Why antivirus is not enough to keep your business secure

In a remote world, businesses need more than simply antivirus software to safeguard their assets and data.

Rob Stevens

03/03/2021

There are few things more synonymous with digital security than anti-virus software.

From the early days of the internet, business users and consumers alike relied on antivirus solutions to pinpoint potentially dangerous files and downloads as they browsed the web.

Anti-virus technology still offers benefits today – particularly in the age of digital transformation. As more companies shift their operations into the cloud, and remote working becomes the new normal, a comprehensive security strategy is essential.

Unfortunately, it takes more than just an antivirus offering to build a full security solution.

For businesses to thrive in the modern landscape, they need a state-of-the-art selection of protective tools, covering everything from network intrusion, to ransomware, and beyond.

What can antivirus software do?

2020 was the busiest year on record for cyber attacks and fraud in the UK. The sudden shift to remote working and digital transformation opened a variety of doors for criminals.

Anti-virus software saw a massive increase in popularity during this time. Though many mobile devices and computers come with their own anti-virus software already installed, various customers began investing in more advanced offerings.

The standard antivirus programme can scan a computer at scheduled intervals, looking for potential risks. You can also run scans on specific files, flash drives, and other environments. Today’s intelligent virus solutions can check the files on a PC against a list of known malware issues and viruses.

Unfortunately, viruses and malware aren’t the only threats facing today’s companies.

Here are some of the other issues brands need to be aware of.

Firewalls and Secure External Access

Anti-malware and anti-virus software stop viruses from installing themselves onto a computer or device. However, a firewall is how you stop criminals from accessing your network in the first place. Firewalls block suspicious network activity automatically, without impacting the regular operations of your team, like browsing the web.

Now that more employees are working from home, or embrace a hybrid work lifestyle, they’re logging into networks from a range of environments. Wi-Fi networks and routers in the consumer world can come with a firewall built-in, but not all these firewalls are automatically activated.

Companies working with a flexible team in the modern world will need to ensure that firewalls are activated, and capable of tackling common threats. Some companies may need to upgrade their firewall strategies by using cloud-based solutions that offer them more comprehensive control over remote network activity.

VPN and Mobile Traffic Protection

The sad truth is that most data breaches and security issues are caused by people.

Even with security guidelines to guide them, employees can often be more open to attack than they realise. For instance, they may log into a professional network from a mobile device that hasn’t been properly secured. This can open the door for criminals to access your data too.

In the remote working world, criminals can even create fake access points to convince employees to connect to their network. When someone logs into one of these access points to work, the criminal steals all the information entered into a web browser.

Using a VPN is how today’s business leaders ensure that employees are only accessing network information through secure connections. You can use VPN network connections across desktop computers and laptops, as well as smartphones and tablets for absolute protection. You may even decide to use a mobile device management solution to reduce the risk from mobile devices.

Next-Gen endpoint security will be a crucial consideration for companies supporting external team members. Solutions like Sophos Endpoint security provides protection for malware, ransomware, viruses, and exploits that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the workplace.

Password Management and Policies

As mentioned above, people are often the unwitting cause of security issues.

Even if you have a policy in place that guides team members on how to use secure passwords and protect themselves from attack, there’s no guarantee they’ll follow these instructions. Anti-virus protection can’t defend companies from careless employees.

Fortunately, there are tools available that can help business leaders to keep their teams compliant. A password management solution requires employees to remember only one master password to access all their connections. This can make it easier for team members to avoid using simple passwords on multiple online accounts.

Team leaders can also implement policies for things like multi-factor authentication, making it even harder for criminals to break through your password protection strategy.

Monitoring and Managing Security

In a remote world, your employees may be more frequently exposed to cybersecurity threats and privacy risks. To keep your company safe and compliant, you need a multi-layer security strategy. This could start with installing MDM software so you can control mobile devices from a distance, and cover everything from firewalls to VPNs.

If you want to learn more about how to go beyond antivirus software for business security, reach out to the team at Nice Network today!