The Future of Anti-Virus Software

The Future of Anti-Virus Software

The Future of Antivirus Software

Antivirus software elicits a variety of responses from industry executives, analysts, and users.

Some question the usefulness of the antivirus and Cybersecurity software and view signature-based offerings in a particularly dim light. Others cite the performance effects that antivirus tools have on PCs. Antivirus proponents, however, believe that the technology will endure as a component of a layered defense strategy, pointing to the addition of behavior-based scanning.

"As long as viruses exist, antivirus programs by Cybersecurity platforms will be designed to help protect users from online threats," said Tim Rains, security response communications lead for Microsoft.

Rains pointed to data stemming from Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool as supporting the importance of running antivirus software. The tool removed malware from 1 out of every 217 computers in the first half of 2007, compared with 1 out of every 409 computers in 2006 and 1 out of every 359 computers in the second half of 2005.

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Network Distribution

But there's another antivirus issue to consider: Will antivirus software continue to evolve as a third-party product, or will it become a feature embedded in OSes?

Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at Enderle Group, said he believes basic security should be part of the OS platform.

"With IBM mainframes, the core security came from IBM, and for Unix, core security was provided by the platform owners," he said. "If you needed extra, that could come from a number of sources. But basic security — and antivirus is basic security — should be part of the platform in my view."

David Lawson, director of risk management at Acumen Solutions Inc., a business and technology consulting firm, has a different take on where the antivirus function will reside. He believes that antivirus tools may end up embedded in the network, noting that the centralization of antivirus technology would boost efficiency.

"I would suggest we pull [antivirus] away from the desktop and centralize it more," Lawson said. Lawson said that he sees antivirus software moving to network devices as part of rule-based forwarding and on application servers.

Enderle, meanwhile, said that user demands at the OS level would alter the antivirus landscape. "I think we are seeing a trend where people who use … Windows, Apple, and Linux expect the folks who supply it to provide for their basic security needs," he explained. "This will likely change the antivirus market dramatically."

Key Differentiators

However, George Myers, director of product management for Symantec Corp .'s endpoint security group, said he believes that the company's wares remain sufficiently differentiated, even as more entries hit the market. "There's still a very big difference in the level of security offered by different antivirus technologies," he said.

Those technologies are not "commoditized in any way," Myers said. He also cited Symantec's security focus and culture as factors differentiating it from an OS company offering security.

But for platforms such as Windows, users seek greater antivirus integration, Enderle suggested. He said that built-in antivirus technology topped the wish list when Microsoft surveyed users on what they wanted in Windows 7. That built-in aspect, he added, "is why Microsoft's OneCare is so much less annoying to use than most third-party offerings."

Rains said that Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare solution includes antivirus/anti-spyware tools, phishing, firewall protection, and PC tune-up and backup utilities. The company also offers Forefront Client Security, which provides a unified antivirus and anti-spyware solution for protecting business desktops, laptops, and server OSes, he added.

When queried on third-party antivirus products versus built-in tools, Rains said that Microsoft "entered the security products business in response to customer requests for easier and more integrated security products."

But Microsoft said it will continue working with ISVs (independent software vendors) and other partners. "Microsoft will continue to collaborate with a wide range of partners, as well as deliver our own solutions to help better protect the broader PC ecosystem," Rains said.

How does antivirus software help in virus mitigation?

Best antivirus software purchased from a reliable software vendor searches detects and mitigates viruses and other malicious software like adware, Trojans, worms, and more. This software is meant to be used as a preventive measure against cyber risks to stop threats before they enter your system and cause havoc.

For effective cyber threat detection and response, antivirus software scans codes or incoming files that are being added to your system or passed through your network traffic. Companies who build the best Cybersecurity software compile a detailed database of already known malware and viruses and teach the software how to scan, detect, block and remove them.

When programs, files, and applications are entered or transferred from your computer, they are compared by the antivirus software to its database to detect matches. Codes or viruses that are identical or similar to the database are detached, scanned, and eliminated. 

Although you can adjust the settings of the antivirus software so that you can run automatic scans on your computer for malicious files, you can also choose the manual-scan options, which allow you to sit and monitor in real-time which malicious files were discovered and neutralized.

For malware protection, some antivirus software will ask for your approval before removing files to remove malicious codes. If you prefer an autonomous cleaning approach, you can adjust the settings, and the antivirus software will automatically remove the malicious files. 

How to choose the best Cybersecurity Software for your business?

To choose the best Cybersecurity software as an individual or for your business, you should compare Cybersecurity vendors, their ratings, and reviews from the past/existing clients. The most important features needed in endpoint device protection software are malware protection, virus mitigation, and antivirus, and each is a little different in its way of protecting endpoint devices. You can compare antivirus software to check their signature-based detection feature and the behavior of a potential file against the already stored virus in its database. The best Cybersecurity system offers multiple layers of protection that outspread across computers, networks, devices, and programs. It secures your network, password, and physical and digital data from intruders. 

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