Feeds

Aargh! Bamboozled by security licensing - what works for my family?

Guide this reader through the vendor maze

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Readers' corner And so to El Reg Forums and Edwin, a commentard since 2007, who is having a bit of trouble in choosing IT security software for his family. He writes:

I'm rapidly losing my mind in the minefield that is security software, particularly when it comes to licensing many devices... The internet has become useless for this sort of research, I find: 90% of search result hits are resellers trying to sell me software rather than a comprehensive comparative review.

Let me sketch it out:

I'm looking for a software solution to manage security on the family digital devices (me, wife, kids of 9 and 12). Between the four of us, we have three Windows 7 PCs, three Android tablets and four Lumia phones. The software in question must:

  • provide good antivirus and general protection for the PCs for all platforms
  • provide good malware protection for the tablets
  • provide an overview of which android apps pose privacy risks
  • be free of ads and whatnot (which is why I'm abandoning Avast)

Nice-to-haves:

  • parental controls (restrict what the kids can install on their tablets)
  • have some intention of covering WinPho in the future
  • whatever system optimisation and other features they care to add

So far, I'm looking at Symantec, Bitdefender, Webroot and Kaspersky. They all seem to offer more or less the same features, though licensing is a nightmare: almost everyone will cover *5* devices, but not *6* (or, if we include the handsets, 10).

WinPho doesn't seem to be covered by anyone, though Webroot indicated they have been contemplating it, which puts my costs for one year (in USD, since that's what the websites are offering at first glance) at:

Symantec: $100. They offer Norton 360 licenses up to 5 devices, so I would need to buy one extra mobile security license. The customer service agent I chatted with suggested Norton One instead of the Norton360 family pack, because you can 'add seats'. Great idea, except Norton One costs twice what the 360 pack costs, and offers for no clear extra value that I can make out.

Kaspersky: $105. They have a 10 device license, but that costs more than taking out a 3 device overall license for the PCs and another 3 device license for the tablets (why???)

Bitdefender: $130. Bitdefender stands out here in that they offer 'family member' packages, so for households of 3 or 5 people they will cover all devices. Great licensing model, though the most expensive offering of the lot (and what's wrong with my family of *4* people?)

Webroot: $60. They are by far the cheapest option on the face of it. Their customer support also claims to offer a 10 device license, but I can't find it on their website. Plan B would be a 3 device license plus 3 copies of their Android software (though whether the android software goes by year is unclear)

In the end, it's not strictly about cost, but about functionality and reliability. Cost comes in second (very, very close second if you ask the wife).

My question is: does anyone have experience with any of these packages and different licensing models? Or is there some key player I'm completely overlooking? I appreciate that lasct question is a bit like starting a discussion about your favourite Linux editor (emacs) or hard disk model (who cares), but suggestions are welcome!

Gentle reader, what do you think? This way to the Forums. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.