Using antivirus software is no longer a question. The modern digital world is full of different types of threats and having strong protection on every single device is a must. Even the lucky owners of Macs and iOS devices cannot be as relaxed as they used to be just several years ago. Cybercriminals are continually working on new ways to get access to every machine.
But what is the best antivirus software to get? Can it be free or should you pay for it? Which features should reliable antivirus have? Does it guarantee a 100% protection?
The answers to these questions are not simple for many reasons. But there are basic things which you should pay attention to when opting for an antivirus product. This article is about them.
Key Antivirus Features To Consider
There are many antivirus products on the market. However, not all of them provide reliable and straightforward solutions for users. Below is the list of criteria you should consider when choosing antivirus to protect your devices.
- Threats antivirus can protect you against. Those days when you only needed a product capable of protecting your computer against viruses are gone. Nowadays, the number of online threats and their variety is far more diverse. And a good antivirus should have several security levels to become your shield against all of the threats.
So, when choosing a security product make sure it can detect all types of malware and stand against hackers, snoopers, and so on. Besides, the software should be able to protect every single channel or entry point to your machine – your email, the Internet, routers, and more.
- System load. Similar to any other computer program, security software needs resources to perform its job. And apparently, it requires more computing power than your Office programs.
But it does not mean that you need to put aside everything you’ve been working on when your antivirus starts scanning the system, for example. The best antivirus software is designed to be unnoticed when working. Also, when you install antivirus, your OS should start and perform as fast as it always did.
- Extra features. Antivirus should protect our devices from viruses and malware, but it should also have other features.
When heading for the best antivirus, you should look for such things as parental controls (filters to block certain websites, social media monitoring, time supervision, and other); firewall which blocks malware and prevents stealing your private data; cloud backup to store your files; a VPN to hide from snoopers; and more.
- The number of devices covered and OS compatibility. The best antivirus providers offer solutions for multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, mobile phones, and tablets. So, when looking for an antivirus, check whether you can use one license for every machine of yours. This might also save you some cash. Note that your antivirus product should not conflict with your other software. Otherwise, it might not work correctly and leave you vulnerable. A good security suite would first offer to remove the conflicting software before the installation process.
- Ease of use. Despite the importance of using antivirus software, you don’t want to spend hours figuring out how it works. The best products are always simple and don’t require users to make difficult choices.
So, when choosing an antivirus product, make sure it is easy to navigate through different settings and menus. Also, you should use it comfortably on any device – be it a regular computer or a portable thing. Moreover, you want an antivirus which offers simple access to its documentation, for example, the Help section.
A Few More Tips
By now you should have the basic idea of how the best antivirus product should look like. And if you find the one which fits all the criteria above, you will be more than happy. But there are a few more things to know before you start using antivirus software.
Don’t agree to use the software which arrives with your PC. Majority of new Windows PCs offer free trials of certain antivirus products. Once the trial period is over, you will be encouraged to upgrade to a paid version. Don’t rash in and investigate the market instead. Most likely, you will find a better offer at a lower price.
Avoid paying for things you don’t need. Companies which produce antivirus software offer different packages to their users. Each package includes different extras, and that is why the prices vary. However, you might not need any of those features. So, if your only goal is to get decent malware protection, go for cheaper plans since they cope with malware well.
Test the product first. The vast majority of antivirus companies offer to try their products for free. It is the best way to see whether the solution is good enough for you. Also, many Android antivirus apps allow using their basic tools for free and encourage purchasing extra features only.
It is not a big deal if the firewall is missing. Not so long ago Windows started to use the built-in firewall which is truly good. No wonder that many antivirus companies do not include firewalls in their products anymore.
Know the difference between anti-malware software and antivirus software. Many products are designed to remove malware from infected computers. And this is their only job – they cannot stop malware right in the doorway to your system. And that is why you need reliable antivirus software able to detect a threat when it only tries to get in.
Do Mac and iOS Users Need Antivirus?
Many Mac OS fans know that their devices are less vulnerable to attacks. It appears to be true because the number of Mac users is much smaller than those who prefer Windows. Therefore, cybercriminals are less interested in Macs.
Users of iOS devices also enjoy protection from Apple. The system is designed in a way that makes any intrusion hardly possible.
But that does not mean that Mac and iOS devices are entirely secure. Cybercriminals keep on digging for vulnerabilities in different systems. For instance, there were several cases when Macs were hit by malware – remember the MacDownloader spyware which tried to steal users’ data?
Also, no one can guarantee that an iPhone owner won’t visit a malicious website without even knowing that. And if you do, don’t get surprised to get annoying adds later.
Robust antivirus software can give an extra layer of security to iOS and Mac devices. Why take chances and risk your safety?
What About Free Solutions?
Many antivirus providers offer free and paid products. All of them give strong protection against the majority of known online threats. So, why should you spend money on the paid products if the free ones are also good?
The main difference between free and premium products lays in the features they offer. While the basic level of protection is quite the same, paid software has more tools to protect your device against the most sophisticated types of malware. Some of the features may be critical for you. For example, parental control or firewall – these two are usually a privilege of paid users.
But if you don’t run a small business or don’t need to watch your kids online, a free suite may give you the basic protection you need. Just make sure you install a reliable product from a reputable company and make sure you don’t download any files from shady sources.
Why Antivirus Protection Matters?
No matter how careful you are when using the Internet, installing the best antivirus software is the only way to stay protected. Antivirus companies keep on upgrading their products to help users’ devices resist the latest threats. Just get timely updates to enjoy top-notch security.