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Comparing Norton Security Products: Which One Do You Need?

Note: Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 have been discontinued by Symantec. Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security have been replaced with Norton Security. Norton 360 has been replaced by Norton Security with Backup.

Symantec offers three software titles which all share one particularity in common: they can protect your computer against online threats. But then why are there three of them, you ask? In this short article, we compare Symantec's three online security superstars to try and guide you toward the one that is right for you.

Norton Antivirus: affordable protection against online threats

This is Symantec's best-seller. At $39.99 for a yearly subscription, or a little over $3/month, you can protect up to three PCs in your household. All major threats are covered: viruses, of course, but also spyware, bots, trojans, rootkits and more. Norton Antivirus' protection is for the most part automated, abiding by the 'set it and forget it' principle. In other words it is really easy to use and once you have set it up to your liking, runs by itself. Updates are frequent and don't require any action on the user's part, which allows for peace of mind unlike some free antivirus solutions that need to be updated manually in order to stay current.

Norton Internet Security: do you want a firewall with that?

A bit more expensive than  Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security does offer something the latter doesn't have: a firewall. And not just any firewall; the reputation of Symantec's two-way firewall has always been excellent in the technology community. It protects your computer against hacker attacks and therefore provides added security for your data and identity, making it impossible for third-parties to take over your system.

An anti-phishing feature helps you in detecting deceptive emails and fraudulent websites. What does this mean for you? That you should not be afraid to click on links in the emails you receive, although you should still apply common sense at all times. Also, shop and bank online with confidence as you know the personal data you enter in web page fields will not be compromised.

Finally, with  Norton Internet Security you get a powerful, enterprise-grade anti-spam filter to keep unwanted messages away, as well as Parental Controls in order to restrict your kids' access to the Internet. For instance, block certain social sites where they could be chatting with child molesters - who knows?

Norton 360: your PC's bodyguard, maid and mechanic!

Here it is: Symantec's top-of-the-line product, the do-it-all powerhouse. With Norton 360 you get everything  Norton Antivirus and  Norton Internet Security have to offer, plus data backup & restore features as well as PC tuneup (performance optimization) capabilities.

How does this benefit you? On top of the online protection layers, ensuring that threats are blocked or destroyed on the spot, your data is always safe because it gets automatically backed up according to criteria and a schedule that you define; it can be backed up to different media types such as your hard drive or external drives, CDs, Blu-ray discs and more. You can even do backups to your own online storage place; you get 2 GB by default but can purchase more space at any time.

Norton 360 also helps to keep your PC running efficiently. It does this by removing application and Internet browser temporary files as well as unwanted cookies that just clutter your hard drive. It also can fix common Windows problems, particularly with the Registry, and with Startup Manager you can specify which programs should start up at boot time. All of these actions combined contribute to an overall faster performance of your system and make it more enjoyable for you to use over time.

To put it bluntly, think of  Norton 360 as your PC bodyguard but also its maid and its mechanic, all of these 'people' working 24/7, all year-round. Of course this level of security and convenience comes with a price and  Norton 360 is twice as expensive as  Norton Antivirus. But buying different pieces of software to achieve the same results would probably cost you more and their installation could leave you frustrated. Here you download  Norton 360, install it and off you go.

To sum up:

- If you only need protection against online threats, go with  Norton Antivirus. It's also the cheapest of the bunch and coupons can almost always be had to reduce its price (which is also true for  Norton Internet Security and  Norton 360, actually).

- If you also need firewall protection, you'll want to get  Norton Internet Security. This might be because you don't trust your PC's default firewall (Windows) or because you want more control over it. The other features are also very important to protect your identify and personal data (anti-phishing technology) or to avoid being bombarded with emails trying to sell you products you don't need (anti-spam filter). Not to mention that if you have kids and you are worried about what they are doing online,  Norton Internet Security will solve that problem for you.

- If you can afford it, go with  Norton 360. Install three key pieces of software in one to protect your computer and make it run faster, as well as keep your data in a safe place. There is really no other product offering more peace of mind than this one, combined with a user friendliness that will actually make you want to use it.

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