Response to Comment on Previous Post

Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Comment:

What would you guys recommend? I am looking for an Antivirus/Internet Security that backups up my important documents online because I live in an area where power blackouts occur all the time I also need something that protects my identity because I do a great deal of online banking. I only know of one product that does that and thats Nortons if there is something else does let me know because when it comes to online security I don’t want anything but the best not saying Nortons is the best out there but I would not trust anything they give away for free online.

My response…

Per your question, Norton 360 does what you require but to address your concerns:

Power Outages: A good uninterruptible power supply would address the power outages. Assuming you are using a desktop computer this is essential but still recommended even if you are using a laptop.

Free Antivirus Software: There are several “free” antivirus software that work well and give basic protection. They offer many of the features Norton does if you buy the commercial (full) version. The problem with defining the “best” is that the product offerings from some vendors are so diverse it is hard to compare apples to apples. In addition, with product renewal cycles and threats constantly changing one cannot easily define what best is.

This chart gives one a good idea of the comparitive value of some of the more popular antivirus software.

For me the primary consideration is utility: Does it do its job well and with minimal use of resources? Norton does not do its job without using a fair amount of computer resources and if you add the continued problem of it not uninstalling cleanly and without impinging on client computer use and up time it is a very poor solution. Frankly, NAV makes me money. Over and over again.

You do bring up a valid concern. There ARE free “antivirus” software that is simply malware. Good malware as in it is wonderfully malicious and most users do not have the time to adequately research if it is malware or not.

But remember, a good vendor like Avast, AVG and others represent their free products as legitimate solutions and in my experience they do a fine job.

Remote Backup:  With a vendor like Symantec I would be relatively confident that their solution would be reliable but what if that system is hacked? And 2 GB of space is hardly handy.

Some issues of online backups…

What if the user has slow internet service? What if the backups exceed their monthly data feed allotment? I would recommend online backups only for specific cases and am more apt to recommend an external hard drive or memory drive as a solution.

Protecing Your Identity Online: Well, some of that is up to the user and how they use their computers. Some sites for advice for this are:

Coping with Identity Theft: Reducing the Risk of Fraud

Watch Your Identity: Tips for Reducing the Risk of Identity Theft

Online-transaction Security Tools

From the CNET review Norton 360 does not offer one of the requirements you outlined. This hi-lights a problem with software. A catch-all catch-can solution is a master of none of the specific security solutions in many cases. In many cases the sites we use for online transactions need to have those security tools and protocols invoked on our behalf.

Norton does offer one such solution. This review gives us an idea of its utility.

Which begs the question:  What is the cost of all this protection?

Time: Time to research, buy, install, configure it and support it.

Money:  Not only the cost of the software but also to acquire it (buy travelling for example) and the possible need to upgrade your computer to run this and all the other software you already have installed.

Resources: In computer processing power and memory. All this is part of a best practices approach but if you have a Celeron I computer running 256 MB of RAM you will need to buy a new computer to have all this running properly.

Which brings the point I make to all my clients:  Buy the most powerful and completely configured computer you can afford at time of purchase so that as you software applications needs grow over time you will be less likely to be impacted by under-buying.


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