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What is Antivirus Protection for Business?

If you're a business owner, protecting your data is crucial. In this guide, we'll walk you through how to find the best antivirus protection solutions for your business.

Antivirus protection is software designed to detect, deflect and remove malware. This can include protection from viruses, spyware, phishing scams and other threats that could be used to infiltrate your digital systems and steal, misuse or corrupt information. Antivirus software guards your systems from a barrage of potential cyber threats in real time.

Do You Need Antivirus Protection?

No matter if you’re a small to mid-size business or an enterprise organization, all businesses have to take particular care when it comes to cybersecurity. Here’s why:

  • Sensitive Data. First and foremost, businesses have sensitive data to protect. This can include proprietary data or confidential customer data, which is the subject of consumer privacy laws. When data breaches and identity theft occur as a result of inferior cybersecurity, both companies and their customers suffer. 
  • Bank Accounts & Transfers. While information or data is often the target, hackers may also attempt to gain access to bank accounts or to transfer funds under the radar. To keep your business and personal accounts safe, up-to-date antivirus systems are crucial.
  • Actively Targeted. Businesses tend to present a larger target for hackers looking to score massive caches of consumer data or to make a name for themselves through hacktivism (disrupting professional systems for political or social reasons).
  • Size Doesn’t Matter. It doesn’t matter what size your business is. The fact that you have access to consumer data makes you a target, and it is incumbent on you to institute defenses that will protect against unwanted intrusion. Hackers target small businesses just as much if not more than enterprise organizations because they believe there may be lax security systems in place to protect against attacks. The bottom line is that antivirus solutions are essential in this day and age for all businesses.

As a business owner, you naturally want the best defenses, but you might not know where to start. What cyber threats do you face? What solutions will suit a small business versus a midsize or enterprise level operation? How can you find the right solutions for your particular needs? We’ve got you covered. We’ll walk you through what you need to know to select the best antivirus protection for your business.

Is your organization prepared for a cyber attack? Read this article from CDW experts to see how you can ensure you’re ready for any cyber threat.

Spyware

As the name implies, spyware is a form of malware that hides in your system and spies on activities, ostensibly to gather data that can be used for illicit purposes. This data can be used to break into other systems or spoof your online interfaces to collect user data, among other nefarious uses. 

Phishing

Phishing scams have been around for a while. As a result, many people now recognize the familiar format of a supposedly trusted entity seeking personal data that probably shouldn’t be transferred via insecure means like email. Even so, when such an attack comes from an email address posing as someone from your business and click-through leads to a website that looks like a recognized system, it’s still possible to be fooled. Phishing remains a threat today, and people within your own organization could be tricked into giving up data if they fail to recognize a scam.

Read our guide on Defending Against Cyber Attacks & Security Threats for more information on common types of cyber security threats.


Business Antivirus Solution Comparison

When it comes to comparing business antivirus solutions, you need to be aware of the types of antivirus software available and focus on key features that deliver the greatest protection for your needs.

Standalone Antivirus Software

Standalone antivirus software designed to identify and remove known viruses from your system may be a good place to start your search. Of course, this software may not include protection from other threats like spyware and phishing scams, leaving you vulnerable to an ever-growing array of threats. But, if you already have other protections in place, such as anti-malware and anti-spyware programs, standalone antivirus protection may suffice.

Antivirus Software Suites

Many companies seeking comprehensive coverage will find what they’re looking for in security software suites. These include an array of tools focused on real-time protection against a wide range of cyber threats. This type of comprehensive antivirus software could include safeguards against viruses, spyware, and other malware as well as added firewall defenses, password managers, and even a VPN, for example.

Cloud-Based Antivirus Software

Finally, you may want to consider cloud-based antivirus software, especially if you’re utilizing cloud-hosted applications extensively. These solutions allow you to protect multiple devices from anywhere. One key advantage is that, because it is hosted in the cloud, your own servers or systems won’t be slowed down by running the software.

