Security Software, how do you decide?

Jai Hogben, Procurement Director writes: –

Years ago I worked in an auction house and in our office we had one wall dedicated to filing cabinets, floor to ceiling, full to the brim of paperwork. We also had a basement which again was packed full of boxes of paperwork…. Those days are almost gone now and I for one don’t miss them, especially when you consider that finding an old invoice could take hours! Now, everything is available at the click of a button, ‘Great!’ you may think, but with convenience comes consequence…

Coupled with the emergence of Cloud, demand for watertight security software has become a priority for ALL companies, of any size. Whether it’s a single PC or server, or multiple systems that need protecting, they all need to be protected as they hold valuable company information that if lost or compromised can ruin an organisation of any size, overnight!

The range of products available on the market now is huge and IT managers all over the world are constantly looking for the latest and most secure product available. With ever tightening compliance laws around data protection, anyone who holds public info, be it government, military, banks, hospitals or general businesses, must abide by the rules and pay whatever it takes to protect the information they hold.

IT managers need to find a product that protects the company against hackers, viruses, system failures, hardware failures, well the list goes on. And not only that, there are further security risks with BYOD (Bring your own device) schemes and smartphones in almost everyone’s pocket!

The big players Apple, Google and Amazon have all very publicly invested heavily in security in recent months, yet ironically Microsoft towards the end of 2014 reportedly laid off over 2,000 employees in their own security division, TCG, marking what has been called the end of an era at Microsoft.

It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and some market resources predicting continued growth of up to the region of 50% in the next two years! In fact, Forbes predicts a global spend that will break the $100 billion mark in 2016.

With every new threat a new product comes out, and with thousands of products to choose from, ranging from the FOC to the thousands of pounds… how does anyone choose?

First things first, you need to know what actually needs protecting. Then see what security software you already have, as you might just need an upgrade. There are two types of software from which you must make a decision – standalone (for a small number of computers) or centralised (for a large number of computers).

So what should I do once I know what I want? Get advice from the people that know best. Your IT supplier or IT support company is a good place to start when it comes to choosing a security package. Not only are they aware of what’s available, they are also in a great position to help you understand the best solution for your individual needs.

Generally made for personal use, free of charge products might sound fantastic to your company accountant but can fall short of what’s required for business use. As well as nagging you with pop-ups about upgrading or adverts – all part of the deal – they also won’t offer many of the extra features you get with the paid version. So all those additional firewall, tracking or anti-spam facilities might make it worth the annual subscription.

Every customer is different so choose security software that suits you. If you’re only a small company then it’s a lot easier to trial new software to see how it operates. Larger companies might select a few people or computers to act as guinea pigs before committing to a long term investment and then finding that it causes major clashes or problems.

Whatever you choose, it’s vital that the security or anti-virus software you use is installed on all of your computers and servers. And just because it’s installed, don’t let your guard down. Pay attention to any changes in the industry and always stay on top of security with strict internal policies, a robust plan and a backup system too – you never know when you might need it.

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