Antivirus programs are essential for any electronic device whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop to safeguard from malware such as viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, Trojans and worms. There are plenty of antivirus products available in the market with each having their own unique features, pros and cons. You should compare various factors including performance, reliability, periodic updates with latest signatures, technical support etc., before you decide to purchase any antivirus product. Each product will claim to be the best and will advertise their special features to allure you, but you should check for certifications done by independent testing labs and the ratings given by them before making your decision.
1. All-Inclusive Protection from Cyber-threats
One of the first things to consider while choosing an Antivirus product is to consider the performance of the product and how quickly it can detect any threat. A good antivirus product will not only protect you from viruses but also other kinds of malware such as Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, ransomware and rootkits. Some traditional antivirus programs do not offer protection from modern security threats like rootkits and ransomware. Hence you should choose the product carefully after reading the features offered and user reviews. Antivirus programs should also offer email protection and filter spam and phishing emails in your Inbox. A good antivirus program will also act as a firewall and protect your devices from any denial of service attacks by filtering any suspicious traffic. It should offering protection from Web threats by blocking malicious URLs.
2. Usability, Low Overhead and Easier Administration
Another important factor you should consider while purchasing an antivirus is the system requirements of the software. You should not go for a product which consumes too much memory and CPU and can slow down your device. You should test the application on several workstations before you decide on the purchase. Some cheap antivirus products available in the market hog your CPU and consume too much memory which will impact your productivity. You should also choose a product which offers centralized administration and management of your workstations. It can be an overhead if you need to install it on each Laptop or workstation individually as it will take too much effort and time. Some advanced products come with remote management and administration facilities which are a suitable choice for larger businesses with too many workstations.
Usability is a crucial factor for any software product and you should review the various features and reporting tools available with the antivirus product before purchasing it. It should be user-friendly with an intuitive interface and offer detailed reports on all the periodic scans, infections and mitigations done. By looking at the Bitdefender versus Norton comparative, you can see that Bitdefender is more user-friendly, with easier management and reporting tools. Norton, on the other hand, is very complex to manage, CPU-intensive and brings down the performance of your system.
3. Compatibility with Multiple Platforms and Operating Systems
Another important factor to compare while choosing your antivirus product is to check the cross-platform compatibility of the software. Some products are only available for Windows platforms and cannot be installed on a MacBook or Android device. You should choose a product which offers support on multiple platforms like desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones etc. Also, you should check if its compatible with different operating systems like Linux, Windows operating system, Mac OS, Android, iOS etc. If you have multiple devices in your home with different operating systems, you should choose a reliable product which offers different versions compatible with each device.
4. Awards and Certifications
You should check for the various awards and certifications done by Independent testing labs before you decide the Antivirus software. Certifications and recognition by various independent organizations like ICSA Labs, AV Test, National Associate of Specialist Computer Retailers, Virus Bulletin, AV-Comparatives, West Coast Labs etc., can help you decide the right product. For example, Bitdefender Antivirus software was awarded the Product of the Year 2018 by AV-Comparatives, which is an independent test lab based out of Austria. It was also recognized as a highly-secure product by another independent lab named AV Test. You should look for such certifications and awards from reputed testing labs which will ensure you are buying a trustworthy product.
5. Technical Support and Periodic Updates
Another important factor to compare before purchasing any antivirus product is the technical support provided by them. Any software will have issues and you may encounter strange failures which require immediate technical assistance. You should choose a product that offers 24/7 technical through phone, email and chat. You should check out the manufacturer’s website if they have any toll-free support number and live chat support. You should also check if the antivirus product offers period updates with the latest virus signatures to ensure up-to-date protection.
Apart from above-mentioned criteria, the other factors to be compared are simpler licensing terms, overall cost involved and the performance impact of the system.