Network Administration: Antivirus Programs - dummies

Network Administration: Antivirus Programs

The best way to protect your network from virus infection is to use an antivirus program. These programs have a catalog of several thousand known viruses that they can detect and remove. In addition, they can spot the types of changes that viruses typically make to your computer’s files, thus decreasing the likelihood that some previously unknown virus will go undetected.

It would be nice if Windows came with built-in antivirus software, but alas — it does not. You have to purchase a program on your own. The two best-known antivirus programs for Windows are Norton AntiVirus by Symantec and VirusScan by McAfee.

The people who make antivirus programs have their fingers on the pulse of the virus world and frequently release updates to their software to combat the latest viruses. Because virus writers are constantly developing new viruses, your antivirus software is next to worthless unless you keep it up to date by downloading the latest updates.

Here are several approaches to deploying antivirus protection on your network:

  • Install antivirus software on each network user’s computer. This technique would be the most effective if you could count on all your users to keep their antivirus software up to date. Because that’s an unlikely proposition, you may want to adopt a more reliable approach to virus protection.

  • Managed antivirus services place antivirus client software on each client computer in your network. Then, an antivirus server automatically updates the clients on a regular basis to make sure that they’re kept up to date.

  • Server-based antivirus software protects your network servers from viruses. For example, you can install antivirus software on your mail server to scan all incoming mail for viruses and remove them before your network users ever see them.

  • Some firewall appliances include antivirus enforcement checks that don’t allow your users to access the Internet unless their antivirus software is up to date. This type of firewall provides the best antivirus protection available.