SMBs cannot afford to rely on consumer antivirus software

In reality, no consumer antivirus software solution will protect a computer from 100 percent of the malware slithering around the World Wide Web. And they certainly won’t provide sufficient protection for the IT assets of small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

A recent study focusing on the effectiveness of current and popular antivirus solutions has been greeted with mixed responses. The research painted a frighteningly poor picture of the job being done by leading antivirus tools, an assessment which many consumers and analysts have agreed with.

However, as a recent TechRepublic article notes, members of the security industry have raised some relevant points about how the study was conducted in the first place. The research, conducted by a California-based data security firm, showed that when 82 randomly selected malware files were run through various antivirus software platforms, the detection rate for new viruses was less than 5 percent.

Security companies wasted little time, though, in pointing out that the sample size was microscopic in comparison to the amount of malware that is actually out there today. Furthermore, the files were run through a core engine for each antivirus program, not including many of the peripheral detection methods and other assets found in their full versions. Not to mention, many of the more advanced pieces of malware are not used to target individual, private consumers.

And here is where SMBs should pay attention. The miscreants developing new forms of malware are targeting businesses and industry organizations more than anything else. Store-bought antivirus software that you would find on the laptop computer of a 13-year-old is never going to be sufficient to protect your business network.

It is important that companies recognize the limitations of consumer software solutions. For organizations with limited in-house staff options, partnerships with experienced IT consultants may be the best route to take. This is particularly crucial when embarking on new technology initiatives, like Mac integration of an iPad deployment.