What is IT Security Software? Analysis of Features, Benefits and Pricing

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With the emergence of more advanced technology, cybercriminals have also found more ways to get into the system of many organizations. Since more and more businesses are now transferring and relying their crucial operations on software products, the importance of software security assurance must be taken seriously – now more than ever. Having a reliable protection such as an IT security software is crucial to safeguard your computing environments and data.

What is IT security software? It is a general term that refers to any software product that provides protection for your computer or network. It serves as your defense against unauthorized access and intrusion in your system.  Many operating systems come with preloaded security tools and software. But for more control and security, it’s vital to employ your own security software. It comes in various types and it’s highly likely that you’re already using some of them even on your personal desktops. For example, the most popular ones are spyware removal software and virus protection software.

Many businesses are using PCs, networks, and servers to store their organization’s vital information (which, in most cases, contain private and financial information of clients and customers) and manage their core operations. This stresses the importance of having a good and reliable security system in place.

In this article, we’ll go beyond the definition of IT security software to get a better understanding of what this software does, what is it for, and how it can give value to your organization. We’ll discuss the purpose of IT security software and these other key points:

  1. Types of IT security software
  2. Features of IT security software
  3. Benefits of IT security software
  4. Buying factors of IT security software
  5. Examples of IT security software
  6. Pricing of IT security software
  7. Potential issues
  8. Latest trends

Importance of drawing the focus on cybersecurity challenges

It is not just the government or big corporations that become victims of cyber threats. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses have increasingly become targets of cybercrime over the past years. SMBs are also used as a gateway by cybercriminals to penetrate larger businesses using their direct and indirect business relationships. An estimate of half of the small businesses that suffer cyber attack results to going out of business within six months according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Hence, cybersecurity is a concern that the entire business community shares.

Source: SmallBizTrends.com

What’s even more alarming is how organizations not only have to protect their system from external factors, but they have to secure it internally as well. Some of the biggest cybersecurity threats are the result of mistakes and misuse of the organization’s own employees and contractors. A 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report reveals that it takes months or years to discover employee data theft – a significantly long time for these threats to go undiscovered.

Furthermore, a 2017 IT Risks Survey shows 66% of organizations perceive their employees to be the biggest threat to their system security availability according to 600 IT professionals as per ITProPortal. This appears to be justified as another research showcases 24% of UK employees admit to intentionally revealing and sharing confidential business information outside their organization, such as new and previous employees, and even competitors.

Types of IT Security Software

How does IT security software work? In essence, it detects and, in some cases, mitigates security attacks in your system. Since there are various types of security attacks, there are also various types of security products to target each one of them. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Firewall. The over-arching term “firewall” refers to the specialized defense systems for a single computing device or computer network. It filters data that enters or leaves a computer or network by blocking or restricting network ports from viruses and hackers. It also serves as a barrier between a trusted and untrusted network by only allowing traffic that’s defined by the firewall policy to enter the network. Serving as your computer’s first line of defense, this utility also comes in even more various types such as proxy firewall, stateful inspection firewall, unified threat management (UTM) firewall, next-generation firewall (NGFW), and threat-focused NGFW.
  2. Antivirus. This software utility is designed to prevent, search, detect and remove malicious software or malware such as viruses, worms, scareware, and Trojans. With the constant onslaught of new viruses, these programs are often updated to enable the system to check new threats. While vendors vary in their offerings, some of its basic functions include scanning files and directories for suspicious patterns, scheduling automatic scans, scanning of a specific file of your computer, CD, or flash drive at a given time, removing any detected malicious codes or infected files, and providing you an overview of your computer’s health.
  3. Spyware detection. Spyware, also called malware and adware, are software programs installed on your computer without your consent. An anti-spyware software is used to detect their presence on your computer or network and prevent or remove their installations. Removing them is crucial because they “spy” and record your personal information from your computer, as well as computing behaviors such as your documents, web browsing, and keystrokes. This can tailor advertising on your computer, change its configuration, and even send your personal details to another remote computer.
  4. Password protection. One of the highly used methods to prevent unauthorized access to a computer, file, folder, and system is protecting it with a password. The challenge of having a password lies in human memory. In most cases, many people use an easy-to-remember password such as birthdays and family names (and in many cases, the word “password” itself) which also makes it easy to guess for cybercriminals. Furthermore, many reuse the same password across various platforms that exposes risks to all your accounts even when only one is compromised. On the other hand, a unique, hard-to-guess password in each account is hard to remember. This is where password protection security comes handy in generating strong passwords and storing them securely.

