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Hidden costs of malware

Often times in the business world we need to look at total cost of ownership, for Information Technology. While this is very important to run an efficient business, one thing that is hard to guage are the hidden costs that are not as easy to detect and notice.

Often times in the business world we need to look at total cost of ownership, for Information Technology. While this is very important to run an efficient business, one thing that is hard to guage are the hidden costs that are not as easy to detect and notice.

Recently it seems that viruses and malware for Windows have ramped up before the holiday season fast approaching. I've recently seen huge amounts of resources including time, money, and just plain manpower thrown at fighting off malware of all sorts on Windows systems. This is exhausting resources that are already busy at this time of year.

The first reaction to malware outbreaks is "make sure your antivirus software is up to date". While this is a great theory at fighting off malware, in reality this doesn't always work. Quite a few times recently, I've been seeing more and more malware get through undetected. Some products catch some, but I haven't seen a product that catches everything in one shot. On servers and gateways, it is common to run multiple antivirus engines just for this reason. But on the desktop, you usually want to keep resource usage of antivirus software at a minimum.

These types of hidden costs can go unnoticed for quite some time. This can secretly drain a company and keep it from doing normal business. What can you do?

Evaluate the antivirus products out there, and check reviews that are not sponsored by the company that writes the software. I also like to check forums to see what types of issues that people post and if they are resolved. I've found that some big names in the antivirus software world don't always write the best products, in fact the opposite can happen when there companies are so large that their products are of poor quality and simply don't work. Symantec is one that was once the top name in quality antivirus software and has slid downhill.

Try to capture and infected PC, disconnect it from the network, and put the antivirus software to the test. If the antivirus software claims to work, let's see it work.

Explore other possibilities as well that are outside of the box. For instance, migrating to another operating system like Mac OS X and Linux for some applications. This can greatly save time, money, and headaches if a successful migration can happen. Completely eliminating the bait of the Windows operating system for malware essentially stops the malware problem at its roots.

All in all, investing a little upfront testing and time can save you much more time and resources down the road.