Buyer’s Guide to Security Software

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The digital revolution has made businesses more exposed to cyber attacks and malicious hackers than ever before.

This means that the overall dependence on security software is dramatically increasing. In a recent cyber security survey, more than 73% claimed they were more dependent on these types of software now than they were last year. And to make matters worse: less than a quarter believe that they are actually prepared to react to a serious data breach, according to Forbes.

In order to help you prepare for the challenges ahead with your own cyber security prevention strategy, we have prepared this 2019 buyer’s guide to security software. However, do remember that it’s simply not enough to invest heavily in security solutions and lean back with your feet on the table. Cybersecurity requires a constant, ongoing focus from your business – and it does require general upkeep, too.

We often see companies asking for the most modern, expensive security solutions on the market. Despite this, they haven’t actually planned on securing their endpoints or updating their current software solutions. These points are often the weakest link when it comes to business security – and the hackers won’t care about your expensive security solutions if they can find an easy way in.

In other words, having a holistic approach to your security is alpha and omega in 2019. After all, would you invest in the best house alarm on the market, but then leave your doors and windows open?

Popular Types of Business Security Software

  • Firewalls

A web application firewall is often your first line of defence, as it protects against online threats such as, zero-day exploits, malware infections, SQL injections, and other system vulnerabilities. This security measure works by closely monitoring and filtering website traffic, and it can enforce security policies on what traffic is allowed in and out of your systems. A firewall has also shown to be a helpful tool when it comes to combating DDoS attacks. However, it’s important to notice that a web application firewall is not designed to solve all your security questions.

  • Anti-virus software

Most people will be familiar with anti-virus solutions. This type of security software works by scanning your computer for malware and viruses, and if a virus is detected it will be removed by your software solution. Nowadays, many comprehensive security solutions also protect against threats such as keylogging, bots and spyware. There are a wide range of anti-virus solutions on the market – both paid and free. The free versions of anti-malware solutions are often based on open source technology.

  • Email Security and Spam Filters

Unsolicited emails and phishing attacks have long been popular methods of gaining access amongst hackers. Essentially, this software solution analyses all the emails and attachments you receive daily, and quarantine any suspicious looking emails. Email Security Solutions can be a very proactive way of protecting your network. Rather than using an anti-malware software to rid your computer of any issues, you can remove the risk before it even reaches your system.

  • Encryption

Encryption should be a key part of your cyber security strategy these days. Essentially, this works by turning your sensitive data into a code that can only be deciphered with a specific key. This makes your data incomprehensible to others, meaning that even if you were to suffer a data breach, the data will still be incredibly difficult to interpret.

  • Mobile Device Security

As many organisations are now using BYOD policies, it’s incredibly important that you secure your endpoints. This can be done by using Mobile Device Management Software or by using VPNs. With this solution, your IT administrator will gain access to regulate both corporate and personal devices, ensuring that these live up to the overall security standards of your organisation. If you find that endpoints is your clear weakness, you might also benefit from network-connected device security.

Security Software Pricing

Despite all the recent focus on cyber security, many businesses still have a long way to go.

A recent security survey conducted by technology market researchers Vanson Bourne and security specialists E1, recently found that “(…) the US and UK are still leaving their door wide open to attacks. Attacks that can potentially stop business operations for a few hours, and at their worst, wipe billions from the value of a company overnight.”

Here at YourShortlist, we often have our customers ask us how much they should invest in their cybersecurity in order to remain safe. Unfortunately, I’m afraid things are a bit more complicated than that.

Small and mid-sized businesses often have more restricted security budgets. In other words, they are dependent on maximising their cyber security investments. However, there’s more to consider than just the price tag of a cyber security tool: SMEs must also consider whether they can take on the ongoing maintenance costs and licensing costs –  in addition to the upfront cost of the software. For small and medium-sized companies with limited budgets, we often recommend Panda Security which is a robust protection tool.  Larger enterprises, on the other hand, must consider whether their chosen software is flexible enough to scale with their demands – and whether it’s capable of seamlessly integrating with any existing legacy systems or infrastructure.

At the end of the day, this all comes down to how well you know the needs of your business. The more you know about your risks and methods of defence, the higher the chance that you will find the best security software to fit your needs.

Read 21 Terrifying Cyber Security Stats here

Which Security Measures Can You Take?

Forbes can report that 93% of the respondents are experiencing security challenges today. The leading issues are linked to

  • Restrictive budgets and limited security funding
  • Legacy systems
  • Lack of visibility and control across endpoints
  • A general lack of understanding when it comes to IT security operations

So, which security measures can you take?

Increase visibility of your existing software

Existing technical shortcomings often impact new software solutions, too, thereby creating increased vulnerability. Always ensure that you have a complete overview of security protocols and any unpatched software. Do you remember the now infamous WannaCry attack?

This attack spread quickly because so few organisations had upgraded their software. In fact, Microsoft had already released a security patch which completely resolved the security issue – but organisations simply hadn’t taken the time to update. In other words, most attacks can be stopped simply by knowing what you have and making sure it’s patched.

Free software is still better than no software

As long as you take reasonable precautions and surf safely (and never download anything from unknown websites), a free antivirus solution can actually protect you quite well. The same goes for password management tools. While it certainly won’t protect you from everything, it can still be a good first step for small business with very limited security budgets. After all, a free software combined with good security hygiene is still much better than not having any security software at all.

Choose a security solution that works for you

It doesn’t matter how fancy the software is, if it doesn’t work for your business. Always ensure that your security solution integrates with your existing legacy systems and infrastructure, that it can scale alongside your demands, and that it’s generally easy to handle for your IT teams.

In addition, you must consider whether it has the customer service you need. Free products are often limited to forums, tutorials and chatbots. Will that be enough for you? Most paid suites offer free email support, while others charge for quick and effective phone support. Carefully consider what type of help desk you will be dependent on.

Get a managed services provider

Do you have the resources and expertise to handle your cyber security inhouse? Or should you outsource to a dedicated Managed Services provider?

IT Managed Services have become increasingly popular in the past few years. By having an ITSM partner, you get 24/7 access to the latest cyber security technology, talented and experienced staff, and the capability of dealing with your security concerns as unobtrusively as possible. If you’re at risk of cyber breaches, you should also consider investing in cyber insurance