If you searching for the best fit antivirus or the best security solution for your computer or device or for the protection of your business or organization , There are so many ever growing options on the market that you may not know which to choose.
You may know that you need an antivirus, but you do not know how to best go about in selecting one for you or your business/ organization. All security companies market their products as being ‘the best’, having the greatest antivirus or firewall, being complete products and so on . However, whom should you trust ans How should you choose your antivirus Solution?
The Guidelines below will assist in you in making the right choice :
1. Look for a Security Software that offers all in one Protection
While in the past, just having a good anti virus software installed in your Computer was enough, Nowadays good security protection is not just having a only having a stand alone anti virus in place anymore. With the advancement of Technology and the internet It is also about firewall protection, protection against cyber criminals when browsing the internet, protection against ransomware, VPN protection against third-party monitoring and censorship and more.
A good security product must include several security features that protect you against modern cyber threats. A good antivirus is good against traditional types of malware, but it will be of no great use if it does not have features which will protect your PC from being infected by ransomware, which can be even more damaging than a conventional virus. This is the reason that, when you look for your next security solution, you should cross check and verify it offers all-in one protection. This means protection against the following types of threats:
Viruses – programs with malicious intents which are characterized by the fact that they can multiply themselves and thus infect other computers or devices. Viruses are usually tied to an executable file which, when you unknowingly run it, also acts as the trigger for the virus.
Trojans (Horses) – are malicious software that can masquerade as common software and because of that, can trick you into downloading and running them on your computer. When you do that, trojans usually open the gate to other forms of malware on your computer.
Worms – are malicious programs that take advantage of the security holes and vulnerabilities in your operating system or other software (like your web browser for instance) and use them to infect your computer. Unlike regular viruses, worms can multiply and spread by themselves, without you having to run an infected file.
Spyware – software programs that are designed to spy and gather intelligence about you. Spyware tries to hide from you, from the operating system and your security solution and, after it collects information about you, it tries to send it to hacker-controlled servers.
Rootkits – a particular type of malware designed to give hackers remote access and control of a device, without being detected by the victims or the security software installed on the infected devices. When a hacker gains access to a rootkit infected device, he or she can use it to remotely access, copy and execute the files on it, change operating system settings, install additional software (usually other types of malware) and so on. By definition, rootkits are a stealthy kind of malware, so they are somewhat harder to detect and remove from an infected machine.
Ransomware – malicious programs that, once they infect your computer, they take control and encrypt your files, like your pictures, work documents, and videos. Once that happens, ransomware programs try to make you pay considerable amounts of money to their creators, so that you can get your files back.
Adware – software programs that display advertisements on your screen, in your web browsers or other places on your computer. It may not be malware by definition, but adware almost always hurts your computer’s performance and your user experience, and can also help infect your computer with malware.
Network attacks – when hackers try to take control of your devices remotely, they can do that through a “break” approach. That is when you need a firewall to stop network attacks. A good firewall must be able to deflect attacks from the outside but also tell you about suspicious traffic that is initiated from your computer to the outside world.
Web threats – your web browser should be the first in the line of defense against malware. That is why a good security solution has to include a web protection module that can stop you from visiting websites with malicious content. It is better to deal with malware in your browser than to have to do that when it reaches your computer.
2. The Security Product Should be Reliable
One of the most important criteria for choosing the best antivirus solution how reliable it is. A security software with good reliability , will be expected to:
i) Offer good Protection without causing conflicts with other software installed on your computer. I.e, when you install the AV on your computer it should check whether similar security programs are already found on your system and If that is the case, then the security suite should first ask you to remove the conflicting software, before installing itself.
ii) A good security software should have the ability to protect its processes from unwanted termination. This is because Smart Viruses or Malware are designed to exploit the weak spots of an antivirus. if the anti virus is weak then the malware / virus might try to stop the antivirus solution that runs on your system from operating and then take control of the system. A reliable security solution should always protect its processes from such unwanted terminations.
iii) A useful Security solutions should always provide up to date protection. Having an antivirus solution that uses old and outdated malware / virus definitions is is useless. Threats evolve continually and new viruses come out almost every day , they never stop, so anti-viruses must always keep up the pace, therefore a good antivirus product is one that regularly updates itself, in most cases several times a day to ensure that the protection it offers matches all the new threats as well.
ii) A reliable security software should have a feature that Automates security scans. This means that it should offer a means to automate anti-malware / antivirus scans. By that the security suite should let you schedule antivirus scans. It is even better if a security product comes out of the box with regularly scheduled scans already automatically activated without user action. It is even better still if it runs antivirus scans when your computer is idle and is not doing anything anyway, by doing it avoids slowing down your machine during the peak hours when you are using it.