Whether you select one type of business antivirus software or you use a variety of programs in concert to cover all your bases, the right solutions will depend largely on existing infrastructure and your specific needs.


Key Features to Consider

When it comes to choosing software, you’ll want to look for programs that protect your business in multiple ways. Here are some key features to look for in the best antivirus protection solutions for businesses:

  • Full-System Scan Options. On-demand scans and scheduled scan options should be available — for instance, the ability to run weekly scheduled scans.
  • Real-Time Protections. Your solution should have protections that run in the background and scan every file you open.
  • Regular Updates. Your preferred software should update frequently to identify and defend against the latest threats. The best antivirus solutions include smart heuristics that can recognize modified versions of known malware and update accordingly.
  • Cloud Backup. While this feature may not defend against an attack, it is handy to have in the event of an attack, allowing you to restore your files to a version that has been backed up to the cloud prior to the attack.
  • Check the Stats. Look for information on detection rates and false positives to make sure you’re choosing the most effective software.

Cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving. Read our tips on How to Manage Cybersecurity Risk in 2020.


What Does Antivirus Software Do?

Antivirus protection typically performs two key functions: 1) conducting real-time scanning in the background and 2) offering regular, full-system scans to apply the latest virus definitions to existing files.

Scans are designed to recognize a wide range of threats through:

  • Specific detection, based on existing virus definitions
  • Generic detection, which identifies families of malware
  • Heuristic detection, extrapolating from known virus definitions and behaviors to identify unknown threats, such as malware that has been modified to avoid detection

Antivirus software could include tasks like:

  • Behavior-based detection
  • Bookmarks
  • Data mining
  • Exact identification
  • Rootkit detection
  • Sandbox detection
  • Skeleton detection
  • Signature-based detection
  • And more

When a virus is detected (or in some cases, suspected), the software will protect your computer and your system by stopping the file from opening, quarantining/isolating, testing, deleting, segregating and/or alerting you that there’s a threat. 

Combine with Managed IT Support for Best Results

Comprehensive antivirus protection can do a lot, but occasionally, human intervention is required to eliminate threats. That’s why it’s also important to have IT professionals available for support in addition to installing antivirus software. 

Whether you have one IT specialist on staff, an entire department of IT professionals, or you’re outsourcing IT management, having the support you need when you face a cyber threat is equally as important as having the right software solutions in place.

CDW offers managed IT security services to help keep your systems running smoothly. Learn more.


Mobile vs. Computer Virus Protection

Businesses these days rely on a variety of devices to conduct operations and remain competitive. You may be working with PCs or Macs, laptops and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In some cases, you can find software solutions that offer security options for multiple devices, but many companies still take a piecemeal approach to protection, purchasing separate licenses and even different antivirus programs for their varied devices. What should you look for?

Laptop & Desktop Solutions

There is no shortage of antivirus protection options for computers. While some people claim Macs are more secure than PCs, this hasn’t really proven true over the years. Modern malware targets both systems with equal zeal, so you need to seek out software solutions designed specifically for your system. The good news is that many software developers offer versions for both PC and Mac.

Mobile Device Solutions

Any mobile devices you use for your business may require a different set of business antivirus protections specifically related to unprotected networks like open Wi-Fi. Having policies in place that warn employees against using unsafe public networks is a good start, but it’s wise to have proper protections in place, just in case your policies are ignored.

Endpoint Protection (For Enterprises)

If you operate an enterprise level company, you may also need endpoint antivirus solutions. These protect your corporate network from threats originating at endpoints like workstations, mobile devices, servers and virtually any electronic device that regularly accesses your network. Both Windows infrastructure and non-Windows OS (Mac, iOS, Android, etc.) must be addressed to ensure the safety of critical systems.


Get Protected With CDW

When it comes to finding the right antivirus protection for your company, there’s a lot on the line. The security of your whole operation could be compromised if you aren’t properly protected against current and future malware threats. The good news is that there’s a wide array of potential solutions designed to suit a variety of needs. 

CDW makes it easy to find the best antivirus software for your business.

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