3 Things to Look For in Your Virus Protection

Whether you have purchased a new computer for your small business or are trying to extend the life of an old one, anti-virus software is an essential part of your security program. However, with dozens of companies and websites offering “the best” anti-virus protection – and with prices ranging from free to not-so-free – choosing the right virus protection program can often seem like an overwhelming task. With virus protection, high prices and popular brands do not always mean the best choice. And while some free programs are adequate, others can cause more trouble than they solve. In order to determine the best program for your company, you need to look carefully at the different features and terms of services to ensure you are getting the protection you need. However, with all the different claims and guarantees, it can be hard to determine which ones are the most important. In reality, there are 3 features that are the most important when picking your anti-virus software. The software that contains all three – and is in your budget – will be the program of your dreams.

Virus Protection Features:

1. Scanning

Your anti-virus software should perform regular, frequent scans on your computer and/or network. These scans check your different programs and files to make sure that no type of malware has entered your system. The different types of scanning you should look for are:
  • Realtime scanner: A scanner that works to intercept malware that is trying to enter your system through incoming data.
  • On-access scanner: A scanner that searches files whenever you open them.
  • Heuristic scanner: A scanner that uses knowledge about known viruses to search for new ones.
  • Compressed file scanner: A scanner that searches compressed files (such as zip files) for malware.
  • POP3 email scanning: A scanner that monitors POP3 email traffic and attachments for signs of malware.
It is important that you pick an anti-virus program that allows you to schedule automatic scans. This way your computer is checked even when you are busy with something else. If you are dealing with extremely sensitive information, consider a virus protection program with a scanner that works continuously in the background of your computer. This way you can rest assured nothing is ever missed.

2. Updates

There are thousands of new computer viruses released every single day. For this reason, it is important that you have an anti-virus software that is regularly updated. These updates keep your system protected against the newest threats. Without updates, your protection quickly becomes obsolete. Updates should be automatic and performed frequently. Norton, one of the more popular anti-virus programs, has rapid pulse updates every 5-15 minutes, ensuring that you are always protected with the newest scans and programs. Bonus tip: Updates are one of the best ways to determine the associated cost of your anti-virus program. Some programs have a higher upfront cost, yet all updates are free. Some have lower upfront costs, but require you to buy a new version of the program (or a new license) whenever major updates are completed. Make sure you check the costs of updates and licensing in order to have a clear understanding of the actual cost of the software.

3. Specificity

When you have a software that regularly scans your system and receives frequent updates, you are already miles ahead of the pack when it comes to computer security. These are the two things that every single business owner – no matter what – should look for. The final feature that you need to consider actually depends on how you use your computer. If your business is one that never connects to the Internet (i.e. you use only the word processor or other such programs), then most of the additional features are luxuries that you simply don’t need – and don’t need to pay for. Most of the paid software programs offer higher protection for the computer user that is accessing all parts of the system. From specific programs that protect social media applications to programs designed to shield your webmail, look for the virus protection program that protects your small business from the threats raised by your unique computer habits.