You would want to find out if a pipe is leaking inside of a wall long before you start to notice the damage on the outside of the wall, right? Likewise, centrally managed software helps detect those types of data leaks and small malware problems before they become bigger problems.
There are some major differences between free software and reasonably-priced subscription-based software. We’ve all tried the “free” anti-virus software packages available on the Internet. In general, free software can do a reasonable job, but the speed-to-market when counter-acting a virus threat is a major difference. There’s an economic value to using paid subscriptions that tend to update and deploy more quickly. We use centrally-managed anti-virus software for PC’s, laptops, and servers for several reasons:
- Deployment of software is standardized, the installation has been tested on all of the operating systems and platforms that we support
- Virus Definitions are automatically updated and populated by a schedule that we manage centrally
- If an outbreak occurs, we are notified of the impact and how/where the issue originates, which allows us to take action, if needed, to minimize the outbreak (versus find-out about it after the fact)
Nothing in the industry can guarantee complete protection. There are still some risks using devices that are connected (or devices that once have been connected) to the Internet. End-users must continue to exercise operational caution. We like to compare anti-virus software to airbags for cars – the anti-virus simply helps protect against damage, much like an airbag helps to protect against injury to the driver – but ultimately, it’s the driver that determines the ultimate risk taken and the driver can still crash a car with an airbag. The difference with an airbag is how much injury is sustained.