Earlier this month I read an article on CBC News by Andre Mayer discussing how antivirus software is “totally useless” in the face of growing malware and virus threats to business.
While I do not agree that antivirus software is useless, I found the article to ring true in that many business owners tend believe that endpoint software alone, often free versions, will keep their systems and confidential information secure. This single-layered approach is dangerous and as Andre points out has minimal effect in providing protection against organized crime funded malware attacks.
Andre further notes that “cybercrime is estimated to be a 3 billion US industry”, with stakes so high, the criminals have the upper hand and are generally well funded and a few steps ahead of their target - you.
While it may not be possible to eliminate virus or malware problems completely, best practice and common sense dictate that taking a multi-tiered approach to the threat is warranted. The problem is where does a small business owner begin? Engaging the services of a managed services provider that will work with you, identify current weaknesses and develop an effective IT plan to close security holes a is a great start (also see Seven Things Your IT Plan Should Have for the New Year).
The Basics of a Strong Approach to Security
Simple steps like ensuring your computers, operating system and software is current, properly patched and up to date is an obvious way to add a layer that will greatly reduce your exposure. Additional layers can be added through the use of a business grade UTM firewall device to provide network edge antivirus as well as end-user protection by filtering phishing sites and other common Web based threats.
Cloud-based SPAM filtering reduces the chances of malicious software ending up in your mailbox and adds yet another layer of protection.
Of course none of these layers can be effective if they are incorrectly deployed or become out of date. Constant vigilance through the use of an effective monitoring and alerting system coupled with scheduled preventative maintenance are critical to maximizing your protection.
The Best Protection from Security Threats: Your Backup
Even with all of the above layers in place, experience has proven that it is still possible for threats to make their way through the defenses. In these cases it is critical that data and systems are fully backed with a solution that provides disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.
Additionally having an experienced, knowledgeable support partner who thoroughly knows your business and your systems beside you should the worst happen is of utmost importance. These items make up the final layers in a comprehensive solution that will provide peace of mind and confidence that you have done everything possible to reduce your risk.
While it is true that antivirus software by itself may be “totally useless”, working with a managed service provider to deploy and maintain a multi-layered approach to network and information security will greatly reduce your risk.
Get started down the path towards peace of mind by taking advantage of our offer of a comprehensive security audit. Learn where the holes are in your system and how to close them up before disaster strikes and affects your business.