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Choosing the Right Antivirus Protection for Your Devices
All computer users these days know that there are threats that put their computers at risk. While these risks may seem hard to pinpoint precisely, users know they exist in some form and that they need protection. While some users (particularly those who use Macs) would like to believe that their devices are immune to external threats, the truth is that any device is vulnerable, and everyone needs the most advanced protection they can afford.
However, this fact raises new difficulties. Which antivirus to choose? With so many available, it is hard to sort through the options to find the one that is right for each user. This is further complicated by the fact that modern antivirus software options do more than just guard against the viruses roving the internet. They protect against spam, phishing, malware, and much more.
So, which antivirus protection should you choose? Are the free options good enough? Does higher cost necessarily mean better protection? What kinds of security are most important?
To answer all those questions and more, read more below.
What Kinds of Antivirus Software Is Available?
Antivirus protection can generally be broken up into two basic categories: free options and pay options. Beyond that, choices can be broken down into antivirus suites (which include multiple tools in one package) and individually targeted programs.
There are numerous free options for users looking either for simple protection or larger and more complex antivirus suites. However, there are obvious shortcomings to all of these programs. As might be expected, free options are all limited. As might be expected, they are free because they are not as thorough as the pay versions. Some free options are free merely to draw users in, so they can purchase better and more comprehensive protection after paying. Others only provide partial protection against serious threats.
With online threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, most would argue these free options are not adequate to offer enough protection. This is true whether looking at antivirus suites or individual tools. While some tools, such as file shredders, might be useful in a limited sense in the free versions, they usually also have limited capabilities. Besides, the pay versions usually include all these tools.
So, if free options aren’t capable of providing real protection, what options are out there for users, and how much will they cost? When it comes to protecting all your documents and sensitive data, you want to make sure you go with a brand that has a history of providing great protection. By far, the brands that stand above all others are:
- Norton (and the wider family of Symantec products)
- Trend Micro
- ESET NOD3
- AVG Online
All of these companies have proven over the years that they have the capabilities to stay ahead of the latest threats before they emerge. These products aren’t just proven to be effective, they are also kept at supremely affordable prices, usually between $15 and $50, depending on the number of devices you want to protect and the length of the license.
How to Choose the Right Antivirus Protection
To begin with, while many antivirus companies offer individual features for free or for sale, it is best to go with an antivirus suite, since they are more affordable and more comprehensive. Antivirus suites will include antivirus and anti-malware tools, as well as tools like file shredders (to completely remove files from a device after deletion), as well as anti-phishing and spam filters.
Once the choice is made to purchase an antivirus suite, though, the obvious question arises: which one to choose? Use the tips below to narrow down your choices:
Consider How Many Devices You Need to Protect
Begin by deciding if you want to cover a single device or multiple devices. Many antivirus options can provide coverage for multiple devices at a discount, allowing families (or small businesses) to get coverage all at once.
Consider Your Subscription Options
Antivirus software usually comes with a one-year subscription. However, some will also offer extended subscription options. If you would prefer to extend your coverage, you’ll get another discount.
Consider Your Computer Brand and Capabilities
You should choose an antivirus that works with your type of device, but different operating systems also have more or less of a threat risk. Apple devices have historically had a lower risk level than PCs (although that by no means Apple devices are completely safe). That means those who use PCs need the highest level of protection possible. Mac users should also get advanced protection, but it’s a slightly lower priority. So, choose the type of strength of your antivirus along this divide.
A final consideration about your computer is whether it can meet the system requirements of an antivirus. Computers with little memory (less than 4 GB) may slow down under the burden of the antivirus. Older devices might also struggle. So, either update your computer or choose a lighter-weight antivirus to accommodate these needs.
Consider Your Computing Needs and Surfing Habits
When choosing an antivirus, remember to consider what you use your computer for. Basic email and word processing mean you won’t need quite as robust protection. However, if you use your device for downloading, engaging in lots of different types of media, and opening many different kinds of files you got from the internet, you want as much protection as possible.
Which Antivirus Brand Is Right for You?
As you might expect, like most types of programs and products, antivirus developers have different focuses and specializations. Some, like ESET NOD32 and Kaspersky, are more focused on being proactive in their protection (making sure the virus or malware never even reaches your device). These programs also include the ability to scan social media to avoid unexpected malware, hackers, and data theft. Norton (and other Symantec programs) focus more on maintaining a powerful firewall that blocks the ability of these malicious elements to get to your device.
The options available have quality advantages. Choosing the right version depends on your particular device specifications, device needs, and the specialization of each antivirus. If you’re still not sure which antivirus protection is right for you, we have antivirus experts available to discuss the different options with you. They can be reached at every hour of the day right on this site.