What Is Security Software?

Security software is designed to protect and secure servers, laptops, mobile devices, and networks from unauthorized access, intrusions, viruses, and other threats. Security software can help defend data, users, systems, and companies from a wide range of risks. 

Why is security software important?

Security software can improve both business and information security. Operating without security software--or using outdated solutions--leaves organizations and users exposed to a wide range of threats, including malicious hackers, spyware, viruses, and malware

The growing sophistication and diversity of cyber threats--and the expanding number of endpoints that need protecting due to an increase in mobility, remote work, and the Internet of Things--require many businesses to employ ever more advanced security software solutions.

What is a security platform?

Businesses today use as many as 50 different types of security software solutions from various vendors. A security platform can help manage these myriad security software products and functions more efficiently and cost-effectively by consolidating them.

A security platform can unify multiple security products and automate repetitive tasks and workflows across endpoints, networks, the cloud, and applications. It can also increase visibility into threats and make intelligence sharing easier so security teams can work faster and more collaboratively and deliver better outcomes. 

How security software and security appliances differ

Organizations can use both security appliances and security software and applications to protect their network environment.

Security appliances

A security appliance is a device or server that can block unwanted traffic from entering the network. Types of security appliances include:

  • Intrusion detection devices, which can alert security teams to threats that have entered the network.
  • Email security appliances, which can block and detect email-borne threats like malware and spam.
  • Unified threat management (UTM) appliances, which can handle multiple functions, including antivirus, intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering, and more. With UTM appliances, organizations can combine several security capabilities from one vendor and manage them through a single console.

Security software

Security software and applications, such as advanced malware protection software or email security applications, can be installed on devices and nodes across the network. In addition to protecting networks, security software and applications can help organizations secure servers, laptops, and mobile devices from unauthorized access and other threats.

Commonly used security software programs

Organizations deploy different types of security software to monitor different situations. Here are some examples of leading security software applications.

Advanced malware protection software

Traditional software programs that scan for, detect, and remove software viruses and malicious software like worms and Trojans have become ineffective. Advanced malware protection software has become the new standard.

Advanced malware protection is a security solution that addresses the full lifecycle of the advanced malware problem. It prevents breaches and gives the visibility, context, and control needed to rapidly detect, contain, and remediate threats if they evade frontline defenses.

Application security software

Modern businesses rely heavily on a wide range of applications for communication, collaboration, data analytics, and more. They need to monitor which applications are running in their environment, what those applications are doing, and--most importantly--who is accessing them.

Many firms rely on multi-factor authentication (MFA) software to help secure their applications. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the most widely used forms of MFA. The 2FA process requires a user to provide a username and password, and then enter a code generated by the 2FA application or respond to a notification on a device such as smartphone.

With a strong 2FA solution, businesses can verify the identity of a user before granting access to corporate information and resources, and even enable secure access to all applications so users have a seamless and consistent login experience to all the applications they are authorized to access.  

Firewall software

Firewall software can prevent unauthorized access to or from private networks. Firewalls can also be hardware, and firewall software and hardware are often used together. 

Endpoint security software

This type of software helps to protect the data and workflows related to the various devices--such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets--that connect to a corporate network. 

Web security software

Web security software can monitor inbound and outbound web traffic to help reduce the risk of sensitive data theft or leakage. It can also provide protection from zero-day threats (threats that leverages unknown vulnerabilities).

Network security software

Network security software helps businesses detect and stop unauthorized network access due to phishing, spyware, and more. It can also help to protect data in transit and at rest. Network security solutions include:

  • Identity and access management (IAM). IT administrators use IAM solutions to manage users' digital identities and related access privileges securely and effectively. They can set up and modify user roles, track and report on user activity, and more to protect data security and privacy.
  • Next-generation IPS (NGIPS). NGIPS threat appliances provide network visibility, security intelligence, automation, and advanced threat protection. They can inspect the network perimeter, and they can track the progression of suspect files and malware across the network to prevent the spread of outbreaks and reinfection.
  • Security information and event management (SIEM). Many organizations use SIEM products for real-time reporting and long-term analysis of security events. These products include physical and virtual appliances and server software. They make the task of collecting, correlating, and action on threat information easier for security teams.
  • Network security analytics. Advanced network security analytics solutions offer organizations comprehensive threat visibility into the extended network. They can simplify network segmentation by using behavioral modeling, machine learning, and global threat intelligence.
  • Learn more about network security

Email security software

Email gateways are the top vector for a security breach. Phishing, ransomware, business email compromise, and other inbound threats are just some examples of threats that email security software can help detect and deflect. Email security applications can also control outbound messages to help prevent the loss of sensitive data.

Internet of Things (IoT) security software

As the IoT expands, organizations need security software to help them understand what is touching their network, handle more complex access management tasks, secure endpoint access, and much more.

More about endpoint analytics