3. Choose a Solution that has Efficient Performance & is Responsive
Most Security products are by nature, programs that require adequate computing resources to do their Job ( ie adequate RAM, Processing Power and Space ) . Security Software tend to use more computing power than your average audio player, for example. However, security software vendors work to minimize their products’ impact on your computer’s performance. If your computer does not have high specifications , the you should take into consideration the performance aspect. Usually, a best fit security product should:
i) Have a small impact on the start up time of your PC. Your Windows should load almost as fast as it did before you installed your anti virus product.
ii) Should not degrade your PC’s Performance . An effective security solution is no good if it slows down or clogs your computer. It should know how to use your available PC’s resources in a way that does not negatively affect your computing experience regarding performance and responsiveness.
iii)A good security solution should be fast in scanning your computer for malware. Good anti viruses tend to be faster than others when it comes to scanning your computer for malware threats.
4. Choose a User Friendly Anti Virus Solution
A good security product must be easy to use both by knowledgeable users as well as casual users with little to no knowledge about security. That means it needs to:
i) Be easy to navigate. It should provide you with an intuitive way of navigating through its various windows, tabs, menus, and settings.
ii) Be easy to use on devices with touchscreens. The era of the plain old monitor is dead. These days, the number of PCs with a touchscreen is increasing at a fast rate. Thus, more and more people use touch to control how the software works. A good security product should have large buttons, tiles, switches of all kinds, check marks and so on. In other words, it must have control elements that are easy to touch with your fingers too, not only with the mouse’s cursor.
iii) Be easy to understand. No matter how easy it is to navigate through a user interface, it is no good if you do not understand what every item and setting means. The configuration options that are offered should be easy to understand by all users.
iv) Provide you with easy to find documentation. Just like any good product, good security products must provide an easy way to access their documentation. If Help documentation is available, but you cannot find it, what is the point?
v) Give you complete control of how it works. Many people look for security products that do not require any particular configuration. However, there are also people who want to set every detail of how a security product works. If that is the case for you, a good security product must provide you with complete control.
If you are a beginner and you do not have technical inclinations, look for an “install & forget” type of security product. If you are more of a professional user, you might want to look for a security product that can be configured in detail, one that offers many advanced settings.
5. Good User Support
Being able to get good and timely support on the product when the need arises is crucial a nothing is perfect. That is why the support options you get are a factor to consider before deciding to buy a security product.
Good IT security companies that create excellent security programs usually tends to offer a wide range of active and useful support options and, if you have problems with their product, you should be able to:
i) Reach out to them by email , in which you describe your issues with their antivirus product
ii) Have a live chat session with one of their support engineers
ii) Call their user support service for Quick / Real time Assistance.
Also you should not have to pay any additional fees to get this support, other from what you already paid when you purchased their product.
6. Consider the usefulness of Bundled Tools
Many all in one security products bundle additional tools besides the core security modules. They may include password wallets, safely encrypted storage space in the cloud, parental control tools and so on. While these additional tools should not hold the first place in your mind when you start looking for your next great security solution, they can be that little push you need to make the right choice between two similar security products. For instance, if you are a traveler and you usually take your Windows computer or device with you, you should get a security product that includes a VPN service plan, or subscribe to a VPN service separately. It is the only way in which you can be safe when you connect to untrustworthy public wireless networks like those found in airports, coffee shops, conference centers and so on.
If you are a parent, and you have to choose between two similar security suites in all other aspects, but only one of them offers a parental control module, you should probably choose the one with the parental controls.
When choosing to buy a security product, you should check whether the additional tools it bundles are:
i) Useful and should not only be clones of tools that are already found in Windows.
ii) Do not harm your security or your privacy. Some vendors choose to bundle additional tools that are not helpful in increasing your security or privacy. On the contrary, they are harming it. If a security solution includes shady toolbars, web browsers, browser add-ons or any other tools that lower your security or privacy, you should stay away from that product.
iii) Do not involve additional costs. If you need to pay more money in addition to what you already paid for the security suite, they are not worth it.
7. Cross Check the Reputation of the Security Software
It is a safe bet to go with the tried and tested , Buying and using a security product from a company with a good reputation is usually a safer bet than going for a choice of a security product from an unknown company. Well established security companies offer solutions that tend to remain good as the time passes on. On the other hand the there are are some malware programs that disguise themselves as ‘security solutions’. So if you take the risk and chose to use an unknown antivirus, for instance, you might end up installing a virus on your computer, which is what you wanted to protect yourself from in the first place.
8. Chose a Cost Effective Security Solution
The cost effective aspect is among the most important selection criteria in getting the right anti virus solution for you. Most people tend to choose less expensive products, and while this is a right general approach, it is not always the best. In the case of security products, that means that you should look for the lowest priced product that fits your needs and offers the protection you need. But that doe not mean that product should be the least expensive on the market, imagine how much it might cost you if you buy a bargain security product that cannot protect your files from ransomware and having up to pay more should you end up being a victim of ransomware.
The factors outlined above are the most important when it comes to choosing the best antivirus/security software solution for you or your business or your organization. You will find out that some security software solutions are better than others regarding anti-malware protection; some are more user friendly, while some offer much more advanced setting options, and so on.
Each security product has its own positives and misgivings , so we can not name one as the best fir for everyone. A security product can be the right one for you as a beginner but at the same not be the right one for an advanced technical user.