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Securing Your Home Computer To Work From Home (Part 2/6)

Choosing the best security software for your home computer.

Choosing the right security software for your computer is stressful. The consequences of choosing the wrong option, or not configuring everything correctly can be catastrophic, resulting in losing files, access to your computer, or even your money. Security software companies do not make this any easier by coming up with scary-looking stats and providing scenarios that will bring fear to even a seasoned IT pro.

A note of caution. Perfect security does not exist. The goal of any security software is three-fold: Prevent a vast majority of attacks; Notify the user when an incident has happened; limit the damages to the system and data. It is important to plan for the eventuality that a virus will make it through your security, and you will lose data. Planning for this eventuality will be discussed in an upcoming article.

There are a lot of Antivirus solutions on the market, and they can vary widely on features and costs. In short, you must choose a solution that works for you, so here are a couple of tips:

Free can be good but only select a very reputable company. Microsoft has built Defender into Windows 10, and although it lacks some of the features other vendors offer, it is integrated into the operating system in ways other vendors are not able to. When downloading any software, ensure that you are getting the software from the company you have chosen.

Macs need antivirus too. Many people consider a virus for Macintosh computer to be an urban legend, but I assure you they are not, and never have been (PCWorld.com). Just like a PC there are free and paid versions, offering a wide range of features and options.

Read reviews before downloading or buying. Learning about other users and their experiences will give you the best idea of what to expect from a product. Be wary of reviews that are marked as ads in your search engine of choice, and instead scroll down and find blog posts and support forums for your information.

Always buy/download from a reputable source. This applies to any software but is especially important for antivirus software. There has been a long history of fake antivirus, often freely available, that will remove other infections, but steal your data and infect you with its own malware at the same time(EC-Council).

Like peanut butter needs jelly; antivirus software needs a firewall. A firewall has one very specific job, and that is to watch the data that moves across your network interface. These systems will sometimes work together with an antivirus engine to scan traffic for malicious content, preventing an infection from ever landing on your computer. You will often have a physical firewall built into your router as well, and this helps you build an effective defense in depth strategy. Some applications will need to have exceptions created for them, pay attention to what is requesting a firewall exception, and only grant them to trusted applications. Both Mac and Windows include a built-in firewall, that is quite robust, enabling it is a free and simple way to improve any computer’s security.

Be sure to check back next week for part 3 in our 6 part series on Keeping Your Computer Secure.  And of course if you have any questions hit us up on social media, we would be happy to help you with any personal computer questions you might have.

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