EventLog Analyzer’s dashboard on File Integrity Monitoring (FIM).

Features of IT Security Software

What does IT security software do? Here are some of the key features of the security software:

  1. Automatic updates. This ensures you don’t miss any update and your system is the most up-to-date version to respond to the constantly emerging new cyber threats.
  2. Real-time scanning. Dynamic scanning features make it easier to detect and infiltrate malicious entities promptly. Without this feature, you’ll risk not being able to prevent damage to your system before it happens.
  3. Auto-clean. A feature that rids itself of viruses even without the user manually removing it from its quarantine zone upon detection. Unless you want the option to review the malware, there is no reason to keep the malicious software on your computer which makes this feature essential.
  4. Multiple app protection. This feature ensures all your apps and services are protected, whether they’re in email, instant messenger, and internet browsers, among others.
  5. Application level security. This enables you to control access to the application on a per-user role or per-user basis to guarantee only the right individuals can enter the appropriate applications.
  6. Role-based menu. This displays menu options showing different users according to their roles for easier assigning of access and control.
  7. Row-level (multi-tenant) security. This gives you control over data access at a row-level for a single application. This means you can allow multiple users to access the same application but you can control the data they are authorized to view.
  8. Single sign-on. A session or user authentication process that allows users to access multiple related applications as long as they are authorized in a single session by only logging in their name and password in a single place.
  9. User privilege parameters. These are customizable features and security as per individual user or role that can be accessed in their profile throughout every application.
  10. User-specific data sources. This enables you to build a single application that, depending on the user, accesses various data sources. It is the same with row-level security but on a database tier.
  11. Application activity auditing. Vital for IT departments to quickly view when a user logged in and off and which application they accessed. Developers can log end-user activity using their sign-on/signoff activities.

Benefits of IT Security Software

Why use IT security software? The real advantages of IT security software solutions directly correspond to the consequences of not having one. At some point, even the most tech-savvy users may download some form of malware or become victims of online scamming and identity theft. The internet is not a secure place and with more and more operations managed by SaaS solutions, prioritizing your entire organization’s protection is imperative.

  1. Prevention of viruses, spyware and identity theft. Hackers are finding trickier ways to create viruses that may pose as an anti-virus software, email from a friend, or imposter bank websites. Once they infect your computer, they can drastically slow down your processing speed, delete critical data, and damage your computer or network systems. Identity theft and spyware can also be prevented by using the software to safeguard the confidential personal information such as passwords, financial data, credit card numbers, and social security numbers of your system’s users. In fact, 80% of cyber attacks are caused by weak or stolen passwords, hence, it must be secured carefully.
  2. Protection of valuable information. Information is one of the most valuable assets of any organization. Hence, its protection is a vital part of your IT infrastructure. Loss of critical information caused by data corruption can be detrimental to your business. Furthermore, MasterCard International Inc. and Visa USA require data encryption to allow business to operate in order to protect customers when using their credit cards. Encryption and limiting access to sensitive information are only some of the aspects that are handled by information-technology security.   
  3. Ensure compliance. Many IT departments need to comply with legal, insurance, and industry restrictions to perform the management and transmission of data. Some of the most notable regulations to take note of includes FIPS, PCI/DSS, Gramm-Leach Bliley, HIPAA, and FISMA. Security software provides the encryption they require for compliance whenever your file is accessed, shared, circulated across various devices, and sent from or received in your system.    
  4. Security for clients. Give your clients peace of mind by making them aware your system is protected. At a time where cybersecurity is crucial, this benefit potentially increases your sales and marketability. The security and safety of their sensitive personal information are some of the customer’s primary concerns which make them hesitant to share their information and make transactions online. With that, having security solutions assures your customers that their information is safe with you. The best-industry practices give you rewards with an increased number of customers, higher sales, and sound market reputation.
  5. Reduce costs of development. Implementing a security solution early on prevents you high costs along the way. While it’s never too late to install a security software in your system, the sooner you have it, the better. If you choose to do it later, you’ll have more codes to modify. Inadvertent data loss and retrieval may also cause you a huge sum of money and amount of time when not prevented. In 2016 alone, the cost of cybercrime in the global economy reached upwards of $450 billion. By 2019, it is expected to reach up to $2 trillion.

