Is Antivirus Still Relevant in a World of Increasing Cyber-Attacks?

Recently we looked at how Ransomware is on the rise: Cyber Security Experts Warn of Rise in Ransomware

Here's a previously published article which is still relevant in the topic of cyber security...


The volume of cyber-attacks on businesses is rising year on year. So, too, is the cost of dealing with cyber-security incidents. With more and more businesses being breached, despite having traditional defences in place, many are questioning the relevance and efficacy of antivirus software in today’s hostile environment.

Designed to detect and block malicious threats, antivirus software is a standard requirement when it comes to protecting business IT systems. The vast majority of businesses understand this and wouldn’t dream of operating without this kind of protection in place. But with so many companies still falling victim to cyber-attacks, it’s clear that these solutions are not failsafe.

The fact is, there isn’t a single antivirus solution available that is 100% effective at detecting and blocking malware.

The obvious question is: why aren’t these solutions completely effective, when their purpose is to protect our networks against malware?

The answer to this is fairly simple and relates to the phenomenal pace at which new threats are appearing. Every single day, new variants of malware are being created in their thousands. It takes some time for security technology specialists to discover new threats and counter them. Because of this, new forms of malware are not immediately detectable by antivirus programs.

Not only are cyber threats increasing, but they are also evolving at an alarming pace and this only serves to compound the problem.

Advances in technology over the years have made it much easier for attackers to create and distribute their malware online. Malware is big business, these days, often with extremely lucrative rewards for those profiting from it. This is driving malware writers and distributors to develop increasingly professional and sophisticated methods. Because it is their goal to evade detection for as long as possible, they must ensure that what they create is as unpredictable in nature as possible, in order to avoid being second-guessed by security experts.

So, if antivirus programs are not capable of detecting 100% of the threats we face, are they still a worthwhile investment?

The short answer to this is yes.

Although antivirus will not offer absolute protection, a good product will mitigate the risks considerably and lead to far better security outcomes compared with an unprotected network. As such, it remains an essential security measure.

And, new technologies are helping to speed up the process by which new threats are detected and responded to. Cloud-based antivirus solutions (or antivirus/antimalware provided as a service), for example, can offer enhanced protection for end-users because the technology allows for much faster discovery of new threats compared with traditional methods. The cloud also allows counter technology to be delivered rapidly to managed end-user devices.

But, there’s no denying that it’s an ongoing battle.

At the same time as new threats are being detected and subsequent updates are provided by security software vendors, many more new threats are being created. In a world of increasing cyber-attacks, antivirus alone does not afford businesses adequate protection. This technology does still have its place in the fight against malware, but it should be viewed as just one element of a more comprehensive security strategy and a layered defence approach.

In an increasingly digital environment, businesses that want to prosper need to take cyber security seriously and get the right approach.

Not only is it essential in the name of protecting company assets, but an effective cyber security approach can also help businesses to gain a competitive advantage, build trust in their brand and subsequently drive growth.

If you're not sure whether your organisation is adequately protected, then get in touch with the team here at Grant McGregor on 0131 603 7910. We can have a no-obligation initial chat to understand your concerns and suggest some ways to assess and improve your defences.

Don't wait until it's too late, get in touch today.


Image source: Freerange Stock



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