27/07/2010

By Ben Weiner, COO, Conjungo

What is antivirus software?

In order to explain antivirus software it is necessary to understand the nature of a computer virus.

A computer virus is a way of describing a computer programme that has been written specifically to cause damage to your PC. In essence, it is a piece of software that is written to cause as much havoc as possible.

A virus is designed to gain access to files or programs on your PC. The virus may enter your computer CD, DVD, USB by email or by your internet connection.

There are many types of viruses including worms, phishing, rootkits, and Trojan horses. They are collectively known as malware.

An antivirus software package is designed to prevent viruses or malware from damaging your PC. It does this by being able to recognise emails and programmes which are potentially harmful to your PC and then destroy them.

The future of antivirus

Unfortunately, because new viruses are being developed every day there will always be a need for up-to-date antivirus protection. Furthermore, these viruses are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to discover, and as a result the growth in virus attacks is set to continue.

Why antivirus

A return on investment is difficult to calculate for antivirus software because, once installed, it will not immediately decrease costs or improve efficiency.

However, it is most certain that at some point your PC or network will be harmed by a virus. This could effectively destroy valuable information and documents, stop your PC or network from working or slow down your system. It can also take a great deal of time to resolve and be extremely expensive in terms of the technical personnel required to fix the issue and the fact that people will not have access to their PCs. The key issue here is what will happen if you don’t have an antivirus system in place.

Benefits of using antivirus software

• The key benefit to installing antivirus software is quite simply that it prevents a virus damaging your PC or network.

• Protects your PC or network from viruses and other forms of malware.

• Prevents downtime, i.e. valuable working time could be wasted if you can not access your PC due to a virus infection.

• Protects valuable information on your PC.

• Prevents other people outside of your organisation being able to access your information whether it is business or personal data.

• Potentially prevents emails being sent by your system thereby damaging you and your organisation’s reputation. Some viruses access your email folders and send an email to all of your contacts with the virus attached.

• Prevents the time consuming and unnecessary task of having to clean or remove the virus after the damage has been done.

• Reduces the potential financial implications — getting the technical support required to achieve removal of the virus and to restore your lost information

• Legal implications — in some instances it is required to demonstrate that your organisation has taken reasonable measures to protect the information you hold about your customers and the email you exchange with them.

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