Free antivirus software solutions put corporate data at risk

 2017-01-25 11:50 AM by
Free antivirus software solutions put corporate data at risk

In today's super-connected, 'always on' world, it's critical that every company director, manager and employee is aware of the threat of data theft, identity theft and the host of other threats that your company is exposed to if your end point protection solution is insecure. Whilst corporate policy and employee induction and training are essential components of corporate security, there are some simple ways to make sure that your data is not easily comprised.

One easy way to safeguard your data is to ensure that your network computers are protected by a holistic antivirus and end point protection solution.

In a world of myriad products and endless jargon, how does one choose a product to suit your business needs? Perhaps more to the point, why should you choose a paid-for antivirus solution when there are so many 'free' options available?

Is free better? I guess it's easy to be seduced by a solution that costs nothing, attracts no long-term commitment and appears to be scalable. On the other hand, it's important to be aware of the potential shortfalls of free antivirus software solutions.

Before installing a free antivirus solution, think about the following questions:

How reputable is the antivirus software? Is the vendor recognised?
Is the free solution really just a front for other opportunities for the supplier to introduce adware, 'in-app paid-for upgrades' or, even worse, a channel for the introduction of malware, spyware or ransomware?
Are the filters up to date? How does a supplier of free antivirus software actually make money? Is there a compelling reason for the vendor to ensure that malware pattern files are always updated?
If you're a disciple of the adage 'goedkoop is deurkoop' or 'if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is', you'll already be suspicious of free antivirus software products.

Paid-for antivirus software solutions have the following benefits:

Malware and antivirus pattern files are constantly updated.
Product support is always available (a local support desk is beneficial).
The product lifecycle is one of continuous innovation.
The product vendor is traceable.
Cloud-hosted antivirus and end point protection software solutions offer great advantages, including:

Cloud-hosted pattern files are instantly updated as and when new threats are detected. No software pattern downloads need to be deployed.
Device management is enabled through a cloud-based management console. The benefit of this is that devices and networks can be managed via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones from any location. It's not necessary for support technicians to be logged onto the corporate network.
Cloud-hosted antivirus software solutions usually include other great value adds like web filtering capabilities (these increase productivity by locking access to non-business related websites such as Facebook, YouTube etc.) and device control (this allows you to lock all devices to disable the ability to copy corporate data onto portable media devices).
Cloud-hosted solutions are usually sold on a monthly subscription without a long-term contract basis, making the solution affordable and scalable.
The forthcoming introduction of the POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Act will place further emphasis on corporate data security. It's likely that free security software solutions will not be sufficient for unqualified audit reports. Read more by downloading our white paper here.