Anti-Virus Software and Going Beyond the Norm

ByDaniel Gottilla

Anti-Virus Software and Going Beyond the Norm

anti-virus softwareAnti-virus software is one important component of a safe network, but it’s not enough. It does a great job of finding known viruses and removing their threats, but there’s a huge gap in the protection anti-virus software offers if you don’t understand how it works. Your employees must also take measures to prevent viruses from hitting your system at all.

Suppose you open an email attachment and it contains a virus that has been floating through cyberspace for the past few weeks. Your anti-virus software will likely catch the virus and quarantine or delete it, protecting your system and your business. But what happens if it’s a new virus? If it’s so new that your software doesn’t identify it as a threat, it could wreak havoc across your system. Viruses can delete vital information, send information to outside parties, or even install Trojan horse programs to allow hackers access to your data and resources.

There are some simple practices you can implement to go beyond your anti-virus software.  Even when it is regularly updated to obtain definition files.

With Anti-Virus Software the following steps are still important.

  • The first step is to make sure you are regularly updating all of your other software. Viruses are specialized to exploit loopholes in your operating system and the other programs you run. Updates are provided for download when these loopholes are discovered, making it much harder for viruses to attack your network.
  • Another method to decrease your vulnerability to viruses is to restrict employee access to the Internet. Some sites that are truly inappropriate for the workplace are the most likely to contain viruses, but sometimes mainstream sites an employee may visit on break could contain a virus. Depending on the level of protection you want, you can restrict all non-business related Internet use to reduce the risk of contagion.
  • Yet another route viruses take to infect your system is when employees open attachments that are either unexpected or are from unknown sources. They should be trained to ask the sender if an attachment comes unannounced before it is opened to make sure that it is indeed legitimate. Even known attachments can still be scanned to make sure that there is no hidden infection.

No matter how vigilant your employees are, it is likely that a virus will make it into your network at some point. Your employees should be trained to immediately contact the System Administrator for help in minimizing the damage. They should also contact everyone in their email address book, as a virus is likely to replicate by sending itself back out via email. Even if your system is infected, you can help your business associates and colleagues keep safe.

Going beyond anti-virus software is a must to protect your network and your business. Just a small amount of maintenance and some smart training can really make a difference in your level of vulnerability to this threat.

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