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Antivirus is the foundation of any cybersecurity program and should be a staple for MSPs to ensure their clients’ devices are safe from viruses and malware. However, antivirus alone is not enough to protect against cyberthreats like data theft and ransomware. Malware (an umbrella term for computer viruses) can cause serious damage to a device, steal valuable data, or even lock down a network.

Modern antivirus protection combines signature-based detection, which scans incoming files and programs for a list of known malware signatures; heuristic detection, which looks for patterns in a file’s code that are associated with malicious activity; and behavioral detection, which watches how files and programs behave to identify suspicious activity. Ideally, your antivirus solution should combine all of these methods to provide the most thorough security coverage possible.

The best antivirus software offers real-time scanning of all incoming files, as well as a full-system scan of all connected external devices, such as hard drives and USB adapters, to prevent viruses from spreading between computers and into your client’s systems. Many tools also feature dark web scanning, which alerts MSPs to data leaks on the deep web before criminals have a chance to exploit it.

Despite its ubiquity, traditional antivirus is no longer enough to keep up with the speed at which new malware attacks are launched. To be effective, modern antivirus solutions must incorporate global scanning, human threat intelligence, industry collaboration, cloud integration, and advanced technology that addresses zero-day and other next-generation threats.