Buying Factors of IT Security Software

With the wide array of products available, choosing the right security solution for your organization can be challenging. Not one product is completely the same with another. Aside from understanding the definition of what is IT security software, these factors should be on top of your list before deciding to purchase an IT security system for your business:

  1. Layered approach to security. Protection alone is not enough to safeguard your system. Choosing a software that has a layered approach closes any security gaps to identify potential threats and prevent them from causing further damage. The isolation and identification of threats must be covered in all layers. This includes firewalls, malware scanners, local storage encryption tools, and intrusion detection systems.
  2. Compatibility with your system needs. Understanding your own IT setup, network specification, software installations, and the different types of equipment in your system is crucial to shortlist potential security packages to fit in your specific business environment. An example is media encryption service which is essential for companies that use removable storage to block infected files from entering your network.
  3. Capability to cope with emerging threats. Cybercrime tech and tactics constantly evolve. If your system cannot respond to new threats, it won’t be of use to you and your system. Adapting and imposing protection against emerging threats should be a significant factor in choosing an IT security package. Check their software updates and patches if they are as innovative as the efforts of cybercrime.

Enrolling users in ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus.

Examples of IT Security Software

Since there are many types of information-technology security software products, we listed the top solutions you can check out for a head start. These examples of IT security software products offer a robust set of tools and features to match your cybersecurity requirements.

  1. ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus. It is a web-based, end-user password reset management program for domain users to perform a self-service password reset. In addition to self-service account unlock and employee self-update of personal information, the software also enables administrators to automate password resets. The software aims to address a significant percentage (30%) of helpdesk calls that are related to account lockout and password reset management. It also offers features such as enterprise single sign-on, password synchronizer, employee directory search, and password account expiry notifications to users. This is a secure self-service solution for users to manage their passwords and make changes in their personal details without relying on a systems expert which dramatically reduces the bulk of your staff’s workload.
  2. EventLog Analyzer. It’s a reliable choice for an IT compliance and log management software that streamlines the process of analyzing event logs such as network anomalies, policy violations, regulatory compliance, system downtime, internal threats, and user behaviors. This Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software provides a centralized hub to automate the entire process of handling a huge amount of machine-generated logs. It monitors privileged users and file integrity and ensures compliance with various regulatory bodies. It works seamlessly with more than 700 devices from over 30 vendors to ensure a quick and easy integration of the software with your existing setup.
  3. QuickLaunch. A software that specializes in single sign-on, this product provides you with end-to-end security solutions for your enterprise. Its AI-first approach ensures smart detection of user behavior for access and privileges. It is also mobile-friendly with an intuitive user-interface so users can navigate around the platform without requiring the help of documents and videos to run and setup. The single sign-on feature lets users have a single-click access to all your essential applications. It also has a password manager, multi-factor authentication, and own identity provider. The vast set of security tools of this cloud-based software offers are aimed to solve identity challenges of various institutions
  4. Mailbox Exchange Recovery. This one is a robust system designed to repair corrupt EDB (exchange server database) files. During worst case scenarios, this is essential if your files are corrupted as it recovers emails, tasks, attachments, and contact information, among others. It utilizes two scan methods for its operation – the “Quick Scan” for a faster scan and an “Extensive Scan” for a thorough scan of severely corrupted files. It even repairs damaged EDB files and restores them into reusable PST in your mailbox items. Among its features are Windows data, Mac data, and photo recovery. It also repairs video (in corrupt MOV, MP4, M4V, 3G2, 3GP and F4V video file formats) and JPEG files.
  5. AirWatch. This enterprise mobility management solution is for you if you’re looking for a layered enterprise security. While it’s equipped with various tools for mobility management and mobile productivity, utilizing its robust security features maximizes its value. It has a passwordless authentication that can integrate with your existing IT structure to minimize helpdesk tickets. Instead, it uses advanced authentication methods and device compliance checks. It also integrates SSO and MFA for additional convenience and assurance. Corporate data is protected on the data center with access based on user location, data sensitivity, and authentication strength, among others. Additionally, it identifies jailbroken or rooted devices, detects modifications to device access privileges, and blocks or un-enrolls a device once a mobile threat is detected.
  6. InfiSecure. A bot mitigation platform. It provides real-time protection against automated threats to online businesses. InfiSecure provides bot protection solution for industries such as eCommerce, travel & OTA, listing and classified websites, Real estate portals, online media, auction sites, financial institutions, aggregator websites and more. The bot protection solution also protects website users from account takeover, credential stuffing and other automated threats.

