At home, we normally default to whatever antivirus program was installed on our computers at purchase. For many, that program is Microsoft Security Essentials. Others rely on Norton or McAfee to protect personal data, but are any of these really enough for enterprise grade security?
For those working with a team of people, the answer depends widely on your needs. Before you go shopping for an antivirus program, make sure that you understand what you’re buying into. Your antivirus should do more than keep your PC free from infection, it should provide a total security solution.
The first step in choosing an Antivirus program is to read some reviews. Places like CNet and PC Magazine are useful resources to get an overview of consumer and enterprise software. These sources also draw their information from repeated testing in environments that are difficult for you to replicate. This extreme testing exposes security flaws and helps detail where a product might fall short. It’s important to analyze all of the potential flaws in your network security.
AV-Test is an impartial testing group frequently cited by software reviewers. The company provides independent testing data meant to help consumer and enterprise make the choices they need for internet security. You can download detailed PDF reports, or opt for the more truncated scoring system and click on something for more detail. The organization tests usability, infection detection and removal. The result is an overall picture of network security.
Free downloads with a 30 day trial give you the chance to test a product. Before you purchase the product, you should be sure that it doesn’t hinder your computer’s resources on a daily basis. Also evaluate ease of use, and make note of whether the features you were searching for actually work as intended. A good example is computer startup time: good antivirus software will optimize your computer to clean it and make it run efficiently. If your computer gets slower after downloads, you immediately know the software won’t work for you.
Many apps also have a basic feature set for free.
Web Assess Habits
Your online security needs depends largely on the browsing habits of you and your staff. Light web users that are strict about usage will need a program that monitors traffic and assists in firewall setup. Heavier web users may require protection from downloads and malicious links.
Not all antivirus programs are designed to do the same things. Most provide the basic features of a scan, but some go further. You can find protection for email, intelligent analysis and computer optimization features depending on the software you want to use. Be wary of programs that attempt too much, but a program that does two or three things (like detection, removal and download analysis) might be worth the investment.
There are many sources that say you should not use competing antivirus products, and that is true if your intention is adding layers of security to your computer. You should not trust that one program will catch what the others will not. The reason you want multiple programs protecting you is related to databases. Antivirus programs tend to use semantics to read a virus, checking the database for definitions and assessing those definitions against the files you maintain. Sometimes you’re sure an infection is on your computer, but your software refuses to find it. In these situations, multiple layers of protection can help safely remove the problem.
There are also programs that specialize in a particular operation, like spyware or registry cleaning. These programs can complement an antivirus program if used correctly.