Firewalls and Antivirus: A Cybercrime One, Two Punch

Although the internet has revolutionized how we do business, communicate, and essentially live our lives, it also created a whole new breed of crime. Cybercrime occurrences have steadily rising over the past few years.  Cybercriminals use a variety of tools to break into the networks of companies and steal sensitive information, leak proprietary data publically, engage in cyber warfare. Businesses that endure a cyberattack have a very hard time bouncing back. Brand reputation suffers, and some businesses even need to close their doors.

It is a common misconception that having a firewall is enough to protect your business against cybercrime. While firewalls protect companies from rouge internet traffic, they cannot solely protect a company’s IT infrastructure. It is through a combination of powerful firewalls and an enterprise-level antivirus solution that a strong defense against cybercrime can be established.

Firewalls

Firewalls are network security systems that monitor and control traffic going in and out of a company’s network (often but not exclusively via the internet). Firewalls act as a shield against untrusted traffic – keeping a company’s intranet safe from outside attack. Network firewalls work by filtering traffic between networks. They also can provide additional functions such as facilitating virtual private networks (VPN) so that employees can securely connect to their files and data while on the go.

Antivirus Software for Workstations and Servers

Many cybercrimes begin with rogue code or malicious software. Once a virus enters a system it can manipulate its host system. Viruses can hijack entire systems and take over control of individual workstations and even entire servers. Or a virus may act as a key logger which records everything an employee types on his or her workstation – which can expose sensitive data like account credentials including passwords. A more recent genre of virus, known as ransomware, locks users out of their systems and then demands money in order to return control of the system.

A powerful antivirus solution can protect businesses if a virus manages to sneak its way into the system. Workstations and servers can both benefit from an antivirus solution.

  • Servers – Servers store data, run applications, host databases, and keep employees connected. They are connection point for multiple devices running on the network including workstations, laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones. As servers host an array of company data and connect with many components in the office, it is imperative to have a server antivirus solution installed. Server antivirus solutions are available for major server operating systems including the Windows Server OS and Linux-based server operating systems.
  • Workstations – Workstations (usually desktop computers) are what employees use to complete their day-to-day activities. All workstations not only need antivirus protection installed, they need to be configured to update regularly. Antivirus solutions need regular updating with new virus definitions as hackers introduce new viruses to the internet daily. Regular updating of your virus definitions ensures your employees’ workstations are protected from the most recent threats.

It is a combination of firewall and antivirus protection that provide the strongest defense against cyberattacks and infiltration by a cybercriminal.

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