Best Internet Security Suites 2011 Buyers Guide

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Ease of Use and Install

This section is lightly weighted at 7 points out of 64; it includes the following items:

1.     The install process: download size, amount of time, amount of user interaction (3 points)?

2.     How effective is the interface (4 points)?

Solution

Install Process

Interface

TOTAL

McAfee Total Protection 2010

1

3

4

Webroot Security Complete 2011

2

3

5

BitDefender Total Security 2011

2

4

6

Panda Global Protection 2011

1

3

4

ESET Smart Security 4

3

4

7

Trend Micro Maximum Security 2011

2

3

5

Norton 360

2

4

6

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

2

4

6

CA Internet Security 2011

1

3

4

PC Tools Internet Security 2011

2

3

5

What I looked for in the install process was a download file size less than 100MB; a straightforward, error-free install process; and a reasonable amount of install time (up to 10 minutes). The only suite to receive full credit in the Install Process category was ESET. Norton was the easiest but was over 100MB to download. The only other suite besides ESET under 100MB was Panda; unfortunately it lost points because its installer forgot to disable Windows’ Firewall, causing a conflict with its own later on.

Every program did well in the Interface category. BitDefender is best overall; it has multiple customized interfaces for different users (basic, intermediate, advanced). ESET, Norton, and Kaspersky were other stand-outs.

Parental Controls

This section is weighted heavily at 13 points. I like to see parental controls included in full security suites because their target audience is often families. The points received depend on the thoroughness of the parental controls; a score of zero indicates that parental controls were not included.

Solution

Thoroughness

McAfee Total Protection 2010

11

Webroot Security Complete 2011

0

BitDefender Total Security 2011

13

Panda Global Protection 2011

8

ESET Smart Security 4

0

Trend Micro Maximum Security 2011

11

Norton 360

13

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

12

CA Internet Security 2011

12

PC Tools Internet Security 2011

0

The highest-ranked suites, Norton and BitDefender, both offer remote administration of parental controls over the Internet, allowing parents to check up on their children anywhere they have Internet access. Norton’s implementation is actually more advanced than BitDefender’s, but not to where I would award extra points. Kaspersky, CA, BitDefender, and McAfee also have a solid set of parental controls, though do not offer remote administration. Panda includes parental controls but loses points because they are quite basic. Webroot, ESET, and PC Tools all get zero points for their non-inclusion of parental controls, which will adversely affect their ratings in this guide.

Anti-Spam Filter

Many of us use dedicated email clients to handle our email. I used Mozilla’s popular free Thunderbird client for all testing. This lightweight category is worth 4 points; a score of one indicates anti-spam is included but does not support Thunderbird.

Solution

Anti-Spam

McAfee Total Protection 2010

1

Webroot Security Complete 2011

1

BitDefender Total Security 2011

4

Panda Global Protection 2011

1

ESET Smart Security 4

4

Trend Micro Maximum Security 2011

1

Norton 360

1

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

2

CA Internet Security 2011

1

PC Tools Internet Security 2011

4

BitDefender, ESET, Kaspersky, and PC Tools all supported Thunderbird; Kaspersky received only half credit, however, because the anti-spam filter simply did not work. Anti-spam was included with all the other suites though only supported Microsoft clients (Outlook/Outlook Express/Live Mail).



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