Mines within: Antivirus software and organizational productivity

by September 24, 2018 0 comments

Authored By: Sanjit Chatterjee, CEO, Reve Antivirus

The Internet today is like a minefield, where computers constantly try to evade detonations in the form of malicious software or malware like viruses, worms, and trojans. The extent of these damages can vary in extremes: the replicating software may slow down or cripple systems, destroy or alter important data, or even steal online passwords and banking credentials of organizations. Antivirus software helps eliminate these mines by preventing, detecting and removing malware from computer systems and plays a pivotal role in enhancing organizational productivity.

The problem

Users of insecure computer networks would constantly have to be on their toes while browsing the internet as malware are often cunningly camouflaged in nature. What may appear as a harmless, yet annoying pop-up ad may bring about the downfall of the computer. These adware are often links in emails, social media websites or instant messages. Moreover, malware tries to poke their nose through infected email attachments, removable storage devices, and software downloaded from untrustworthy websites.

The following indicators may prove that a computer has been infected with malware:

  • Lots of pop-up windows or unexpected messages on the screen
  • Unexpected toolbars in the web browser
  • New icons or programs that appear randomly on the computer
  • User constantly redirected to unknown websites
  • The sudden slowdown of the system, hang or crash during basic functions.

Such things become detrimental to the productivity of an organization with numerous computer systems getting infected with viruses that further affect precious work hours.

Misconception

Many small companies operate on the misconception that only higher-ended corporate companies are of interest to hackers. However, the inverse is true. A recent CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey observed that only 2% of small business owners viewed the risk of a cyber attack as the most critical issue they face. On the other hand, the Business Continuity Institute, a global organization for business continuity professionals characterizes digital threats as the gravest risk companies face today.

Moreover, the 2016 State of SMB Security revealed that more than half of -small to medium-sized businesses have been breached; 59% of such businesses have no visibility into employee password practices and hygiene, and 57% of such companies may have a password policy, but don’t enforce it.

Hackers, therefore, focus on small businesses for the very reason that they lack the defences that large corporations have invested in. About 38% of companies that experienced a breach lost more than 20% revenues, while 40% lost more than 20% of their customers. The massive damage and expenses that cyberattacks thus incur, make it a pivotal decision to choose the most suitable antivirus software.

The solution

The set of programs in an antivirus software are designed to safeguard a system from such malicious worms and viruses that bog down the computer or operating system. These ensure the protection of an organization’s identity and classified information and enable optimization of performance and security.  However, antivirus software alone does not serve the purpose. A more precise solution in the form of Endpoint Security is ideal to fend off cyber threats for enterprises.

Endpoint Security is alas a client/server information security methodology for protecting a corporate network through focusing on network devices (endpoints) by monitoring their status, activities, software, authorization and authentication. The security system consists of security software located on a centrally managed and accessible server or gateway within a network, in addition to client software is installed on each of the endpoints.

The EPS thus importantly manages to keep track of the internet activities that may hamper the productivity of the organization’s employees. According to a survey by the International Data Corp (IDC), about 30% to 40% of internet access is spent on non-work-related browsing, and a staggering 60% of all online purchases are made during working hours. Non-work-related internet surfing results in up to 40% loss in productivity each year at American businesses.

Apart from personal browsing, the major concern and threat that organizations face that hinder their growth and development are possibilities of internal data theft. It may be due to a malicious employee taking or selling corporate data or due to an unintentional mistake.

As many as 874 incidents were reported by companies to the Ponemon Institute for its Cost of Insider Threats Study in 2016, out of which 568 were caused by an employee or contractor negligence, 85 by outsiders using stolen credentials, and 191 by malicious employees and criminals. Regardless of questioning their malice, the acts were conducted by an employee or a person with legitimate access located within the company network, where security is timid rather than outside the perimeter.

It, therefore, becomes vital for any organization in this digital age, to first and foremost firmly secure its data and monitor user access through centralized systems such as EPS. This approach helps avoid cyber threats like viruses and data theft and restrict wavering employees from involving themselves in unprofessional activities in order to enhance the productivity of an organization. This is because it has a direct relationship with development and growth. A house more often than not collapses from within. It is thus unadvisable to render it to the blind side.

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