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How do I Choose the Best Internet Security Software?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

In order to choose the best Internet security software, it’s important that you determine what your major risk factors are and in which areas you may not need protection. For instance, a business grade software system intended for large networks would likely be a waste for someone with only one computer connected to the Internet. Be sure that when you are making a purchase, the package you choose can be upgraded in the event that you need more coverage later. To find the right software for your situation, speak with a sales professional at a local office retailer or with a software consultant.

There are several main types of Internet security software, the most familiar being anti-virus software. This is a program or system of programs that is capable of scanning a computer’s files and finding viruses and other malicious downloads. Once found, the virus can be either quarantined or destroyed. Any computer that is connected to the Internet should be equipped with an anti-virus software.

Antivirus programs offer many options.
Antivirus programs offer many options.

Many anti-virus programs come in a package that also contain software such as firewalls and parental controls. A firewall is a program that helps to block viruses and unwanted files from entering a computer’s system and is the first line of defense for protection against viruses. These programs work together with anti-virus programs to keep most home computers virus free. Parental controls and other features may not be needed by everyone, but families with children may benefit from such programs.

Parental controls both limit and monitor what children are doing online for their own protection.
Parental controls both limit and monitor what children are doing online for their own protection.

The main differences between security programs are the level of protection and the price. In general, the higher the price, the higher the level of protection. However, there is no one size fits all solution to choosing the best Internet security software. High-end programs may help offer the maximum in protection, but they are generally intended for large networks that could potentially be attacked from multiple locations or from within the network. If you have a simple home computer setup, this level of protection is not usually needed.

To choose the best Internet security software for your individual needs, you should make out a budget and shop around. Look for programs that are designed your specific purpose, meaning home or business use, and decide on the level of protection you need. You should also find software that can be upgraded later if you find yourself with additional needs. Start with the least amount of protection needed and work your way up from there.

Discussion Comments


@allenJo - The top Internet security software should have advanced parental controls. This is a must, especially in my house with a teenage son and daughter.

I’ll admit that some of these controls can be quite restrictive. My kids complain that they get bumped off websites that they insist are innocuous; most of these are social networking sites, so that’s a matter of debate in my opinion.

But you can adjust the settings to your preference. Not only will parental control keep the little ones out of trouble, but it will keep them away from sites that may be potentially dangerous to your computer.


@Charred - You can use trial Internet security software that usually comes bundled with a new PC, or you can download it off the manufacturer’s website. This is the best way to determine which software package will meet your needs, in addition to reading Internet security software reviews.

I will say this, however. In my opinion there is not a lot of difference in what the product actually does. If it fights viruses, there are only so many viruses out there, and I think all products, free or otherwise, maintain an updated database with virus signatures.

So they should all work well in that regard. It just comes down to overall usability and some of the other perks, like reporting and things like that, which make the real difference from one product to another.


I recently gave up using free Internet security software after I found a whole bunch of viruses on my computer that had slipped through unaware. I realize that there are many good quality antivirus and anti spyware programs that are free, but in my opinion cheap Internet security software is not a gamble you should take if you care about the security of your system.

I paid for a professional antivirus Internet security software package which has both a business and consumer edition; it has antivirus, firewall and parental control, three of the main features I need, and I am very happy with the results.

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    • Antivirus programs offer many options.
      By: jamdesign
      Antivirus programs offer many options.
    • Parental controls both limit and monitor what children are doing online for their own protection.
      By: atikinka2
      Parental controls both limit and monitor what children are doing online for their own protection.