Best Malware Scanner - Why is it Important?
Your malware scanner and your web applications firewall will form the core of your website’s defense against all the many threats in cyberspace. You must know how to get the most out of them and what other measures to take to enhance the protection they offer.
Choose the Right Malware Scanner and Web Application Firewall (WAF)
You’re going to need both a malware scanner and a web applications firewall. That being so, it usually makes the most sense to buy them together as part of a website vulnerability scanning package. Different vendors will have different options at different price points but any decent option will include these core functions.
Before hitting the “purchase” button, do a thorough check to make sure that you are happy both with the product or service itself and with the vendor behind it. In particular, check that the product will support anything and everything you might reasonably want to implement on your website. That means not just the CMS, but also your third-party add-ons and any technologies/languages you want to use.
Also, make sure that the product or service comes from a vendor with a reliable track record. This may seem a bit unfair on new companies, but the harsh reality is that it’s very dangerous to take a gamble on your website’s security. Leave up-and-coming security companies to businesses that can afford to take the risk with them.
See what options there are for contacting the vendor if you need them. In particular, is there a phone number or just a chat/email? Phone may sound very “old-school” but it can also be massively helpful if you need someone to “hold your hand” while you do something. See if the vendor gives any indications on response times for customer support and for technical support (they’re often different). If support hours are less than 24/7 check the applicable time zone!
Finally, check that you completely understand the terms of the product or service. For example, if you’re signing up for a cloud-based product, what is included in your monthly fee and what could potentially be an extra cost.
Be prepared to spend some time fine-tuning the settings on your WAF
Setting up a malware scanner is generally fairly easy these days, especially if you go for a cloud-based option. In that case, it can be as simple as making the purchase and entering a few key details. There’s nothing to download and the vendor will take care of all updates for you. As a bonus, all the processing and storage will be managed by the vendor’s servers.
Setting up a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can be more of a challenge as they vary widely in how easy they are to use. Cloud-based options tend to be the most straightforward as they are often created with SMBs in mind. Even so, you’re probably going to need to put some work into figuring out what settings work for your particular website and the traffic which flows through it. If possible, set aside time to test it when traffic is light.
Protect your servers, local computers, and mobile devices as well
All your servers, local computers, and mobile devices need to be protected by a robust malware scanner and a firewall. If you have any remote or mobile workers then it’s strongly recommended that you also invest in a virtual private network solution. This will compensate for any vulnerabilities in third-party internet connections.
Make sure that access to your database server is restricted to the bare minimum. Remember that this applies both to web applications and to human users. Keep all sensitive data encrypted at all times regardless of where it is in your system (e.g. production, backup, or archive). Also, make sure that you have a robust data backup process.
Keep All OS and Software Updated (Powerful, Anti-malware Protection)
Remember that all means all. It covers everything from your servers and desktop computers to your mobile devices and from your major operating systems to every last third-party add-on you have on your website. Any one of these is a potential point of vulnerability.
Vet, manage and monitor your human users
These days, your greatest security weakness is likely to be that team of staff you value so much. The biggest danger isn’t malice (although it certainly should be a consideration), it’s ignorance and often overwork. Bluntly, people, even people who ought to, and maybe do, know better, are often too busy to worry about security. Vet, manage, and monitor your human users and give them the time they need to do their job safely.
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