In the previous article we covered the importance of being educated and staying safe when browsing the web. These days even the most careful users can have their system become infected with malicious software. At this point it is crucial to have protection in place to stop these would-be threats from rendering the computer inoperable or spreading to other machines on the network. This month I am going to talk a little bit about the importance of virus protection and the things you should know when choosing virus protection software.
In our earlier article I compared the internet to a big city. Think of virus protection as the police force that protects that city. They do their absolute best to protect the people within the city from crime and apprehend those who would do harm. Virus protection providers are always working to ensure that their product provides the best possible protection for its users. It is important to remember however that virus protection is mostly a reactive industry. It is hard to defend against something that does not exist yet. This is why it is so important to use best practices when browsing the web. You can find tips for safe browsing in last month’s article. Even though Virus protection software is not a perfect defense it is very valuable. With good virus protection coupled with knowledgeable users the risks of infection are low. Virus protection providers are always working to improve their products and provide updates to their customer’s as they become available.
There are many free anti-virus programs out there that can be obtained very easily. However it is important to remember what we mentioned in our last article about fake anti-virus programs so remember to always do your research! That being said not all free solutions are scams nor are they bad protection. Often-times there will be a free and paid version of an application and it is important to know the differences between the two. Sometimes with the free version you will not have option to get technical support if you need it, or the updates may not come as frequently. Depending on your amount of web usage and what sorts of things you do on the internet it is probably a good investment to purchase a paid version of virus protection. Once you have purchased anti-virus software you will not need to go running to your local electronics store to purchase a new version every year either. You will simply pay online for another year (often at a discounted renewal price) and you will always have the latest virus updates so your application knows what to look for. This is very important! Using our earlier city analogy how could the police know who to look for if they don’t have a description of the suspect?
In a business environment virus protection could not be more crucial. Network infections can spread like wildfire from computer to computer and without proper protection could even go undetected. Possibly outcomes could be downtime due to server maintenance, downtime for users as computers are restored, and even loss or theft of data. All of these can severely hurt productivity if proper protection is not in place as well a good backup solution.
As with anything in your business or personal life it is vital to have a proactive plan in place for emergencies but more importantly good practices to keep them from happening in the first place. Virus protection and awareness can mean the difference between crippling downtime and keeping your business running smoothly. As my grandfather always told me… It’s better to need it and not have it, than have it and not need it!