IT ANSWERS – AntiVirus? Where to start.

What is an AntiVirus?

An Antivirus or anti-virus software is what we use to prevent, detect, and/or remove malware (which come in the forms of computer viruses, computer worms, trojans, spyware and adware). These all find different ways into your computer and cause negative effects ranging from deleting files, slowing your system/network down, sending out your information on the web and much more.

Why Buy Antivirus Software?

In our technological age not only are good software packages coming out every day but so are the bad ones. Nowadays, it would be fair to say an unprotected computer isn’t just vulnerable, it’s most likely already infected. New viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, and other malware are created daily. Obviously most of these viruses still creep into protected computers talk less of those that don’t have antivirus protection.

Viruses were not too dangerous back in the days of Windows 97 but have recently turned out to become serious threats that can completely destroy your computer and also steal your information and identity.

Having basic security on your PC is great but a powerful one can really slowdown your system. With modern antivirus software they have improved the level of protection, as well as the software’s resource management and speed. You can now have the ultimate protection without your system slowing down all the time. It’s also great that the software developers have made them all easier to use and less intrusive, so no more annoying security warnings and noticeable slowdown; most current antivirus packages offer constant protection and actually speed up your pc.

Now, the latest generation of antivirus software, are all equipped with heuristic detection (real-time scanning, etc) and it just keeps getting better. All major companies should endeavor to buy an antivirus system employed on as many computers as possible especially ‘SERVERS’. We must have all noticed our everyday cyber café’s seem to be lax in their employment of such vital software. It’s important that a legitimate antivirus package be bought and installed on at least their server computers. Most companies and café’s still take this for granted and end up spending more changing hard drives, RAM memory and multiple installations of Operating Systems after the damage has been done. Buying a pirated antivirus which many companies still do might work for your Personal Computers and Laptops but in an organization, the protection is poor because after a while it doesn’t update properly so your network is open to attacks. A quick trip to most café’s will have your system seeing the blue screen of death in no time. The pirated antivirus packages can only help to a certain extent, however with a purchased version; your system is registered with the provider’s network and will be constantly updated and well monitored.

Picking a good one:

The saying goes “Like with everything in the world, there’s the good, the bad, and the mediocre” same goes with Anti-Virus packages, all security software are not created equal. There is so much choice out there that we decided to give you a helping hand in picking out one suited just for you.

Here are the 7 things to look out for:

–          Useability: The 1st thing to bear in mind is if you can’t figure out how to use it, you won’t be able to protect anything. So usability is key.

–          Scope of Protection: Most will say “multi-layered” protection, “360 degree” defense etc. but just look out for traditional protection from viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware, defense from keyloggers, phishing scams, email-borne threats and rootkits. So they should protect from as many threats on as many fronts as they can.

–          Effectiveness: If it looks fancy but does not protect your system well? Why bother. Look up reviews and see what the users say.

–          Ease of Installation and Setup: Security software shouldn’t be stress to install, so you can be protected as soon as possible. From download to scan, it should be quick and easy.

–          Features: Well-rounded features make a good solution great. So look out for added features which provide security, usability and performance benefits.

–          Updates: Security software is only as good as its latest update. Viruses are made every day so look out for automatic updates, performed regularly.

–          Help & Support: The best software doesn’t require reading an in-depth manual to use, but still has one available. Additional support can come over the phone, email, live chat, or through a number of additional resources (knowledgebase, FAQs, tutorials).

A well-balanced antivirus solution is effective, efficient, and easy to use. Combining all the right features with a usable interface; here are our top 5 antivirus software choices:

1- AVG Anti-Virus Software 2011:  AVG is well known in the Nigerian market. The 2011 package is great as it never slows down your computer and has a very simplified interface which any basic computer user can work around. It has a plethora of speed enhancing tools for your PC. It also has a free version which statistics say is the most downloaded FREE antivirus program as of now.

2- Eset Nod32 Antivirus Software 4.xx:  Very Fast and Simple Installation that does not require a restart which means it’s ready for use immediately after install. Ordinarily this package might not come in at number 2 on the world market but because it has a very user-friendly interface and uses up very little resources. This has to be number 2 in the Nigerian market.

3- Norton AntiVirus Software 2011: This is arguably the industry’s best-known brand. Even as its last outings were said to be slow and hard to install, they’ve worked hard to fix that. A new ultra-lean installer and light weight software is what they have this time. It’s probably the best made antivirus package existing, although some may not like its interface.

4- BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011: BitDefender remains one of the best antivirus programs, with this year’s version being very flexible and excellent at Malware detection. The downsides are the user interface is not friendly which and the updates don’t seem to come fast enough.

5- Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011: The well known antivirus company always represents with the core aspects of virus protection. Kaspersky Lab is rated as one of the world’s top four leading IT security software vendors for endpoint users. The problem with this version is it uses up a lot of system resources and can considerably slow down your computer compared to the 4 mentioned above.

NOTE: There are also Free Antivirus Packages that do a pretty good job at protecting your computer especially for PC owners that don’t want to go through the stress of paying a lot of money to buy an Antivirus Package.

Top 5 Free Antivirus Packages prescribed by http://www.pcworld.com are

  • Avast Free Antivirus 5
  • Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus 10
  • Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.0
  • Comodo Internet Security Premium 5.0

So with this you are up to date and have nothing to worry about. Get your pc protected now!

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