thus, tech labor)
- Less control over users introducing malware via USB drive or email attachments
Cloud-Based Antivirus Pros:
- Additional protections (phishing alerts, hardening, et al.)
- Automatic updates, making security more reliable
- “Agent”-based install (small background app)
Cloud-Based Antivirus Cons:
- Higher cost, typically via a monthly subscription payment
- Can interfere with other cloud-based services (unless both are configured properly)
The Limitations of Antivirus in 2019
While antivirus software definitely helps against hacks, it doesn’t provide the invincibility that many users believe it does. The bottom line here is this: Hackers have gotten better at getting around such programs, and in rare cases have even used antivirus software itself to access sensitive data.
Into this foray has come the Windows Defender system, a built-in solution based on Microsoft Security Essentials that offers devices basic protection across the board from malware, spyware and viruses. But there are a number of limitations attached to using Defender, including slower scan speeds, a lack of an all-encompassing approach to protection and an inability to detect threats in the first place (as opposed to its ability to proficiently eliminate threats).
Should you want to learn more about the ways you can detect threats on your business’ computers, consider turning to a DMS iTech antivirus service – you’ll be well on your way to developing a more secure computer environment that protects both you and your customers’ business.