One of the most basic and essential protections for any business or personal computer is antivirus software. Malware and viruses have always been one of the main vectors of cyberattacks, and that is no different entering the third decade of the 20th century. Per Forbes, computer viruses posed a bigger threat in 2020 than could have been expected due to the new cyber-reality the pandemic created. In which case, managed antivirus services are more critical than ever.
That’s why we’ve built this guide — to help you identify whether antivirus services are right for your enterprise.
The Pro’s and Con’s of Outsourced Managed Antivirus
There is no question about whether or not a company needs antivirus solutions; every single company (and every private individual) needs comprehensive virus protection. However, it is worth debating whether, for your company, it makes more sense to handle antivirus services internally or externally.
For many companies, the benefits of handling them externally will outweigh the costs.
In the sections below, we’ll walk you through some of the most significant advantages and disadvantages to consider when outsourcing your antivirus solutions, including:
- Robust security from an outsider’s perspective (pro)
- The potential for a loss of control or oversight (con)
- Optimal efficiency and savings on security (pro)
- Poor communication and trust issues (con)
Then, we’ll break down what to look for in an ideal antivirus or general cybersecurity partner. By the end of this blog, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision about your antivirus strategy.
Pro: True Safety from an Unbiased Perspective
Using an external, outsourced antivirus service is a great way to ensure that the individual or team keeping your company safe is doing so in an objective, unbiased manner. Insiders can pose unique security threats to an organization. Per Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 70% of attacks originate from outside, meaning that 30% originate internally.
For a good reason, external perspectives are often required, especially for assessment.
When certifying your company’s cybersecurity, there are two primary evaluation forms: internal assessment and external audits. In many cases where official documentation is required for regulatory compliance (for instance: CMMC certification), an external audit is required:
- On the one hand, an internal assessor may have ulterior motives; they may misrepresent weaknesses for business or even personal reasons, like advancement.
- On the other hand, even a well-meaning internal assessor operating in good faith may miss particular weaknesses that only a truly objective observer would realize.
That’s why an outsider’s perspective is more beneficial to your company’s safety than an insider’s view. The same reasoning applies to antivirus services.
Con: Potentially Less Control and Oversight
No cybersecurity solution comes without its potential drawbacks or costs. One of the most significant possible negative attributes of an outsourced antivirus program is that you may relinquish some control over the safeguards installed (or how your selected partner is preventing viruses).
Viruses and malware can enter your company’s systems in myriad ways, many of which are difficult or even possible to detect. For example, consider things your staff might do accidentally:
- Download malware disguised as a harmless program (“trojan horse”)
- Click on a link disguised as a work-related website (“domain spoofing”)
- Open emails from fake senders (social engineering scams, like “phishing”)
Protecting against viruses involves a wide range of practices undertaken at nearly every level of the organization. You’ll need everything from initial filters and blockers that keep viruses out to proactive scanning for any that creep through. Additionally, you’ll need thorough personnel training.
Managed antivirus monitors nearly every aspect of the company, and outsourcing means handing over many access points. On another level, too much oversight can make it harder for the partner to do their job. So, the important thing is finding the right balance.
Pro: Premium Security at an Affordable Price
Counteracting the potential for less oversight, a great benefit of externally managed antivirus is that you can often leverage the most powerful and comprehensive technologies at a fraction of the cost. Managed security service providers (MSSPs) are like wholesale retailers.
Working with an MSSP for managed antivirus gives you access to services like:
- Robust threat detection and response
- Penetration testing and root cause analysis
- Comprehensive firewalls and proactive web filtering
When you purchase antivirus software or hardware for internal use, you are likely to pay a premium. But since MSSPs utilize these products and services in bulk, they pay less for them — and so do you. Plus, rather than purchasing expensive hardware and software you wouldn’t need outside of antivirus capabilities, outsourcing is analogous to cost-effective rental.
Another way outsourcing managed antivirus services can help financially is that it frees up your internal IT and other personnel to work on matters more crucial to your business. Rather than burdening them with installing and monitoring antivirus systems, they can work on research and development of products and services, optimizing your overall efficiency.
Con: Miscommunications and Trust Issues
There’s potential for communication and trust issues in any relationship, business or otherwise. The same is true when outsourcing your antivirus solution.
When it comes to antivirus, however, the stakes are exceptionally high. Working with an untrustworthy contractor can be compromising. Anyone with insider knowledge of your company’s cyberdefenses is at a uniquely privileged position from which to exploit them, doing the exact kind of damage you had initially hired them to prevent — whether intentionally or not.
It is a core reason why trust and communication are essential in an antivirus partner.
Importantly, trust and communication issues are not inherent to external partners for managed antivirus or cybersecurity measures. Instead, they are a hallmark of poor partnerships. The best antidote is knowing what to look for in a cybersecurity company.
What to Look for in an Antivirus Services Partner
To account for and mitigate the cons detailed above (while still taking full advantage of the pros), it’s essential to look for an antivirus partner who can tailor their offerings to your business’s specific needs and means. Negotiation and flexibility are critical to preventing issues of communication, trust, and control.
Plus, you want a partner with a proven track record.
In many cases, your best bet is contracting with an MSSP that specializes in a wide range of integrated cybersecurity services. For example, our suite of managed security services includes broad, company-wide systems here at RSI Security. These include but are not limited to:
- Vulnerability assessment and incident management
- Patch reporting and compliance advisory services
- Third-party risk management (“TPRM” or “3PRM”)
To get the most out of your antivirus services, you should look for ways to integrate them into all elements of your cybersecurity. That way, your cyberdefense is as strong as it can be.
Professional Managed Antivirus Services and Cybersecurity
Our team of dedicated experts has been providing managed antivirus and other cybersecurity solutions to companies of all sizes, in all industries, for over a decade. We’re happy to work with you on all cyberdefense elements, from all of the services mentioned above to even more robust and comprehensive solutions, like architecture implementation and virtual CISO. To see how powerful your antivirus and overall cyberdefense can be, contact RSI Security today.