Does Your Antivirus Software Really Defend Your Business?

One of the challenges many businesses face in evaluating their antivirus solution is not knowing for sure if it’s really working. Yes, you receive alerts now and then that a malicious file or link has been blocked or quarantined, but what about the threats that sneak through? You may not discover a breach for weeks or even months. And when you do find out, it may be difficult to determine which of your defense mechanisms broke down.

In evaluating the efficacy of your antivirus solution, it’s important to realize which cyberattacks the software protects your IT systems against. Virus prevention may not be enough.  Your protection should ideally include protection against worms, phishing attempts, Trojans, and other forms of known malware. Even then, software may not completely protect you.  You also need other defenses to keep your digital assets secure.

The reality is that cyberattacks come from many threat vectors and are often sophisticated enough to bypass antivirus software. These include insider attacks by employees, compromised devices that connect to your network, and advanced persistent threats—which often leverage email and remote access to pass through antivirus software undetected.

And there’s always the threat of new malware that your antivirus solution is not yet aware of. In 2020, an average of 360,000 new malicious files were detected per day by Kapersky —an increase of more than 5% compared to 2019. But even the best antivirus solution providers need at least a few hours to detect these attacks and upload updates to protect your systems.

Check Out Your Current Antivirus Provider

The best way to combat the shortcoming of antivirus software is to work with a software provider who offers a comprehensive cloud-based solution that makes it possible to patch and update your software in real time. Not sure if your current provider provides this kind of solution? Talk with them to get a sense of how robust their database of malware signatures is and what type of algorithms they use to identify individual viruses and detect malware without signatures.

Your software should also be able to identify zero-day attacks—malware that no one has seen before and for which no protection has been developed yet. The leading vendors use techniques such as sandboxing, behavioral analysis, and pattern recognition to find zero-day attacks.

Even if your vendor can’t update your software right away for a zero-day attack, you can still defend your digital assets by making your end-users aware of the attack method so they can avoid clicking on a harmful link or file. You can also monitor your network for any signs of a breach so you can contain the damage as much as possible.

Keep Using Antivirus, But Also Bolster Your Protection

Despite the shortcomings of antivirus software, you shouldn’t stop using it. If you use one of the leading solutions, you have a good first line of defense, and you’re likely well-protected against the millions of well-known viruses that continue to be omnipresent.

To support your antivirus solution, consider an endpoint malware detection and response solution, known in the industry as MDR. It can provide additional defenses against malicious files and ransomware. The MDR approach goes beyond traditional antivirus solutions by leveraging machine learning models that detect zero-day malware and known variants as well as fileless, memory script, and external device attacks.

The leading MDR solutions also continuously monitor for major infections and identify infection sources. In addition, they eliminate the use of fileless malware attack techniques and block malicious executables.

With these capabilities, you can prevent malicious email attachments from detonating inside your network and protect users who are not connected to your network. That’s a big bonus for your employees working from home and on the road!

To learn more about augmenting your antivirus software with other security mechanisms to make sure your digital assets remain fully protected, contact PulseOne today.