Pricing of IT Security Software

What is the cost of IT security software? To give you an overview of how much you’ll invest in this system, we listed below the pricing plans of some of the leading solutions in the niche.

  1. ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus. Their pricing options start at a Free Edition for up to 50 domain users with no expiry date. For advanced features, users can look at the software’s Standard Edition and Professional Edition which starts at $595 and $995, respectively.
  2. EventLog Analyzer. Using a quote-priced system, they offer a personal enterprise pricing plan to each entity to ensure their specific business needs are met. Contacting the company with your organization’s details is essential to receive your customized quote.
  3. QuickLaunch. It has a pay-as-you-go pricing system where users can choose the products they’ll employ. It’s priced per user for $0.6 for identity provider, $0.6 for a password manager, $0.8 for multi-factor authentication, and $1.2 for single sign-on. Its mobility price is only available on a quote request.
  4. Mailbox Exchange Recovery. The cost of this software ranges from $399 to $999 with technical support, unlimited mailboxes recovery, and license validity. You can choose from 3 pricing tiers to match your needs.
  5. AirWatch. It offers 4 pricing suites that start from $4.33/device/month up to $9.33/device/month according to your needs. More advanced features are available to higher plans such as identity, content, and browsing management and complete enterprise mobility management.

Security dashboard of AirWatch.

Potential Issues

There is no foolproof security software to completely protect you from cyber threats. Identifying potential issues you might encounter beforehand can help you prepare and plan steps to solve them before they happen. Below are some examples to take note of:

  1. Need for more than one software. Depending on your requirements, you may need to install more than one software program to address all your cybersecurity needs. For instance, installing an antivirus software does not prevent you from getting hacked because it is not a firewall. This can be mitigated by identifying your IT infrastructure, organization setup, existing software systems, and potential cyber threats. By understanding your specific business environment, searching for the right and the complete solution can be easier as your choices are narrowed down.
  2. Accessibility poses risks. Accessibility offered by software products poses both a benefit and a risk. When your systems live on a software, anyone can access it with the right login details and information. Hence, security software with role-based access is available to control and limit the access of your employees and contractors. Employing network monitoring and web filtering technology, as well as educating your employees, is essential.

After understanding what is IT security software, we can now take a look at where it’s headed. As the tactics of cybercrime evolve, security vendors must continuously innovate and improve their products. Here are the some of the software’s latest trends:

  1. Application of blockchain principles. To face the increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, an emerging approach such as blockchain principle provides a promising leap forward in strengthening information protection. Using the blockchain technology, data is stored in an open space ledger that’s decentralized in a distributed manner. This increases the difficulty of mass data hacking and tampering since all participants of the blockchain network can immediately see if the ledger is modified in any way.
  2. CARTA approach. The Continuous Risk and Trust Assessment (CARTA) is a new approach for a continuous, regular review of users. Basically, this process uses a real-time assessment of risk and trust in an IT environment. For example, only when a user poses a minimal risk of privilege abuse – as carefully studied – can they be granted with extended access rights. This method aims to administer informed decisions regarding security posture for companies.
  3. Tailor-made security. Security vendors are now engaging a more personalized approach to security by considering each organization’s IT infrastructure, industry, complexity, size and budget in order to address common pain points in a more targeted way. This provides organizations with more effective solutions as the approached are tailored to their requirements.
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