11 Top Picks
42 Hours of Research
33 Options Considered
When it comes to protecting your devices, you want the best network security software available within your budget. It can be hard to know what to look for, though, especially if you’re not using a Windows machine. This article will help you learn what features to look for in security suites and introduce you to the best network security software options on the market today!
Here are some of the best and most popular security suites on the market today.
3 Top Network Security Software Programs
Norton 360 Deluxe is a great option from one of the biggest and most trusted names in the business. Norton offers security across multiple platforms, allows for online backups, and has plenty of great security features, including an unlimited VON and a fully functional parental control system!
Kaspersky Total Security offers a comprehensive security suite that has anything you could think of to protect yourself. Their antivirus protection has won several awards, it includes a built-in firewall, and it even has comprehensive parental control and backup options!
Best Network Security Software Reviews
McAfee Total Protection is the best brand when it comes to trusted names in security. This suite has a lot of great features, and it remains our overall top recommended software.
One of the turn-offs to McAfee is that it costs a bit more money than other options. You are paying, in part, for the big and trusted brand name. They have a lot of great features and they are compatible with any operating system, too. The bigger price tag also comes with some bigger benefits. For example, you get no limits on your bandwidth or servers when you run your VPN.
They rank very highly on their antivirus protection and as antispyware software. They use a combination of different techniques to defend your system, and they scored a perfect 100% in independent testing when it came to protection. This is the highest possible score, and no other company managed, though a few did score 97 to 99.
McAfee Total Protection Pros
McAfee Total Protection Cons
Norton 360 Deluxe is a great option from one of the biggest and most trusted names in the business as one of the original windows security suites. Norton offers security across multiple platforms, allows for online backups, and has plenty of great security features, including an unlimited VON and a fully functional parental control system!
The Norton 360 Deluxe suite is an incredibly good value and is considered to be the best internet security suite by many (though we don't agree). It offers tons of high security features at a bargain pricing, especially since parental controls and unlimited PN usage doesn’t cost anything extra. It includes a promise for virus protection and amazing scores in tests against phishing and URL blocking thanks to the built in firewall.
The Dark Web protection can protect you from other intrusions. You can add a driver’s license, about 10 different bank accounts, and credit cards, and about 5 each of any other data type you wish to enter. This is easy to use and protects against a breach.
Additional features keep a monitor on the dark web and Windows users even get 50 gigs of hosted online storage and Online Banking Protection. Anyone who signs up for automatic renewal of their licenses also gets a Virus Protection Promise
This means that if any of your devices does happen to get infected with malware, Norton will dispatch a tech support expert to log in remotely and fix it for you. If they can’t, you will get a full refund.
Norton 360 Deluxe Pros
Norton 360 Deluxe Cons
Kaspersky Total Security is hands down the best security suite that has anything you could think of to protect yourself. Their antivirus protection has won several awards, it includes a built-in firewall, and it even has comprehensive parental control, theft protection, backup options!
Kaspersky is expensive, but it comes with tons and tons of features, so it’s worth the price. These features include the ability to encrypt and shred your files, a password manager, and backup systems. It’s even compatible with multiple platforms such as MacOS and Windows 10.
One of the nice features of Kaspersky is that it will check your system for any security patches that are missing and automatically update them if any are found. It allows you to have control over your webcam, so spyware can’t hack into it and snoop you. The Do Not Track feature even prevents advertisers from tracking your browsing habits to target their ads to you.
Kaspersky Total Security Pros
Kaspersky Total Security Cons
ESET Internet Security is extremely comprehensive. It will destroy malware when found, and monitor for it throughout the entire life cycle… offering coverage for before, during, and after the malware gets executed.
Their dashboard has plenty of great features and they’re very easy to see and use. You can use buttons to scan your computer, enable payment and banking protection, and connect home monitoring to analyze your network’s security.
It allows you to scan the computer and update your setting, access your tools, and contact help and support.
The drag and drop system is a great way to check your files before opening or sending them. You can also perform advanced scans from this area for specialized searching.
Updates are also pretty easy and the tools allow you to link to anything you need to use, including an anti-theft device that lets you track stolen equipment.
