Managed Antivirus Solutions & How they affect your Business?
What are Managed Antivirus Solutions?
Over the last couple of years, many companies have outsourced their IT solutions to a managed service provider, typically a web hosting solution. The downturn in their bricks and mortar business has forced the move to e-commerce, creating the need for a web hosting solution.
IT has been under severe budget pressure because of the financial pressures on the business and needs to find a way to fund the transition. Remember that they need to keep the existing systems operational. Outsourcing also brings concerns about security, accessibility, support and future growth.
This brings to the fore the concept of managed antivirus solutions often implemented as host-based protection.
Network and desktop equipment In large corporate networks must be kept up to date with security patches. Even in small networks auditing servers and desktops is a time-consuming and hence costly process.
It looks like new patches are appearing frequently. Keeping up to date is a never-ending task. They need to be tested to make sure that unexpected software conflicts and other incompatibilities don’t arise. IT needs to provide resources to monitor and control the security antivirus solutions environment. IF the process is skimped, then patches could be installed incompletely or incorrectly, thereby leaving vulnerabilities in network security.
The real danger is at the perimeter. With working from home and remote access to systems, IT no longer has control over what devices are attached to the network and their configurations.
To fix it means re-establishing a secure perimeter, and the way to do this is to take control of the antivirus solutions by moving them to the host. In addition, using managed antivirus solutions allows IT the scan attached devices to make sure that they are clean if necessary blocking them or their attached devices. The opportunity to download, install and update antivirus solutions on remote devices will also comfort IT by minimising the potential for malware attacks.
Simply put, with a move to managed antivirus solutions, anti-malware software and the associated updates can be pushed out to attached devices, and updates installed outside working hours, keeping all devices in step.
Managed anti-virus strategy
Moving from a distributed antivirus environment to a managed antivirus solution is a reasonably simple project. It will take resources and time but it is made up of a few simple steps:
- Select a host-based antivirus solution. There are several options for companies such as N-Able, Avast and AVG. Microsoft Defender is also worth a mention. McAfee, Norton and Kaspersky are probably better for a large corporate environment, but there are others. Use a Google search for a list of potential managed antivirus solutions.
- A network audit to find out what is out there needing centrally managed protection.
- Install the host-based part of the managed antivirus solution.
- Find out by running a test if installing the centrally managed antivirus solution removes any existing malware software from the desktop. If it doesn’t, then you will need to manually uninstall it from each desktop. If the desktops support remote access, then it can be done from the centre, otherwise, it means a physical visit to each to do the uninstall.
- Configure the host-based system, including:
- An automatic scan of all new network devices.
- Automatic installation of the antimalware software on all new devices.
- An automatic push of all updates to every device; and
- Automatic isolation of any infected equipment.
- Disconnect your network from the Internet. This is very important because while you are installing the managed antivirus some desktops don’t have malware protection.
- Roll out the solution.
The malware protection you can expect
Bear in mind that most malware exploits are successful because of user error, sometimes malicious. That means educating users on how to recognize a potential malware exploit and what to do if they suspect they have one is the very first line of defence.
The prime metric for a managed antivirus solution is that staff desktops are protected with a centrally controlled shield against threats such as malware, ransomware, phishing scams and attempted firewall breaches.
You also need to look at the range and ease of use of the administrative controls, for example, if it can raise alerts by email and SMS if a potential malware attack is suspected. Other things to look out for are our website and app blocking, managing a blacklist of forbidden websites and solid email attachment scanning.
Some can offer anti-phishing and spear-phishing technology.
One point to consider is if the IT department is to have total control from the centre, or if users have some autonomy. The answer is central control. There is little point in implementing a managed antivirus solution than allowing users to override it.
Implementing a managed antivirus solution can bring business benefits. There is the obvious protection against malware and users going to fake websites and inadvertently downloading malware. Automating the installation and management of antivirus software can reduce the resources needed to manage your antivirus solution, and hence operational costs. It is definitely worth considering.