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What is Antivirus Software?

Antivirus software, sometimes called anti-virus software, is a program designed to prevent, detect, and remove viruses and other malicious software (malware) from computers and networks.

How Does Antivirus Software Work?

Traditional antivirus software is reactive. This means that the software waits to be told what to look for and then to act. Viruses and malware are continually being created. When they are discovered, they are added to the database (list) of viruses your computer or network needs to be protected from.

The antivirus software on your computer can be configured to run at specific times. For example, it might run a scan daily. When it's time for the antivirus to run, the software checks the database of known threats and scans your entire computer for any of these. If a virus or malware is found, the software removes or quarantines the infected files.

Is Traditional Antivirus Software All the Protection You Need?

While this is effective at catching infections after they occur, there are some significant limitations with this legacy antivirus solution.

  • Users have access to the settings for the antivirus software installed on their computers. This allows them to change not only the frequency and what is scanned but also completely disable the antivirus software.
  • There is no centralized control over update and protection settings. The company cannot enforce a consistent antivirus policy.
  • Scans are only done for what is known and defined in the database.
  • There is little protection for modern cyber attacks.
  • If scans are done for unknown malware, they are done using a maybe, trial and error, probable method called heuristic.
  • Updates to the database with new virus definitions are not instantaneous. They are applied to the individual computers on a scheduled basis outside the company's control.
  • The lag between new malware definition creation and updates increases harmful risks to each computer.
  • Malware is known to exist quietly on a device for a long time before it's detected. It will collect and upload your information without your knowledge.

  • There is a better way to protect your company's devices and networks from today's cyber risks. This is called advanced endpoint security.

    Keep Learning

    What's the Difference Between Antivirus and Advanced Endpoint Security?
    What is Advanced Endpoint Security?

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