In this fast-paced world, many people find themselves too busy for menial tasks, and often completely skip chores which were once considered essential. An example of this would be scanning their computer for viruses; case studies have shown that many computer users, even those who work within IT and have an in-depth knowledge of computer systems, go for months at a time without running a virus scan on their computer. These studies revealed that some competent computer users had actually never run a virus scanner on their computer, despite owning it for several years.
In most cases, people assume that because their computer is running without any major issues that they are safe from viruses. Similarly, many people assume that installing an anti-virus program will keep them safe for years to come, never thinking to update the software database, or upgrade to a later version.
This oversight can be crucial when a virus finally rears its ugly head; people generally rely on computers so much these days that any data loss caused by a virus could lead to a number of issues. Unless the user has backed up their data, documents such as resumes, budgeting spreadsheets and important letters could be lost, while any passwords saved into the browser would also be at risk. Most of this data can be replaced, however not without significant inconvenience; the user can write new copies of any documents, while passwords can be reset – assuming that the same email address is still being used.
Even businesses, where data loss can be crucial to accounting as well as service delivery, often ignore the possibility of viruses. The risk to a business is far greater than an individual, as any computer or network downtime can have a detrimental effect on productivity, and ultimately turnover.
Updating anti-virus Software and scanning regularly needn’t be a chore; these processes can be run in the background while working, and most anti-virus programs have the option to change whether it is a quick, resource-intensive scan, or a slower scan, which leaves resources free so that users can continue to work while the Software performs the scan.
While scanning for viruses may not seem like an important task, there are so many potential issues which can arise from a virus infecting a computer system that it is good practice to scan regularly. Just remember how much you would have to lose if a virus were to take over your system and you incurred loss of data!