Hopefully your computer is protected!

Worms! Viruses! Trojans! Malware! Rootkits! Spyware! Spam!

I don’t know anyone that wants to hear these words but I do know many who ask me how to best protect against them. Its not an easy question as Security software changes steadily due to competition as well as the type of threats themselves.

First, let me provide you two great sources who actually attempt to review these products for you. PCWorld and PC Magazine. Reputable resouces that are way above those many links returned by a Google search.

To assist your selection you need to first decide which security components fit your needs. Here’s a quick overview.

  • Antivirus: Detects and attempts to removed viruses, trojans, spyware, and rootkits. Detection usually includes items found already on your computer; detection when visiting websites containing harmful code; detection of infections from email attachements.
  • AntiSpam: Attempts to classify and deal with unwanted emails
  • Parental Controls: Limits a users access to certain content or websites; limits a users transfer speed; and potentially limits a users access based on time.
  • Firewall: software that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting authorized communications in and out of your computer or network.

Many Security Suites include Antivirus, AntiSpam and Firewall protection which may seem “just what the doctor ordered” but remember, the more the protection then the more the performance hit on your computer. If you unfortunatly have an older computer, possibly just Antivirus protection should be installed / activated in order to preserve precious cpu cycles. So some of the more popular “suites” might not be the right decision for you.

So lets get to the point that I know you’re asking – “Which vendor’s product should I buy?”.

If you read the reviews, the only thing that they tend to agree on is that Symantec is the #1 vendor for security products (Norton is merely another Symantec brand for those of you who don’t know). And through my experience I would have to agree that the features, whether it be for businesses or personal, have always been more than expected and virus detection / removal is apparently the best.

That being said, I have had much experience with Symantec products and with breadth of features comes complications. Sometimes updates are not applied properly and cause havoc to a workstation thereby requiring a technician to reinstall. But more important, these features just slow down the workstations. Unless you are lucky enough to have a workstation less than 2 years old, I would never recommend Symantec antivirus products.

I really haven’t done a comparison of products but have used a few and have read about many so I present below a shortlist of vendors who you should consider in your next Security product purchase.

Kaspersky – good solid product that I’ve never had a problem with (although when it finds a virus it lets out an evil squeel that will certainly make you jump first time)

AVG – A product I am using more and more of these days especially for those looking for a level of protection thats FREE.

Avast – Another product that made its mark offering a FREE product and has grown into a well respected product.

ESet – This product I recommend to those with older workstations still in active use. It provides great protection but with a little performance hit.

Panda Security – Haven’t used it personally but I see it appearing high on reviews lately so its likely worth looking into.

There are likely 20 other vendors that I could easily mention here but as I’ve pointed out, I have never actually done a complete review of them all and rely on others for such a comparison. I’ve used enough though and have learned which seem to work with the fewest complications. I hope this experience somehow assists you in your decison of how to best protect your computer services.