Choose the right anti-virus software

If you have a computer, you need anti-virus protection.  If your computer is new, it might come with a trial version of a program, but it might not be the right one to meet your computing needs.  If your computer is due for a renewal of its anti-virus software, you might want to check out other anti-virus programs.  Either way, you need to make sure that the antivirus program you choose to install on your computer will do what you want it to.  Here are some points to consider before you purchase or renew your current anti-virus program.

Ensure that the application is legitimate. While online, many users are solicited to purchase applications through deceptive advertising that claims that viruses or worms have been detected on your computer.  Amazingly enough, the company will also have the perfect anti-virus solution to take care of the problem.  If you’re lucky, the solution works great.  Worst-case scenario is that you’ve given out personal information to a company and installed their solution that is actually a Trojan program or other malware application instead of the promised antivirus.

Research the manufacturer’s website before you purchase a specific solution.  Check out the retail website and make sure it meets your computing needs.  Don’t buy a program that is designed for a Fortune 500 company if you are a home or small business user with only one computer.

  1. Make sure the website provides educational information about their products, services and support.  Avoid purchasing from websites that don’t do anything but attempt to sell a solution at a “bargain basement” rate that will expire if you don’t purchase in the next few minutes.
  2. Make sure the anti-virus program offers the type of support that you need.   The best applications will provide you with many ways to contact them for help. 
                 Look for the following:

                     a.  an 800 or 866 number to call that is available 24 hours a day 
                     b.  multiple email addresses for support and sales, not just one email address listed
                     c.  “chat” support – or the ability to contact a representative in real time.
                     d.  Check the website for awards.  Antivirus programs that have received awards from recognizable sources such as PC World, CNET, and 
                         InfoWeek are solutions that have been recognized as providing consistent and dependable antivirus protection to users. 

Check for third party certification.  Make sure the anti-virus protection has received third party independent certification.  Third party certification guarantees that the anti-virus program has been tested against industry-standard compliance benchmarks.  Don’t buy a program that has not received third party certification.

  • Go to http://www.icsalabs.com/ and search for anti-virus solutions under their testing area.  Make sure that the application you are considering is on their list.  If it’s not listed, it’s probably not certified.

Seek testimonials.  Testimonials are a good indicator that the anti-virus solution will work as promised.  Most customers won’t take the time to rave about a mediocre application.  Testimonials will point out the superior anti-virus features and will often provide information about how well the manufacturing company provides support.

 Follow up with expert advice. When it comes to selecting an anti-virus solution to meet your specific computing needs, there is no “one size fits all” solution.  To find the best solution, shop around and research.  Remember that if it looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.  

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