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Why you need to update your anti-virus solutions right now

The return of ransomware attacks is causing havoc for companies small and large. With the UK seeing a rise in the amount of cyber security related incidents, from the WannaCry attack in May 2017 to the Petya invasion last month, there is a now a dire need for small businesses to ensure they have the right IT support and security basics in place.

Anti-virus alerts on a computer screen, illustration

Despite the increase in attacks, many businesses are still relying on anti-virus software that doesn't give an effective amount of protection against the hackers of modern times. Experts agree that businesses need to work on a layered approach to cyber security to make sure they’re don’t become a victim. To have the best protection you need to be equipped with more than just anti-virus solutions.

Does that mean that anti-virus is completely pointless? Well, no. Not exactly. Anti-virus still has some benefits as part of a bigger, more comprehensive plan. Trojan horses, for example, still exist on the Internet. These sneaky viruses are ready and waiting for someone to click on a spam email and put them to good use. In these cases, anti-virus can be incredibly helpful and will catch and detect them without a problem. But when it comes to new cyber risks, anti-virus falls short.

In a recent study, McAfee Labs found that there are at least 100,000 pieces of malware released on the internet every day. A standard anti-virus solution isn’t equipped to deal with this level of threat.

So what’s the solution? Catching modern malware requires anti-virus and anti-malware solutions to work together. Many small businesses struggle to keep software up-to-date, but it is something that is truly necessary to stay safe. Another cause for concern is that today’s IT departments also have restrictions on the level of control they have over their networks, in part because of the sheer number of endpoints. From employees working in the office, to those using mobile devices and working remotely, or using cloud-based services, if malware attacks, a total lockdown is tricky, and actually almost impossible, to do.

The first step to improve your cyber security

Small businesses need to work on incorporating a layered approach to their security. It doesn’t make sense anymore to rely on just one tool to help protect from viruses and malware. The more tools and systems in place, the easier it will be to stay protected from the modern-day malware forces at work.

Tools that can be used symbiotically to prevent breaches:

•    Firewalls and sandboxes – these can stop malware that the standard anti-virus solution might miss or fail to identify.

•    Backup and disaster recovery plans – having in-depth and comprehensive plans in place will ensure that, in the case of infection, IT support can restore files and folders to their original condition, minimising downtime and saving money.

•    Strong authentication and access control – having this in place can help in situations where you need to remove credentials and wipe devices to stop information being stolen.

•    Automating alerts for updates and changes – so patches and new software versions can be installed in good time.

•    Employee education – this is important to help company staff understand what to do and not do when it comes to working on the internet, especially when it comes to email.

However, to put an effective anti-virus and malware system in place, it is necessary for the proper groundwork to be laid. Each layer in the layered approach must also be properly and regularly monitored and updated, especially when new threats emerge. Doing this will ensure you have the best possible defence against attack.

If you’re concerned about your company’s risk from cyber-attack, it pays to have protection in place. If you don’t have an internal IT department, our managed IT support solutions could really help.

Monitoring is at the heart of our business IT services. We take a proactive approach to ensuring you are protected from anti-virus and malware. Security updates and firmware is patched through immediately when necessary and any issues will be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

Talk to the experts at Xenace now to see how we can help you keep your company safe. 

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