There has been a lot of debate on computer security by many computer experts and geeks. There is always some sort of fear in the minds of computer users, specially the ones who are not-so-tech-savvy with use of computers without an antivirus software. Well there is a risk involved, but we should understand the risk and then try to overcome the problem rather than keep worrying about it.
There are dozens and dozens of Antivirus, anti-spyware and Internet-Security suites and softwares which are sold by various anti-virus companies which claim to be better than the competition. But do we really need to buy an anti-virus or we should go ahead with the free versions of many popular security softwares which also claim to provide similar kind of protection. Lets look at it in detail on this battle of Paid VS Free Antivirus.
The fear is real, so is the risk, but it varies from user to user. For example, for a home PC, which is mostly used by kids at home and not for official purpose, the kind of security suite needed is different from a PC which is usually at an office desk always checking emails and opening few website and installing no new softwares. Likewise, a PC at school needs different kind of security features than a personal laptop which is used to store sensitive information and data. We don’t say that there is no need of protection, all we say is that the needs are different for different users. For many parents, keeping a parental check on their kids online activities or keeping their kids safe from online crimes is the priority, for some other, the priority is to protect from identity thefts and protecting their privacy.
Solution lies in understanding the needs of security you need for your PC and then selecting right kind of security software, whether free or paid, it should be fit for your security needs. So rather than selecting based on price comparison, its better to select based on feature comparison along with checking the user reviews of the same.
Let us help you to make up your mind on Paid VS Free Antivirus based on the kind of usage pattern of your PC. Lets look at some of the typical usage patterns:
Anti-Virus For Home PC
For most home computers, its important to have good intrusion prevention. Since home PCs tend to have family pictures, data and are used by multiple family members. Users also connect external drives like USB thumb drives, HDD drives, DVDs etc. to such PCs, its also important to have good virus protection to prevent attacks from outside threats. Also if there are kids using PC, parental control feature is also recommended. You may find all these features in many of the free and paid Anti-virus or Internet security suites. If you don’t want to spend too much, you can use the in-built parental controls settings for Windows (in control panel), and enable Windows Firewall for intrusion prevention. For security from external threats, you can use free softwares like the Microsoft Security Essentials or Avast Free. These free softwares do work well in most of the cases, but if you want to add on more features and get additional features, then you may consider buying a paid version of any other Anti-Virus which you trust.
Anti-Virus For Personal PC or Laptop
Personal PC or laptops are more often used for social networking, online banking, exchanging emails, many a times for work purposes, for saving personal data and information by many users. Such PCs should need better security since use of social networking and online banking is more prone to attacks via malicious social updates on Facebook, Twitter etc. Regarding Internet banking, there are phishing and identity theft attacks which are more harmful on a personal PC as it contains more information about a person than a shared PC usually does. For personal computers, we recommend using a good quality anti-virus which may be free or paid. Most free anti-viruses may not get updated as often as paid ones and also there are some difference in the features that have of the offer. So we recommend that you choose the final product carefully. Preferably, get an Internet security suite which has firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam and capability to prevent phishing and identity theft attacks.
Anti-Virus For Office PC
For most official PCs, its very common to have sensitive business and financial data. Such PCs have work information, software related to work and many a times banking related information. These are most vulnerable machines considering that the probably have much more value for a hacker or cyber criminal. Not only a good security software, but also we recommend that you should always keep a strong login password and disk-encryption in place for such PCs. Coming back to the security suites for work or Office PC, most offices and work places already keep a good quality software suite on work PCs as they buy high volume licenses, but if you are a small organization or your company has a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy, we recommend that you purchase a good quality and reliable security suite for your work PC. The reason we recommend you a paid one is because the cost you pay if your work PC gets compromised maybe much more than what you pay to protect it.
Anti-Virus For School or College PCs
Most schools and colleges have multiple PCs connected on a network which are shared by multiple students and users. They maybe connecting external drives, downloading softwares, adding data and switching PCs from time to time. For such PCs, its important to have robust security. Both for the protection of the PCs and the protection of data of the users and prevent any hacking attacks. Most anti-virus brands offer big discounts on purchasing large number of licenses in bulk, which is usually needed for college, office or school environment. So its better to get volume license with lower cost to protect such PCs with a good quality internet suite.
We might not have covered all possible scenarios here, but you should get some sort of security software if your PC connects to internet and external medias like pen-drives etc. If you have any doubts or queries, feel free to drop a question in comments below. You can also connect with us on Facebook here.