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How to Choose the Right Antivirus Solution for Exchange Server 

Added: 08/28/2012, Hits: 4,016, Rating: 0, Comments: 0, Votes: 0
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Choosing the right antivirus solution to go with your Exchange Server and protect your email users against malware outbreaks is important. But it doesnít have to be something that causes you, or the rest of your IT department, any stress.

When evaluating an antivirus solution, you should make sure that it contains the following features:

  • Multiple antivirus technologies

  • Protection against zero-day threats

  • Anti-phishing capabilities

  • Ease of use

The more the merrier
Security experts preach about using a layered approach to protect their IT assets. The theory behind this is that if one measure doesnít stop the threat, there are others in place to do so.
But people often ask the question, why bother with the outer layers and just concentrate on the most secure one? And the answer is simple. The outer layers usually require fewer resources so they are more efficient and they have the ability to stop specific threats that other layers may miss.

By making sure that your solution encompasses many different technologies you and your users can feel confident that the different threats are dealt with before they can do any damage.

Protection against the unknown
Zero-day threats are classified as ones that have not yet been seen in the wild so there are no known defenses against them. This creates a problem if your antivirus solution operates solely by checking against virus signature files or definitions. If this is the case, zero-day threats will be able to infect your computers until the vendor addresses the malware with a specific signature file.

Antivirus solutions that employ heuristic analysis and/or a sandbox are able to identify unknown threats based on the ability to identify attack patterns (heuristic analysis), or by seeing how the executable file reacts in a virtual environment (sandbox).

Without this type of protection, your resources are at the mercy of your antivirus vendorís ability to publish an update to their engine.

The most common ways to infect a computer with malware is to:

a) Get the victim to download a file, or
b) Get the victim to visit a malicious website.

One of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to accomplish this is to send out millions of emails intended to trick the recipient into downloading a malicious file or clicking on a malicious link. This is known as phishing and has been shown to be extremely effective; especially when the emails are spoofed to look like they come from a legitimate sender.

Antivirus protection needs to work in tandem with the anti-spam filter so that these types of attacks can be stopped. By adding protection against phishing attacks to the security solution an additional layer is added that can offer protection against another threat landscape.

Ease of use
The final component in any antivirus solution is that it should be easy to install and configure out of the box.

Some solutions offer weeks of training and certifications in their specific products. Smaller organizations can ill afford the costs involved for that type of training, especially when they rely on a small IT team to keep other business processes running. Hence the needs for a solution that provides protection without a complex installation and setup process. Complex products often result in inexperienced admins misconfiguring the software and creating even more issues to resolve.

An easy to use solution is also more likely to receive attention from the IT staff as well. When things are too complicated to use, they get ignored. When they can be updated, deployed and managed with ease, they are more likely to be used to their fullest potential.

Of course, the price is often a key consideration, if not the main one. Companies may wish to implement the top of the line solution only to find out that it is so cost prohibitive that they end up with nothing. They never realize that there are solutions that are geared specifically for the small- and medium-sized business market, and that still protect networks against threat.

About The Author
This guest post was provided by Jeff Orloff on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more about what the right mail server antivirus solution for your company should include.

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