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Choosing the right antivirus software for home or business use

No operating system is safe from modern cybercriminals, and while there is no shortage of security software available, it’s important that the antivirus software selected is tailored to the particular computing devices. 

Why you need antivirus software

Before choosing an antivirus, it’s worth knowing why you’re investing in this worthwhile security software. Here is a quick overview of the cyber threats facing home and office computers today:

  • Phishing – This is an engineered attack that lures users to click on a malicious link
  • Ransomware – This is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files, allowing a cybercriminal to hold the data for ransom.  
  • Identity theft – By accessing personal information, including banking details, cybercriminals are able to access significant funds in almost no time. 
  • Viruses – These malicious programmes infect electronic devices, usually tied to an executable file. 
  • Trojans – These run on a device, opening the gate to other forms of malware. 
  • Worms – These malicious programmes find vulnerabilities in operating systems and then multiply. 
  • Spyware – These software programmes gather personal information which is sent to hacker-controlled servers. 
  • Adware – These software programmes display adverts that affect computer performance and can infect a computer with malware. 
  • Rootkits – This malware allows hackers to have remote access to a device.

What to consider when choosing antivirus protection

The threat of cyber attacks is real for absolutely any computer, and cybercriminals are only getting more advanced in the development of malicious software. It’s not a case of if a threat will occur, it’s a matter of when, which is why everyone needs to install an effective antivirus. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right software security. 

1. Layered security

The introduction of computers as mainstream in homes and office spaces has brought with them the relevant antivirus software. While this was once sufficient for software protection, a basic antivirus is insufficient protection for more modern devices. Security software needs to be a layered form of protection that protects against all manner of cyber threats mentioned above. In addition to antivirus protection, you will need to ensure your security software offers firewall protection; protection for web browsing; VPN protection; and much more. 

2. Ease of use

If the security software is far too technical, you are going to leave the system vulnerable to attack by implementing the software incorrectly, or not updating the antivirus software. Obviously, your particular computing needs will determine the level of cyber protection required, and if it is extremely technical, then it’s likely you will need to work with cybersecurity professionals. But, for the average computer user, basic features should include updates, patches and re-configures that can be run without user intervention. Basically, any software security should:

  • Be easy to navigate and easy to understand – You should be able to identify all the tabs and understand what all items and settings refer to. 
  • Provide access to documentation – You should be able to access all relevant help documentation quickly and easily. 
  • Give you autonomy – While configuration without interference might be a preference for some, certain people might want to work through the various antivirus details. 
  • Be touchscreen compliant – This is not a must for everyone, but with most devices having touchscreens, an antivirus should ideally work with this functionality. 

3. Customer support

Ease of use also relates directly to the quality of customer support offered by any security software. While selecting a free-to-use antivirus might seem the best bet at the time, the lack of available assistance means navigating any potential problems could leave your system vulnerable to attack. When considering an antivirus software, it’s worth enquiring about the customer support teams, operational hours and turnaround time to ensure help is always close at hand. 

4. Reliability 

Understandably, any product you invest in should be reliable, but in terms of security software, this means considering a few notable aspects. Any antivirus should:

  • Not create conflict with any existing security systems in place. 
  • Offer updated protection that meets the ever-evolving cyber threats. This means several updates – often daily. 
  • Not allow for unwanted termination of the antivirus by malware. 
  • Offer automated security scans whereby the user can regularly schedule scans. 

5. Customer reviews

One of the best ways to evaluate the reliability of any antivirus software is to check insight from real-world consumers. There are many software reviews performed by so-called ‘industry experts’, but these are not necessarily accurate reflections as the sources can often be questionable. There are many well-respected bloggers and YouTube personalities that will offer more credible, unbiased insight into the security software, so it’s worth getting a feel for how the antivirus truly operates. 

6. Have your threat level assessed

If it’s likely you will require a more sophisticated level of security software installed, and, if this is the case, it’s worth bringing IT experts on board to provide a thorough vulnerability assessment. These industry professionals will be able to completely analyse your IT system and identify any areas of weakness that could lead to a cyber breach. This is a much more tailored solution which, through a managed security setup, will allow for continued business operations with all cyber protection taken care of remotely. 

As software security updates, hackers are also working to§   develop more technical modes of cyberattack, which makes choosing an antivirus one of the biggest decisions in terms of computer equipment. A highly-regarded, multi-layered security software is a valuable investment that will protect you and – in the case of business operators – your clients, from devastating personal information and financial security threats. 

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