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Norton Internet Security 2011

December 7th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

5 Stars- techdad
Norton Internet Security 2011

Until last year, the last time I’d reviewed a security application was 6 years ago and my how the category and the need for security programs have changed. Simple viruses are no longer your main threat. With spyware, malware, trojan horses, scareware, rootkits, etc., who has time to sit around trying to secure their systems from all these threats? With Norton Internet Security 2011, you don’t have to because Norton will do it for you.

PROS

  • Fast and lightweight
  • Proven protection
  • Easier to use interface
  • Little to no user intervention after setup
  • Installs quickly and easily
  • Usually inexpensive after multiple rebates
  • Improved parental controls

CONS

  • Average anti-spam
  • High MSRP

There are only two software applications I purchase regularly when an upgrade is available– operating systems and security suites. When NIS2011 was released, I was able to upgrade to it for the last few months of my NIS2010 subscription. It’s nice that Norton will allow you to do that so you have the most current and secure version of Norton. Essentially, you are buying a new license each year.

INSTALLATION
The installation process was extremely quick and easy. All applications should install this easily.

CPU & SYSTEM RESOURCES
Since NIS2009, Norton has done an outstanding job of limiting it from being the resource hog that many security suites have become. I skipped NIS one year because I found ZoneAlarm for free after rebates and thought I would give it a try since I had used their fantastic free firewall program for years. Ugh. I regretted it almost immediately because of how much it impacted my system performance. As soon as it expired, I switched back to NIS and have not looked back. NIS does not impact my system in any significant way. It does add to your initial system ready time, but it’s a price you have to pay to keep your computer safe. I didn’t notice any improvements however, from last year’s version.

PERFORMANCE
Regardless of how fast, cheap, or pretty a security application is, if it doesn’t catch or prevent security breaches, it is useless. Norton’s antivirus and firewall are the strong foundations of the suite. Norton has a long history of being one of the best at catching viruses. With their suite, they also surpassed nearly all others in catching other types of malware and network intrusions. If you value your data and network, you want the best. I use my laptop as a pretty generic web surfing and movie watching system so I used to run free antivirus software (AVG) and programs like Windows Defender, Ad-aware and Spybot. With the single user, 3-PC license, I can now protect both my computers equally well. I appreciate the hands-off approach to protecting my systems. I very rarely get prompted by NIS as it protects my system in the background and I have not yet been infected while being protected by NIS, knock on silicon.

USER INTERFACE
The interface is highly intuitive and adds a wealth of statistical information. The main screen is divided into 3 main categories, “Computer,” “Network,” and “Web.” The Computer section is the meat of the suite covering viruses, spyware and other malware. The Network section covers the firewall, network and email intrusion. The Web section covers safe web browsing, including Identity Safe, which allows you to store passwords/logins for websites. I don’t use IdentitySafe because I am a long-time Roboform user and also recently started using the free LastPass service.

MISC
The anti-spam feature, which had been added back into NIS2010 after being removed in NIS2009, is better but only useful if you happen to still use a POP3 email client. I don’t use Parental Controls, but I have heard good things about it.

Unfortunately, the browser plug-ins still only exist for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Why no Chrome, Opera or Safari?

Though MSRP seems pretty high, you get protection for up to 3 PC’s. Also, if you can wait around, usually around tax time, you can find NIS for very cheap after multiple rebates ($10/AR).

Lastly, tech support is free and available in the form of FAQ’s, knowledgebase, chat, remote control, and telephone. I prefer chat support if available, because the language issue is much more tolerable when communicating with non-native English speakers. I heard that they will charge for phone support in extreme cases when support goes beyond the scope of normal NIS support, which is totally reasonable. They will not help you fix your computer’s “cup holder.”

SUMMARY
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, the NIS2011 suite remains your best option. Sure, I could compile my own suite of separate apps that might do as good a job as NIS, but it would be a nightmare to manage and also costly to buy when compared to NIS. If you own a Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 computer, Norton Internet Security 2011 needs to be on your computer. Don’t believe me? There’s no better proof than running the trial version for yourself.

Available from Amazon.com.

* Review license provided by Symantec

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