In this digital era, everything changes frequently. Every other day a new technology emerges to make our life more comfortable. Gradually new threats also emerge and in the era of the Internet, they spread so fast. According to CNN, almost 1 million malware threats are released every day on the internet. The cybercriminals have become very difficult to trace or catch.
Whether your device runs on Windows, Android, macOS or iOS, it doesn’t matter. You are always at risk without an antivirus security program. The good thing is, people are now getting aware of cyber threats. They are looking for the best options to secure their systems from every type of threat. But here is where their confusion begins.
Every other antivirus program claims itself to be the best among the others. When you try to find the best Antivirus for yourself, you will find a lot of different options. All of them will advertise their own set of features. The market is filled with tons of free and paid antimalware programs that make it hard to decide on which one will be the best for your system.
Free antivirus software is good to a certain extent but a reputed paid antivirus software offers a lot more than just malware protection. However, there are certain criteria that can be very helpful for you to choose the perfect security bundle for your system. Let us list them and guide you for what you should be looking for while choosing one.
Table of Contents
What is Antivirus Software?
An antivirus is a software designed to block all the viruses and other malware files from entering the device whether its a computer, laptop or a smartphone. It helps protect our personal data and the hardware itself.
If you are trying to keep a secure working environment then antivirus is a go-to solution. It fights all malicious software like Malware, cybercriminal tactics such as Phishing Scams, Ransomware and other threats including DDoS.
Antivirus software keeps a database of all the known malware and the method to defeat them. This database is updated very frequently, mostly on a daily basis. Some antivirus also blocks Java Scripts which can infect your system. Thus an antivirus which is updated frequently is preferred.
Quality of Protection
The modern antivirus programs should be designed in such a way that they can operate in a dynamic environment. They should be able to cope up with the new threats that are even stronger than the old ones. Quality of protection depends on how:
- Frequently the program updates itself
- Efficiently the program is protecting the laptop without disturbing its performance
- Effective is the malware detection process of the program
- The program can remove the malware completely from the laptop
Reliability is one of the most important criteria before choosing an antivirus solution. It depends on the following factors:
- Whether the program can automate security scans or not. Like if your laptop is idle then the program should smartly sense this on its own and start the security scans. It should schedule a regular scan automatically.
- Whether the program can provide up to date protection.
- Whether the program can protect itself from the termination or not. Some malware threats are so powerful that they attack the weakest spot of the antimalware programs and terminate it from securing the system.
- Whether the program can provide protection without conflicting with other applications installed on your device. A good security program will always check whether any similar program is installed on your device or not. If it found something similar, then it will ask you to uninstall it.
Look for Total Protection
A decade back or so, just getting a good antivirus for your system was good enough if you were not a hardcore user. Now, the threat does not just mean Viruses. A good security program must include the security layers to protect your laptop from every modern threat such as Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Rootkits, Ransomware, Adware, etc.
Also, look for Online/Browsing Protection while choosing an Antivirus software. Most of the threats nowadays come from the internet when you unknowingly download malware while trying to download something. Having an antivirus with browsing protection will let you know about websites you should not visit and also scan the files you are downloading over the internet.
These modern threats can be even more dangerous than the typical virus threats. Therefore, it is an important criterion to look for a security program that can handle all cyber threats, rather than getting different programs for different threats.
Security programs usually take more computing resources than normal programs. For example, a video player will take less memory space as compared to an antimalware.
You should check out how many resources an antivirus will use after being installed such as running in the background or during an active malware scan.
If your laptop is not that powerful then you should look for the antivirus program which is smart enough to adjust according to the system resources. For example, Bitdefender is good in terms of detection but some users have complained about its performance impact. So, you need the best of both worlds without compromising much on one of the factors.
Many software programs for laptops are complex to use and get used to. That should not be the case with your antivirus program. Look for software that is easy to use.
If operating an antivirus requires a special skill then it is ineffective for a regular user. For perfect usability an antivirus program should:
- Have interactive UI and navigation.
- Should let you scan right from the home screen.
- Provide complete documentation of the product and service which should be easy to find.
- Give its user full control on it.
- Be easy to use on touchscreen laptops.
- A Set it and Forget it option to schedule a weekly or monthly scan easily.
Value for Money
Though there is no price tag for the security, not everyone can buy the expensive antivirus program bundles. Many security programs provide both value for money and total security.
You have to be very smart while choosing a budgeted antivirus program because many companies will advertise themselves to be the best in price tag and performance, but reality can be very different.
Some companies will also charge extra for features like Password Manager, Online Protection, Backup Software, Parental Controls, etc but if you don’t need those extra features then you should not pay more than you need and stick to a cheaper option.
Go for the Reputed Products
Like in every other field, reputation matters in security too. An antivirus program with a big name should always be preferred if it matches your every other criterion including your budget.
With the big-name comes the great after services and frequent updates. Many non-reputed programs tend to lose their credibility with time.
Many malware disguised themselves as a cheap alternative to big named anti-malware programs. By choosing them you might end up with a piece of malware on your laptop.
How to Choose the Best One?
Now that you have learned about the important things to look at in an antivirus software it’s finally time to pick the best one for you. For that, you have to spare some of your time and do some research. There are 3 main ways to find out the best antivirus software for you.
- User Opinions
- Experts Reviews
- Personal Testing
User reviews are nowadays a major benefit for consumers which tells us how a product actually performs in real life. The reviews are posted by actual consumers who bought the product and used it for a while before writing the review. So, where will you find such reviews?
CyberSecurity Forum, Quora, Reddit, and TrustPilot are some of the places you should go looking for a product review. You can also compare two or three products together and figure out which one fits you.
If you are not satisfied with user reviews then you can look for expert reviews. There are a few trusted websites you can visit. Some of them are Softpedia, Techradar and PC World. There are so many other websites out there and you are free to do your own research and visit the one you trust.
Most of the Antivirus software you will find comes with a trial testing period and this can play a major role in deciding whether you want it or not. In case you have any doubts regarding the software then simply download the trial version and test it out yourself.
These are some criteria that you can follow if you are confused about which antivirus program to choose. Though every program has its own advantages and disadvantages and it is impossible to point out the best one. You just have to list your priorities and choose accordingly.
The last thing we would like to tell is to try out every product before making the final purchase decision. You should test out two or three programs and see how they perform and how they are different from each other.
However, keep in mind that installing two or more antivirus software at the same time is not the right way. They will definitely conflict with each other and lower the device performance.