Internet security suites fill the gap between entry-level antivirus software and premium internet security suites. The best internet security suites accurately identify and remove all threats to your computer – including viruses, rootkits, Trojan horses and other malware. They also often come with extra features such as firewalls and parental controls. To understand the differences among antivirus software, internet security suites and premium internet security, consider three versions of our top security software: Bitdefender Internet Security.
Bitdefender Internet Security contains everything included in Bitdefender Antivirus Plus: antimalware, vulnerability scanner, PC tune-up utility, safe online shopping and banking, secure browsing and privacy protection. The difference is that Bitdefender Internet Security contains three additional features: a proprietary two-way firewall that is an alternative to the Windows firewall, parental controls and antispam that uses cloud technologies to protect you from fast-breaking attacks that Bitdefender Labs becomes aware of and blocks before you can be spammed. Just as Bitdefender Internet Security has three features additional to Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, it lacks three features contained in Bitdefender’s premium internet security, Total Security: secure online storage, device anti-theft and file encryption.
With internet security vs antivirus clarifications established, now onto what we look for as we prepare internet security software reviews and determine an internet security ranking for each product. If the online security interests you, feel free to read further articles about internet security suites. We've written many articles to help you find the best internet security software for your computer.
Our approach to identifying the best internet security suites is to consider three factors, the most important of which is performance. If the product fails to block malware, slows your system and confuses friendly files with foes, its feature list is of no matter. Therefore we consider features as secondary in important to performance, but we do consider them. The third thing to note before buying is the type of help and support that the software publisher extends to its customers. Let’s elaborate on these three evaluation criteria.
A few times per year, the independent software lab AV Test publishes results of internet security software testing that it performs on two dozen or so products. The testing runs continuously for two months and exposes the products to brand new as well as widespread and prevalent malware in order to measure protection rates. Another aspect of the tests records the effect of the security products on the speed of the host computer. The third portion of the testing observes how accurately each product discerns among files that constitute threats and files that are benign. How well each product performs is the most important consideration in our ranking order of internet security reviews.
In a product category where every player provides antimalware, antiphishing, email protection, safe browsing and antispam and antispyware, we consider the additional features and must necessarily reward the products with the most features. More features translates into products that are useful to greater numbers of our site visitors. However, just because a product has more features, that doesn’t mean it is better for you. If you are happy with the Windows firewall, for example, what does it matter if a product includes a proprietary firewall? In a similar vein, if you do not have children, do you care whether the product includes parental controls? A product might include a password manager. However, you might already have a password management utility that you prefer. Some products include online backup. You might not need such a thing because you have other methods of backing up data.
Some features in internet security suites are beneficial to every user. For example, some products automatically download critical operating system patches, which is one of the most basic methods of maintaining computer security. Furthermore, some products include a file shredder, a utility that permanently deletes erased files so well that nobody would be able to read the file even if they used forensic file recovery utilities.
Help & Support
Although internet security suites are fiercely competitive in terms of performance and features, when it comes to help and support the competition slackens. Help and support ranges from email only during restricted hours to 24/7 access via online chat and telephone. What a dramatic difference between the two extremes.
An internet security suite might be just right for you because it will have a few more features than its entry-level antivirus software sibling, and those few extra features might go a long way toward conveniently enhancing your security. Focus on performance, however, before you consider feature lists. And if you ignore help and support details, you might just regret it when your system succumbs to a malware infection on a Friday night and you can’t reach the software publisher until Monday morning.