Avira Ultimate Protection Suite
Norton Security Premium
• Comprehensive computer protection
• Useful system utilities tools
• Light on system resources
• Easy to install and use
• Reasonable price
• Parental controls are pretty bare
• Unless users pay more, Symantec only provides 2GB of space for online backups
Norton Security Premium is a real heavy weight security solution. It offers comprehensive system protection, but at a hefty price. However, based on its features set and malware detection rates it is still one of the best total security suites available for the Windows platform.
Before installing NNorton Security Premium, we checked the system requirements listed by Symantec. According to Symantec, for a system to run the latest version of Norton Security Premium, it requires at least a 300MHz processor and 256MB of memory. Realistically, however, a system running this software should have over 1GHz of processing power and at least 512MB of memory. Most users should have absolutely no problem meeting the system requirements stated by Symantec. Our test system, for example, has a 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of memory; these are low-end specifications by today's standards.
Since our test system easily surpassed the listed requirements, we did not expect any installation problems. Unsurprisingly, the installation process ran quite smoothly. In fact, unlike many of the early Norton Security Premium versions, the installation of Norton Security Premium completed incredibly quickly. From start to finish, it took about a minute to install. Not only was the installation quick, it was easy. We were only required to click a few buttons to move through the installation.
Anti-virus – .
Firewall – The firewall included in Norton Security Premium is truly exceptional. Unlike many 3rd-party firewalls, Norton Security Premium's firewall does not constantly bother users with pop-up messages that ask whether or not a program should be granted network access. Rather, a large database of known applications is automatically referenced to determine which programs are allowed to access the network. We found that the firewall's default settings, which automate the majority of network security, are perfectly acceptable for most users. Of course, for users who want more control, the firewall has plenty of configuration options, including the ability to block or grant network access to specific applications.
Parental controls – The parental controls included in Norton Security Premium are nice, but they are not quite as fully featured as we would have liked. For example, while these web-based controls do provide activity logs, the logs only cover web browsing that occurred in the past 7 days. Also, several features common in other parental-control software, such as video monitoring, are completely absent from Norton Security Premium.
When tested for effectiveness, Symantec's anti-virus software regularly achieves top scores. So far, the results for tests performed on Norton Security Premium have been exceptional as well. In comparative tests performed by several independent companies, the anti-virus capabilities of Norton Security Premium have been consistently rated as the best in the industry. In our experience, Norton Security Premium is unmatched when it comes to anti-virus capabilities, so we do not find the results from these tests the least bit surprising.
Backing up files locally and online with Norton Security Premium is fairly easy to do. The default settings will create copies of files and folders that are commonly backed up, such as the My Documents folder. It is easy to specify which files and folders will be backed up, and it is also easy to specify how frequently these backups take place. In this area, our one complaint is that Symantec only provides users with 2GB of online storage for free. With digital media as prevalent as it is these days, this amount of storage space is simply not enough for most users.
Phishing protection – To prevent users from giving out sensitive information, such as passwords, Norton Security Premium includes comprehensive phishing protection. By checking through a database of known phishing websites and monitoring browsing sessions in real time, Norton Security Premium ensures that only legitimate parties receive sensitive information.
Password management – For users who want to keep their information safe while storing their passwords, Norton Security Premium offers Identity Safe. Identity Safe stores and encrypts log-in information so that users do not need to worry about losing their passwords or having someone else find them.
In Norton Norton Security Premium's PC Tuneup menu, there are a variety of system-optimization tools available, including disk optimizer, disk clean-up, diagnostic report, and start-up manager. As in past versions of Norton Security Premium, these tools perform fairly well and function as expected.
Proactive performance alerts – These alerts were designed to let users know which specific applications are hogging their systems' resources and causing slowdowns.
Insight – Insight is a feature that was designed to find out where files came from and how long they have been around. This information is used to help determine which files are safe and which files are potential threats.
Norton safe web social media scanner – This innovative feature scans users' Facebook feeds and walls for bad links and potential phishing threats.
Ease of use
Users of previous Norton Security Premium versions will have no trouble configuring the latest release. As with previous versions, Version 6's main window is clean and simple. From this window, it is incredibly easy to access and adjust the configurations for all of Norton Security Premium's major components: PC Security, Identity Security, Backup, and PC Tuneup.
Help & support
Symantec offers some of the best customer support in the industry. In addition to guides, forums, and automated support tools, Symantec provides customers with phone-based support, e-mail support, and even remote assistance.
Norton Security Premium is perfect for users who need a complete system-security package that is light on resources and easy to use. From tune-up tools to anti-virus protection, Norton Security Premium provides everything that users need to keep their systems speedy and secure. Only just behind Webroot Secure Anywhere Complete on our scoring system.
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