How to choose antivirus software that suits your company
- How to
- 5 May 2023
- Edited 24 Nov 2022
- 3 min
- Managing and growing
- Secure business
Antivirus software protects your business from cybercrime. How do you decide which program is right for your company? Security expert Mark Kolk explains what to look for when choosing antivirus software.
What is antivirus software?
Common antivirus programs detect harmful files entering your network and removes them. Antivirus programs with Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) work differently. These monitor files within your system and record what happens to them. The program steps in if unknown software changes your files. Antivirus software not only protects your computer or network against viruses but also against various forms of malware.
Choosing antivirus software
Mark Kolk, director of Quality ICT, says that the choice of security software depends on several factors. Consider if you are working with sensitive information that is valuable to cybercriminals.
Are you a freelancer who mainly sends emails and has invoices on a laptop? Then, according to Kolk, a simple antivirus program and a regular backup are sufficient. Tips for choosing cheap or free security software can be found on the internet.
Do you use sensitive customer information (in Dutch), or unique, technical information? Then invest in a more advanced security system. “A company with such data or information is more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals,” says Kolk.
Which security software is right for you, depends on the digital information that your company stores. Your IT supplier or a cybersecurity company can help you make your choice.
Choosing between antivirus techniques
There are 2 different techniques that antivirus software uses. Kolk explains how these work.
“Standard antivirus software lists all known detected viruses in a file. When you update the software, the antivirus program updates this ‘blacklist’. As soon as the program encounters a file on your computer that is on this list, the program deletes this file.”
Endpoint Detection and Response
“Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is suitable for companies that need extra security against the latest malware. More companies are choosing this software to better protect themselves. It does not have a list of known viruses but detects what your files do. If a file suddenly changes other files in your system, the EDR software performs a so-called ‘roll back’. Basically, the antivirus program puts everything back as it was and removes the infected malware file.”
Protect a device or network
You can choose to protect 1 computer with the antivirus software, or your entire network. This is possible with both the standard and EDR antivirus software. You can also protect your entire network with a ‘managed’ system. Kolk explains: “In this more advanced version, you can keep track of notifications and preventive scans for an entire company network in one central location. For example, via a ‘management dashboard’. You manage the software yourself via this dashboard, or outsource it to an IT company.”
What are the costs?
Antivirus software to protect your network against malware will cost you about €5 per device per month. The protection of your network with EDR software costs about €7 per device. If you prefer to leave the monitoring and regular updating of your security to an IT company, it will cost you about €2 extra per month. “But that saves you working hours for your company. You can also take out cyber insurance. This will compensate for damage if cybercriminals hack your IT system. The insurer does have requirements for the digital security of your company.”
Your operating system, such as Windows, iOS, or Linux, and your internet provider also protect your computer and network from digital attackers. To use these built-in tools, you need to update your operating system regularly. In addition to your antivirus software, you can install a firewall as extra protection.
Update your operating system
Your operating system already provides basic security for your computer system. Kolk does not think this is sufficient. “It is unwise to only use this protection, because hackers know this widely used software and try to penetrate it. Install updates, as that fixes vulnerabilities in your system’s security. However, malware can sometimes slip through, and extra protection remains necessary.
Your domain or internet provider also helps by stopping suspicious spam messages. But your provider cannot stop every suspicious message. You have to stay alert to the trustworthiness of messages you receive. You can also purchase additional protection, such as antivirus software through your provider at an additional cost.”
As an extra defence, you can place a firewall directly behind your internet access. “A firewall regulates network traffic between your computer and the internet, and only allows secure connections. Standard, unencrypted messages are blocked by the firewall.” You can purchase the firewall separately, but it can also be part of your antivirus software. A firewall also warns you when you visit an unsafe website.
“For extra login security for your company network, you can use an Intrusion Protection or Detection System (IPS/IDS). As soon as laptops or smartphones connect to your company network via Wi-Fi, this system also scans the files coming to and from these devices. If you also actively monitor what files are doing within your network via your EDR, then you have digitally secured your company.”
Do you use antivirus software for your business? We would like to hear from you. Share your experience via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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