Anti-virus software alone is no longer sufficient protection against today’s threats.

Antivirus software has long been a necessary evil in computing. From floppy disks plastered with images of stethoscope-clad doctors to Internet-connected, self-updating solutions, antivirus software has a long history of protecting computing devices from nefarious applications and actors that can wreak havoc, steal data, or cripple critical infrastructure.

The Evolving Threat

Today’s computer viruses bear little resemblance to the first viruses to emerge on personal and enterprise computers. Early viruses could cause computers to lock up and ultimately cause damage to the system, but spreading the virus required physical access to a computer. But as internet access became more commonplace, it became possible for viruses to easily spread among computers through just a network connection, placing more devices at risk than ever before.

The Building Blocks of a Cybersecurity Defensive Line

A greater awareness of cybersecurity needs has led organizations to develop comprehensive, holistic approaches to ensuring computers are safe from intrusion or installation of malicious code. While computers can still fall victim to traditional viruses, growing and sophisticated threats posed by zero-day attacks, malware, and phishing make it possible for bad actors to carry out a wide variety of harmful tasks using an arsenal of new tools.

Despite the presence of advanced anti-virus software, cybercriminals continue to launch successful attacks using common techniques. In fact, the year 2019 has seen more than 3,800 breaches — an increase of more than 54% over 2018, according to a report published by Risk Based Security. That’s because, even as threats continue to evolve and take new forms, traditional computer viruses can still wreak havoc on devices that are not equipped with modern software.

Cybersecurity Strikes Back

But even the most sophisticated anti-virus software cannot protect every aspect of IT infrastructure. Well-known viruses may be easily identifiable on a network or device, but virus definitions and patches must be regularly updated to ensure new threats don’t slip through the lines of defense. On a daily basis, more than 350,000 new pieces of malware are counted, making it essential to remain vigilant and responsive around-the-clock.

Does this mean traditional anti-virus software is effectively dead? On the contrary: Anti-virus software is an essential element of any comprehensive security framework. Preventing and mitigating harmful attacks requires a multi-pronged defense, protecting any and all entry points through a holistic, all-encompassing approach.

The Verdict for Anti-Virus As Part of Your Defense

Anti-virus software plays a critical role in a network’s first-line defenses, identifying and neutralizing recognizable threats. Should malignant code evade antivirus software, a comprehensive Security Toolkit can ensure devices and networks remain protected. A firewall to sandbox missed viruses and malware, frequent backups and disaster recovery options, strong authentication and access control, and scheduled automated updates are among the additional tools necessary in your comprehensive threat mitigation program.

Anti-virus plays an important role in any digital security operation, but it’s not enough to address the full volume of threats facing legacy or state-of-the-art computers. Personal electronic devices on work networks, opening attachments or links from unidentified sources, or running an operating system past its end-of-life for legacy applications can each pose a unique threat that isn’t easily addressed by anti-virus software alone.

The Case for a Layered Approach

Networks are only as strong as their weakest point, and solutions that do not take a multi-layered approach to digital security can leave devices and data vulnerable to viruses, malware, or other harmful intrusions. Without mounting a full defense, organizations will be left without the diversity of security tools required to safeguard systems and data.

Anti-virus software may still be far from dead, but the concept that anti-virus software alone is sufficient digital protection against today’s threats deserves to be set out to sea.

DWD Technology Group offers a wide array of security services to help organizations build a comprehensive Security Toolkit. From anti-virus to anti-spam software, DWD’s network security solutions identify vulnerable aspects of digital infrastructure and bolster defenses to address existing and emerging threats.

For information on how DWD Technology Group can keep your networks and devices safe and secure, reach out today.