Are firewalls and virus software effective security measures?

Wednesday, 30 October 2002, 1:33 PM EST

Organisations only making use of traditional security products like firewalls and anti-virus software, while covering the basic aspects of security, may not be using the most effective security strategy in the context of a total solution, as these products are limited in their benefits.

Although anti-virus software has served users well for a lengthy period, today's fast-paced technology means that viruses travel much faster than signature updates can keep up. This kind of software often relies on databases containing these signatures, which catch and define viruses.

It is therefore essential to ensure that the database of signatures is as up-to-date as possible. This implies a mechanism that guarantees that the latest signatures are updated, as and when new viruses are detected. Therefore a process of automatic updating of signatures, a built-in feature found in most anti-virus products, as well performing the necessary upgrade maintenance are critical actions. These are steps that cannot be left up to human processing, but must be automated to be kept up-to-date at all times.

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