ESET Internet Security Pros
ESET Internet Security Cons
Trend Micro Maximum Security works across multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It is optimized for Windows and Android, so they get more features than the other operating systems, but it is a great suite overall.
Comprehensive security means protecting all your devices. The Trend Micro understands that, so they offer protection for your phones and tablets as well.
Although it provides advanced security only for Android and Windows, it has far more protection for Mac OS and iOS than nearly any of its competitors, so you can be sure that you’re covered.
The user interface is very simple and clean. It has a big, green scan button for running a scan and separate buttons to handle your devices, privacy, data, and family. You can provide feedback and handle your accounts, and even receive help from inside the dashboard.
Although their score was weaker when it came to malware, they did receive a perfect 100 percent protection score when it came to anti phishing tests. Only 2 other options came close to this score, at 9. This is because they offer 3 different layers of protection against ransomware.
Trend Micro Maximum Security Pros
Trend Micro Maximum Security Cons
If you’re looking for a single package that contains every possible aspect of security, then grab Bitdefender Total Security. This is a massive suite of tons of well integrated security protocols with protection for multiple platforms and tons of great features.
They have a very clean user interface that makes it very easy to understand and use. You have access buttons for a quick scan, the ability to open a VPN, and the chance to customize your quick action dashboard.
On the side, you also have menus for additional protection, privacy settings, and utilities. You can receive notifications and configure your account and settings. There’s even an easy button to contact support!
Unfortunately for many people, this software is made with Windows in mind. While it can still offer some protection to other operating systems, it isn’t the ideal option. For windows, tough, there are insanely cool tools! You can optimize everything with a single click, including your startup features. You can even clean your disk!
One of the biggest concerns with laptops is that they’re relatively easy to steal. Because modern laptops are more than powerful enough to handle nearly every need, including gaming, a lot of people don't bother with desktops anymore. Unfortunately, that means it's as convenient for thieves to steal as it is for you to take with you.
This program has an anti-theft protection for your computer if you have Windows. Just use the Bitdefender Central to locate, lock, or remotely wipe your device. If you have an Android, you can even sound an alarm.
Bitdefender Total Security Pros
Bitdefender Total Security Cons
AVG Internet Security is nice because you can install it on as many machines as you want. This allows every one of them to be protected with their powerful antivirus program. The software even protects against webcam peepers and ransomware.
AVG has a great program available to protect your computer. Their dashboard is clean and covers your computers, email and web, attacks from hackers, and even protects your privacy and online payments. A simple button lets you easily scan your computer.
They also have a personal firewall included in the paid suite. This is a two-way firewall that will protect you well. Not only will it protect you against internet attacks, but this one will also make sure that none of your applications will start to attack you or misuse the connection.
AVG Internet Security Pros
AVG Internet Security Cons
Avast Internet Security offers comprehensive control. It includes antivirus protection, a massive and powerful firewall, spam filters, and tons of great bonus features for any of your needs, as long as you’re willing to pay a little extra for them.
Their dashboard is very simple and easy to use. You can run a quick scan at the press of a button. The menu includes your system status, protections, privacy settings, and data on your performance. It also has the option for mobile compatibility.
They have a ton of malware protection. The testing labs all score Avast extremely well on their testing. Although it isn’t the top score winner, it is among the best across 5 separate independent tests.
It includes some cool unique features, too. The Wi-Fi Inspector will crawl through your network and find all your devices that are connected. It maps them visually so you know where they are, and which devices are connecting most recently. This also flags potential security problems.
You can read more in this Avast Security review.
Avast Internet Security Pros
Avast Internet Security Cons
Bitdefender is a very popular service, some even claim one of the best internet security software tools for most needs. It comes with tons of great security features and VPN protection so you can rest assured that your network is safe. In fact, they ensure this by multiple layers of ransomware protection in case a zero-day attack gets through the basic antivirus.
On top of having outstanding scores when independently tested for their antivirus and web protection, Bitdefender also comes with plenty of other great features. Your webcam is secured, it includes file encryption, and they have parental controls and a VPN protection.
The dashboard is clean and easy to use and understand. It offers security status reports and recommends the best course of action when something needs to be changed or corrected. The Autopilot feature even makes sure that you’re not missing out on any hidden features.
