Technology

Expired antivirus - is it a big deal?

There are many essential pieces of software needed to keep the modern business running, with one of the most important being the antivirus scanner. These programs are a major component in keeping your systems and computers secure from various Internet-based threats. While install rates are near 100 percent in businesses, some companies have been letting their antivirus subscriptions expire.

When an antivirus subscription expires?

While each program will treat an expired subscription slightly different, generally speaking, most will still function in some way. You will normally be able to run a scan, but you likely won't be able to deal with any malware or security threats. Features like automated scanning will also be turned off.

Other programs will stop updating the essential virus and malware databases that are used by the program to identify and clean new malware. This means that while you will be secure from known viruses and security flaws up to the date of the last database update, you will not be secure against newly discovered viruses.

Some popular programs offer an antivirus scanner trial version or a program that comes with a newly purchased computer. With programs like these, they will normally stop functioning once the trial pe

riod is over. Yes, they will still open, but you won't be able to scan or perform any tasks.

In short, when your subscription expires, your systems will no longer be as secure, or as protected as they should be.

What to do if my subscription is about to expire?

Before your subscription expires you should take steps to back up all of your systems and data. The reason for this is that should something happen you have a clean backup to revert to. Once this is carried out, then consider renewing your subscription. Most programs allow you to do this directly from the scanner itself, so it is often fairly straightforward.

As a business owner, you are going to need to keep track of your systems and licenses. What we recommend is creating a spreadsheet with information on the subscription applied to all systems. Take account of when the scanner was installed on each system, how long the subscription period is for, and when it will expire.

What if my subscriptions are about to expire, but I don't like my current program?

There may come a time when the scanner you have selected simply isn't living up to your expectations. Maybe it takes too long to scan, uses too many resources, or simply isn't able to protect all of your systems. Regardless of the reason, switching scanners is always an option.

If you are thinking of moving to another scanner, it is strongly recommend that before you do anything, you back up your systems. You can then start looking for other systems.

Further, a managed antivirus solution might work better for your business. By using a system like this, it can help protect your systems, keeping them secure and always up to date, all without you having to get involved.

David Spire, president and CEO of United Systems, holds multiple professional certifications. He can be reached at 941-721-6423 or by email at david.spire@uscomputergroup.com.

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