15 Factors to Consider When Choosing An Antivirus Software


In today’s complicated world, computers have become a necessity. Whether you work from home or need to use one as part of your job, chances are good that you have some sort of computer nearby at all times. It may be so close that you can hear its cooling fan running or see the blue glow coming from its LCD screen – we’re not sure how we got along without them for this long!

While they’ve helped us in countless ways and continue to make our lives easier and more fun, they’re also prone to share some problems with their human counterparts: namely viruses and malware. Some people try to protect themselves by using antivirus software; others don’t bother because it does seem necessary. But is there a right answer?

Viruses are programs that are designed to harm your computer in some way, usually by deleting or corrupting data or preventing you from being able to access it. They are often written by malicious programmers who have an ax to grind, but they can also be created for more innocent reasons. Whichever the case, antivirus software is designed to shield your desktop and laptop computers from them.

There are hundreds of antivirus programs out there today. Here are just a few examples: Avast!, AVG, Comodo Defense+, Kaspersky, Norton Antivirus, and Bitdefender Total Security. Each has its strengths and weaknesses; when choosing which one is right for you, take into consideration such things as speed, ease of use, and whether your device is compatible.

Are you looking for the perfect antivirus software for your computer? There are many factors to consider when choosing an antivirus program: it’s important to consider all of them before purchasing a product. This article will highlight some of the most important factors and help you choose an antivirus program that best suits your needs.

security The following are some factors to consider when choosing antivirus software:

  1. Free vs paid – while free antivirus programs may be tempting, they usually do not offer as much security or protection as their paid counterparts. However, there are certain benefits such as ease-of-use and increased efficiency in performance. It is up to you whether or not these benefits outweigh the cost of having to purchase a paid version; however, it is something to keep in mind that can help you narrow down your choices. While freeware antivirus programs offer effective virus protection for free, whereas paid versions usually offer additional features such as parental control, anti-theft apps, spam filters, phishing filters, and more. But with all these extra features sometimes come additional cost. Consider how much you can afford to spend on internet security software, and what features you most want to protect yourself against.
  2. Platform compatibility – many antivirus companies offer their products for multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Others may only be compatible with a few platforms, or one in particular. Compatibility should be considered to determine which program will work best for all of your devices. You don’t want to have to purchase different programs for each device if it isn’t necessary.
  3. Ease of use & automatic updates – consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on their mobile devices, meaning the demand for easy-to-use security software is increasing as well. Some free antivirus programs can still be very complicated and cumbersome; you should consider how user-friendly the program is before purchasing it. A bonus would be automatic updating of the security software suite, to ensure that you are always protected by the most recent version. One of the most vital factors when choosing antivirus software is how frequently new virus definitions are released.  When a new virus emerges, security companies write an algorithm that detects the presence of this malware without damaging files or user data on your PC.
  4. Technical support – is an important consideration when choosing antivirus software. If your chosen security program crashes or freezes it could leave you vulnerable to viruses, so make sure that the company offers reliable technical support in case of emergencies. Strong customer support often features live chat, email ticketing systems, and/or phone numbers.
  5. Compatibility  – antivirus protection is only useful if it works with all the programs on your computer, not just browsers or email clients. Most internet security suites provide both real-time malware protection (which constantly protects your system in the background) and performance optimization (to ensure that no unnecessary strain is placed on your system). However, some are designed for heavy users with multiple PCs, while others are designed for casual computer users. It is important to check the features in your Internet security software before you buy it—you may have to spend more to get additional functionality.
  6. Detection: Another factor to consider when choosing an antivirus program is how well it can detect new malware before the virus is widely spread.  Many companies release software that detects viruses once they are very widespread, but WebRoot secures their users by protecting against not only known viruses but also “possible threats” (viruses that aren’t yet widespread) like Heartbleed.  There’s no point in having an antivirus if it won’t protect you from something that has already affected tens of thousands of computers! When looking for an antivirus solution, providers always boast about how many threats they detect, but it’s just as important to see what they miss.  A piece of software that protects you from 99% of threats while letting the other 1% slip through unharmed is useless, but a product that only catches 90% of them won’t be much better.  You should also look at the number of false positives – if an antivirus thinks every innocuous program is malicious, it’s just as bad as not having protection at all.
  7. Other features: Some of the most important features to look for when choosing antivirus software are its ability to monitor all running programs on your computer, along with its ability to scan for harmful programs and monitor other areas such as USB storage devices.  The extra features should be selected based on your computer usage, but it is especially important to look for a program that will ignore, override, or allow you to easily disable the notifications from the antivirus software when they get in the way of performing certain tasks (such as losing focus while playing games).
  8. System resource usage (RAM/CPU): One of the most overlooked factors is whether or not the antivirus software will slow down your computer.  Just about all of them claim that it won’t, but that’s unrealistic – there is no way for a piece of software to do its job without affecting another process running on your computer.  The best thing you can do is look at performance reviews from other users before buying anything – this will let you know if their product has any adverse effects on speed or memory usage, and whether or not those are significant enough to bother with.
  9. Capability for additional protection: Security needs to be multi-layered, and many providers bundle additional protection into their products these days.  These are usually called suites and have expanded beyond simply offering next-gen firewall protection into things like online backup services or parental controls.  While your priority should still be staying protected against malware, these extras can give you some peace of mind and take care of other issues.
  10. User-friendliness: The best protection is the one you never notice, and users should never have to worry about whether their antivirus is doing its job or not.  If it interferes with your work in any way, always opt for a lightweight version that doesn’t slow down your computer too much. You can also use such software to recover files you’ve mistakenly deleted!
  11. Reviews: When choosing what antivirus app to buy, make sure to read user reviews online to avoid unpleasant surprises about the limitations of trial versions.
  12. Ease of installation: Another thing to consider is whether you install the antivirus on your computer yourself or you ask some third-party service to take care of it. Or both – right now, some firms are offering combined products that allow users not only to protect their devices against malware but also check how clean their phones are in case they plan on selling them at a store.
  13. Ability to delete viruses automatically (some require you to do it manually) – this is an important thing to consider when choosing antivirus software.
  14. Ease of updating – some apps require you to update them yourself, which can be quite irritating; others will do it for you, but make sure the updates won’t slow down your PC or tablet after they are installed.
  15. Ability to scan already-downloaded files (unlike most antivirus programs, some don’t allow you to scan files that are already saved onto your PC) – this is a good feature to have in case you want to check the safety of the files that have been on your device for a while.

If you are still uncertain, get in touch with one of our local technician to help you out!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...