Anti-Virus: Are We Protected or Not?
“What is this?” I asked with exasperation. I held up the Kaspersky Internet Security box that just arrived by courier. Geoff looked up from his computer screen and then gleefully rubbed his hands together. “Finally! I’ve been waiting for that.” He grabbed it out of my hands and started heading towards his computer. “Wait a minute,” I said, “Why are we switching security software? I don’t think we should continue selling Panda if we’re not using it ourselves.” Geoff could see that I was beginning to dig my heels in so back he came. He started explaining what he was doing by quickly reviewing anti-virus basics. He reminded me that anti-virus software contain lists of code that match known viruses; it checks all code coming into my computer and if it identifies a virus, it deletes it. “That’s where anti-virus brands differ,” he said. It turns out that each manufacturer updates its software at different times. Some are date driven, some are in real time and some just don’t seem to keep up. “Norton is a good example of a popular program that just doesn’t provide sufficient protection. We see more infected systems with up to date Norton installed than any other program. In my opinion, Norton’s popularity has more to do with its marketing campaign than its performance,” Geoff said. Then I asked about price, thinking that maybe this is one of those products where you get what you pay for. “Not necessarily,” Geoff said, “AVG Free is a good product for home users who aren’t into downloading music or playing online poker .” (http://free.avg.com) I was still a little puzzled. I wanted to know why we were trying yet another anti-virus software. Geoff told me that there is more to anti-virus than just virus protection. He went on to say that we used and recommended Trend Micro Internet Security for over four years. It did an excellent job of protecting our systems with real-time updates and it rarely caused software conflicts with other programs within the computers. Then the programmers changed the software in January 2008. It suddenly started causing software conflicts and was so full of ‘extra features’ that it was resource hungry; slowing computers down and causing user frustration. They also went to the auto-renew feature where they automatically charged my credit card as my software expired. “That’s when we switched to Panda,” said Geoff. Panda is a great single user system security software package that causes minimal conflicts and requires a more reasonable amount of space and power to operate. The major drawback to Panda is that, unlike Trend Micro, it only comes in single user disks instead of the three user format we were used to. “Multi-system households appreciate the cost savings of buying one disk with three keys, keeping everyone’s anti-virus on the same renewal schedule, making it easy to manage.” Geoff said. Which brings us to Kaspersky. Geoff had been doing a considerable amount of research on Kaspersky Internet Security and liked what he had found on the message boards. “Now it’s time to test it on our equipment before we consider recommending it to our clients,” Geoff said. I was a little less concerned now that I knew what he was up to but I wanted to be sure I understood this process completely. When it comes to Security Software, we look for a package that protects against a multitude of malware in real-time; one that isn’t too power hungry and is proven to ‘work and play well with others’ minimizing any software conflicts. We also want to supply a single use disk to people who have one computer as the most economical way to provide protection or offer a three key disk to multi-computer households, giving them the best value as well. “That’s why we’re going to stock both Panda and Kaspersky,” he said. When I asked if there was anything else I needed I know, he mentioned that it was important to install only one anti-virus software package as installing a second one on the same system could cause serious conflicts between the two packages leaving the system unprotected or unstable. It’s also important to make sure the security software up to date and set to scan in real-time, regardless of the package you prefer and lastly, don’t get too attached to any one brand name as the software is continuously being updated and changed to meet the demands of the internet. Bottom line: Not all security software is created equal and software preference can be as personal as your computer, so if our favourites aren’t your favourites we recommend you stick with whatever works best for you.