Computer cross talk: Security suites


Whenever the issue of commercial antivirus software comes up, the names Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, Bitdefender and Kaspersky come to mind. But that is not all there is; times have changed and others like Webroot and Comodo have sprung up to prey on the security market.

The myriad number of antivirus solutions on the market makes the art of choosing the right one intimidating. And just how does one measure the potency of security software? You need to have a whole lab of viruses; deliberately infect computers and run the security suites on them.

Unless you are a technology aficionado, you don’t have to; companies like PC Magazine once in awhile does that with no cost to you than just logging to the internet and check. PCMag recently indulged in its old habit and the results are ready for your perusal.


I must admit; I cannot put it any more beautiful way than the way PCMag’s Neil Rubenking did, “you can’t afford to abstain from installing protection.” In the Microsoft Software kingdom, that is no longer some piece of advice but a commandment.

Very few companies these days offer stand alone antivirus utilities; instead they offer a mixture of solutions that are called security suites.

Entry level suites package an antivirus, firewall, antispam, parental control and protection against password fraudsters (phishing).


An advanced security suite parcels all the accolades of an entry security suite, some backup software, a tune-up utility and a password management tool.

Symantec has a standalone antivirus, previously called Norton antivirus but now christened Symantec Norton Security.

An antivirus is the weakest link of any security suite. When evaluating any security bundle, the vibrancy of its antivirus is the first place to start from. If the antivirus in the suite scores poorly, there is no point to negotiate; forget about that suite and look for another somewhere else.

Next on your list of concerns is obviously firewall. This is like the traffic cop that monitors network traffic from the outside world like the internet. Windows has built-in firewall but that utility does not monitor behavior of installed applications that may end up abusing your bandwidth.

In these democratic times we live in, parental control utilities may not be very necessary. Unless your kids are still in the kindergarten or primary school, you do not want to eavesdrop on some adult life.

There is so much to choose from in 2016, my pick is Symantec Norton Security Premium. At $89.95, the suite packages everything. Kaspersky Total Security 2016 is an alternative. It is just as good with a price tag of $89.99. Both packages have backup utilities. Security suites that miss out on this option seem to be promising the moon. No matter how good an antivirus is, the unexpected can happen, so the suite must always remind you to backup!

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