There was a time when viruses and malware were a major threat, even for an average desktop or laptop user. This was the time of Windows XP, which didn’t have an AV program of its own (later Windows OS came with built-in AV programs, such as, Windows Defender in Windows 7 and 8), and the operating system itself wasn’t exactly robust and secure enough to ward off the unwanted programs.
Times have changed now. Not only there is a considerable decline in major virus and malware floating around, but the operating systems, too have evolved greatly to tackle this problem. Brian Dye from Symantec (a leading provider of security products) himself declared in 2014 that antivirus was dead. This surprised, and even shocked a number of people, even though Dye was referring to the declining sales of AV products.
The reason why sales of AV programs have declined is because the majority of businesses have moved beyond traditional software protection. They now invest in comprehensive AV systems rather than standalone products and focus on adaptive approaches instead. Of course, another reason is that most computer users are unaware of the benefits that paid AV programs offered, and are content with their free versions.
Today, a huge percentage of computer users don’t use AV programs anymore. But what about businesses? Do they need an AV program? Perhaps not.
How Microsoft Affected the AV Market
For a long time, AV companies such as Norton and Avast made tons of money selling their security products. Everyone was afraid of viruses, which was why they would buy an AV program the first time they bought a new system. However, when Microsoft released Windows 7, which had many features, but mainly the built-in security program Windows Defender, it gave the commercial security companies a run for their money. After all, it was a great product, and did a terrific job, for free! Who would want to pay for another AV product, when this one came pre-installed, and cost nothing?
After the release of Windows 7, a lot of AV companies started rolling out free versions or trial versions of their products to increase sales, but the damage was already done.
Malware Bringing Ransomware
While virus attacks have declined, it won’t be correct to say that computer systems don’t have any security risks. Yes, trojans and malicious programs are rare these days, but these have been replaced by other forms of programs, mainly the adware and ransomware. These programs don’t directly harm the system, but increase the system’s overhead, and pose the risks of fraudulent activities (ransomware).
What’s the Solution?
You can absolutely protect your computer system from harmful programs without shelling out money. The first thing you must do is make sure that Windows Defender and Firewall are both enabled. These two will protect the system from the majority of the attacks. Secondly, install a basic version of a malware protection software, or AV software, just to be sure.
The suggestions above are for desktops and laptops. They can’t protect your server, which is why you need a good online backup solution. Even if you have an expensive AV program, it is best to invest in a decent cloud backup solution. This is because no AV solution is foolproof, and you wouldn’t want your important documents and files to be compromised. Before you make your final decision to pick a cloud backup and data storage company, make sure they are offering additional services, such as: data mobility, data security, disaster recovery, virtualization, business continuity, and more.