There are 4 buttons that have been designed for rapid action. These buttons let you launch a scan quickly, access and open your VPN, activate banking protection through their Safe Pay option, and install protection on any other device.
A fifth button will even let you change the actions on the other buttons, so you can set a quick action button for any feature that you want to access in a single click.
Bitdefender Internet Security Suite Pros
Bitdefender Internet Security Suite Cons
Avira Prime is the best of all of their products because it includes every single free and paid product Avira has to offer. Although it has the entire group of products, it’s still not quite as good as a lot of other heavy hitters on our list. Still, it beats most of the competition and will get the job done.
Avira’s dashboard is a little bit old school and pretty big, but it is easy to use and understand. The dashboard will show you the options for your computer or other devices. It will allow you to open and do a quick scan of your information, open and scan the software updater for any necessary updates, and manage your passwords.
It also lets you turn the VPN on and off and accelerate your PC’s performance by freeing up memory.
When it came to independent lab testing, they scored in acceptable ranges. Some tests showed good scores and others showed great scores. Their aggregate score across all 5 independent labs can keep up with giants like Kaspersky and AVG.
Avira Prime Pros
Avira Prime Cons
11. Vipre Advanced Security
Vipre Advanced Security offers some great features. They have all of the things you would expect in an antivirus and network security suite but offer it at a lower price than a lot of their competitors.
This may be because the performance is a little unreliable at times, but overall it’s a safe bet.
Their user interface is a bit chunky, but it is still relatively straightforward. You can do immediate or scheduled scans from the main page.
It also offers updates on your threats, the option to turn on firewall protection, and when the last scan you performed was as well as when your next scheduled scan is. You can manage your account and settings, too.
Vipre Advanced Security Pros
Vipre Advanced Security Cons
Buying Guide for Network Security Software
Let’s take a look at the features in comprehensive network security software suites. This will help you learn the things to look for when you are comparing different packages. You can weigh in the features you need and skip the features you don’t.
Fighting Malware, Adware, Spyware, and Packet Sniffers
When you are looking for protection, you need a very comprehensive malware protection. This is the basis of any great security suite. If your security doesn’t have antivirus protection, then you don’t have any security. You need to make sure you have effective antivirus protection that has scored highly in independent lab testing.
If you deal with sensitive customer data be sure to choose an option that will detect and prevent network sniffers (also known as packet sniffers).
Firewalls are another necessary protection. Usually, these will monitor all the traffic on your network and block inappropriate things from accessing your network. It also needs to watch all of the applications you’ve got running and prevent them from misusing the connection.
A built-in firewall can monitor your traffic but won’t monitor your programs. You need a security suite that won’t skip the firewall component. Modern firewalls do a great job of determining permissions for programs they're aware of. This prevents it from asking you every single time something wants to join your network. They can also closely monitor programs that are new or unknown and cut them off at any sign of suspicious behavior.
Phishing and Privacy Protection
If a bad website tricks you into handing over all your most sensitive data, then no amount of antivirus protection can save you. Phishing sites try to look like legitimate banking sites or auctions so they can steam your information. As soon as you give it to them, everything is compromised… especially if you use the same username and password across multiple suites. Make sure your security suite has scored high at preventing phishing sites from accessing your computer.
Don’t Forget Parental Control!
Parental controls are great to have, too. It may be okay if your security suite doesn’t have detailed parental controls because a lot of kids are responsible enough to recognize and avoid problems, but if you do have parental control you need it to work.
A good parental control needs to block out anything inappropriate and lockdown children from accessing things if you need to prevent them from spending too much time online. You can also monitor messages, limit gaming, and track their social networks to prevent cyberbullying.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Protects Your Communications
A lot of security suites will ask you to pay for additional VPN bandwidth, but some include it. Local security can protect your information, but it won’t protect your internet communications. The VPN will make sure that your internet traffic is hidden.
Mac, Android, and iOS Security
A lot of people have switched to using Apple devices. Security for these has been behind and less comprehensive. By default, of being less popular, and coded differently, they have traditionally been considered less high-risk.
Now that they have become as popular as Windows for personal use, and possibly more so, it is important that you look into a system that can offer great security to these alternative operating systems since a lot of the traditional, big-name companies were designed with Windows in mind.