As mentioned earlier, Microsoft Defender is a great starter antivirus given that it’s reasonably comprehensive, pre-installed, and free. But it doesn’t make the cut when it comes to protecting your business’s IT security from sophisticated cyber threats.
There are solid alternatives that you can use instead of Microsoft Defender, such as:
Sophos Intercept X
Sophos has been in the IT security business since the 80s, and the sophistication of their products is a good show of their veteran status.
Its Intercept X platform utilizes endpoint detection/response (EDR) and deep learning AI to deliver an outstanding IT security service.
If your business has an IT team responsible for protecting multiple endpoints, this product is definitely for you as it’s capable of defending hundreds and even thousands of them simultaneously.
It isn’t OS-specific, so it’ll work regardless of whether you use a fleet of Macs or a fleet of PCs. It also functions on virtual machines and cloud-based infrastructures. Its protection even covers your mobile devices—and it has its Chrome extension.
Some features of Intercept X’s Endpoint features include:
- Multi-layer endpoint protection that blocks various types of threats.
- A comprehensive, robust self-service security management interface that displays security alerts.
- Malware detection can detect threats that are known and never-before-seen.
- The ability to avoid false-positives so that it doesn’t prevent you from accessing or interacting with legitimate sites and software.
- Creates and surfaces a list of potential threats that you can review further.
- Protection from ransomware and other exploitation attacks using two solutions— 1) CryptoGuard, which monitors for encryption processes that attempt to hijack your business data. 2) Exploit Prevention, which keeps an eye out for the tools and techniques used when cybercriminals attempt to exploit you and cause zero-day exploit attacks.
- A Threat Analysis center gives you a run-down on where threats originate, shows its chain of attack, and provides suggestions on handling the threat.
- Reporting and analytics solutions that log and report on its thorough security insights, all visualized on an easy-to-navigate dashboard.
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
Traditional firewalls, which are becoming increasingly outdated, aren’t enough to protect your business against data theft. It’s for this reason that your business should opt for an excellent next-generation firewall like Sophos XG.
These types of firewalls are unique for many reasons, including their ability to inspect at the application level, prevent intrusion from more sophisticated cyberthreats, and take advantage of valuable data from outside the firewall itself.
NGFWs are a go-to device for SMBs, especially for those in office environments.
Some features of Sophos XG include:
- Packet-filtering firewalls guarantee the inspection of incoming and outgoing data packets before greenlighting their access.
- Circuit-level gateways that provide User Datagram Protocol 9UDM) and Transmission Control Protocol 9TCM) for connection security.
- Stateful inspection firewalls that are capable of identifying whether or not packets attempting to gain access to your network are malicious or safe—and respond accordingly.
- SSL packet inspection, which prevents malware transmission via encrypted connections.
- Robust threat security reporting that is customizable and visualized in an easy-to-understand layout.
- Application-level gateways can detect and stop attacks that might otherwise slip through the cracks, such as attacks attached to HTTP requests.
- Site to site virtual private networks (VPNs), which are ideal for securely connecting to different workstations located on-premise, a feature that’s perfect for teams that have to work remotely for a temporary period.
- The synchronization of your firewall and endpoint security to properly defend against malware, viruses, and other more sophisticated forms of cyberattack.
Email Security Systems
Email security depends as much upon your security solutions as it does your people.
Standard email security that isn’t able to predict threats before they hit you isn’t going to keep your business safe in the long run, which is why you should invest in more modern email protection services like Proofpoint Email Security.
Some features of this product include:
- Blocking Business email compromise scams, malware, and phishing attacks.
- Email warning tags to bring suspicious emails to your attention.
- Can scale for large enterprises with complete flexibility, as well as the ability to create customizable email firewalls with rules at the global, group, and user level.
- Automation to deliver operational efficiencies for security and threat response.
- Integrated email authentication, encryption, DLP, Targeted Attack Protection, and other extended protections.
A Holistic IT Security Strategy
Using any one of these tools will not give you the security level your business needs to stay safe in our modern digital age.
However, when combined with solid business continuity and disaster recovery plans (BCDR) and with consistent IT security awareness training, your company will be more than ready to stop or respond to any threat that comes your way.
When generating your BCDR plans, consider the various scenarios and levels of business disruption that may impact business operations.
Each business will have its variables to keep in mind during this process, but keep at least these situations in mind: How will your company respond to a disruption that occurs on-premise? What about offsite? What about local, regional, or even national disruptions?
When putting together your IT security awareness training, you’ll want to put into specific policy protocols that must be adhered to, such as who has access to specific critical files and who should be reported to in the event of a disruptive event.
Awareness training should be conducted at least on an annual basis, and all new employees should be required to go through the training as part of their onboarding process.
Comprehensive Security = Protected Company
Although Microsoft Defender is insufficient for protecting your business’s IT security, it’s still a good baseline of any Windows device defense. But when it comes to defending your business’s critical data, you’re going to want to go with more than any single antivirus. It’s one thing to run a successful SMB; it’s another thing to adequately protect it from the vast number of cybercriminals who want to exploit it for their own gain.
This is why it’s critical to have your own IT staff who work tirelessly to anticipate and deflect unwanted entities trying to breach your systems. However, not everyone can have a dedicated in-house IT team, so many rely instead on a managed service provider like Commprise.
It often makes more sense to go with an MSP even when you have the capacity for in-house IT staff due to an MSP’s price efficiency, flexibility, and ability to scale with your company’s needs.
If you’re interested in taking IT security’s weight off your company’s shoulders, consider our Managed Security Services.