How to Choose a Cybersecurity Suite

How to Choose a Cybersecurity Suite
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How to Choose a Cybersecurity Suite

If you only accomplish one goal for your personal and professional peace of mind this year, make it implementing cybersecurity protection on all of your devices. While you could piece together different software and online apps, utilizing a security suite can make the process easier. To get started, check out these recommendations from PCMag.com.

Cybersecurity suites offer all-around protection
If you are ready to go beyond a simple antivirus program, a security suite that integrates antivirus protection, a firewall, a spam filter, ransomware blocking, and other features is ideal.

There are many security companies that offer suites with a full complement of cybersecurity protection. PCMag.com has tested their recommended apps extensively, but you’ll also want to do your own research based on the unique needs of your business and your personal device usage.

Basic vs. advanced security suites
In general, there are three levels of security products: 1) a standalone antivirus utility, 2) an entry-level security suite, and  3) an advanced suite with additional features.

Most entry-level suites include antivirus software, a firewall, anti-spam utilities, parental control, and additional privacy protection such as phishing site protection. The advanced suites typically have all of the above plus a backup component and some form of system tune-up utility. They may also have password managers and other security extras.

The suites that are mentioned below are great for personal protection, and you can definitely use them in a small business. Keep in mind, however, that as your company grows, you may need to switch to a software as a service (SaaS) system, which allows an administrator to monitor and manage security for a network of computers.

Antivirus protection: A system such as Windows Defender Security Center (which is built into Windows 10) offers antivirus protection as well as managing the software’s firewall and other security features. A platform-based antivirus system like this is usually adequate for personal use when paired with other apps for a full complement of protection. For most businesses, however, it can’t replace a full-scale security suite, so be sure to add additional protection as outlined below.

Firewall choices: Typical personal firewalls offer two-prong protection: 1) they monitor all network traffic to prevent inappropriate access from outside the network and 2) they keep tabs on running applications to make sure they don’t abuse your network connection. The built-in Windows Firewall handles monitoring traffic but doesn’t include program control. A few security suites skip the firewall component, figuring that Windows Firewall already does the most essential firewall tasks, so be sure to check out the features of any firewalls you install.

Spam squelchers: Spam messages in your inbox are annoying. Most email providers understand this and offer some sort of filter to reduce the number of spam messages that make it into your regular email. If yours doesn’t, consider using a cybersecurity suite that does, as well as one that integrates with your email program.

Phishing and privacy protection: Even the best antivirus protection can’t shield you from fraudulent websites trying to trick you into giving away your security credentials. Phishing sites often disguise themselves as a bank, auction sites or online game websites. When you enter your username and password, though, your account is instantly compromised. Some cybersecurity suites offer additional alarm-based protection for user-defined sensitive data, credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial information. There are also suites that contract with third-party companies to offer credit protection.

Suites streamline security: Aside from the obvious benefit of more robust protection, another reason to use a cybersecurity suite is that it will provide a more streamlined approach to security. An integrated suite generally uses fewer processes and less of your system’s resources to do its job. (Aside from the obvious benefit of more robust protection, another reason to use a cybersecurity suite is that it will provide a more streamlined approach to security).

Backup utilities: Having a backup of all your files is the ultimate security protection. This means that even if ransomware destroys your data, you can still restore it from backup. Some cybersecurity suites include it in their entry-level product, but many times it is considered an advanced (and more expensive) offering. Be sure to look at the product you are purchasing so you know if it includes online file storage and/or the ability to make local backups. (It is important to ensure that if you use both Windows and macOS that you protect them both).

Mac and iOS Security: While we have focused predominantly on the Windows operating system, we can’t ignore Mac users when it comes to cybersecurity. In fact, there are many cross-platform multi-device suites that offer one source of protection for all your devices. That said, you typically don’t get as many features on macOS. This is because many companies just offer a Mac antivirus system rather than a full suite. It is important to ensure that if you use both Windows and macOS that you protect them both.

As for iPhones and other iOS devices, Apple’s built-in security features can make it challenging for both malware coders and antivirus programmers. Many cross-platform suites simply skip iOS protection or only offer a bare-bones experience. Given the platform’s intrinsic security, it rarely makes sense to expend one of your program licenses installing protection on an iPhone.

Start your cybersecurity protection planning now
Regardless of whether you need personal or business protection or which operating system you use, take the time now to put a plan together to protect all of your devices from cyber threats. The sooner you do, the less risk there is of falling victim to cybercrime.

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Karla Dennis, Tax Expert & Business Strategist

As seen in Forbes Magazine, Karla Dennis is an expert tax and business strategist. As an enrolled agent, Karla is licensed to represent taxpayers in all 50 states. She holds a Masters in Taxation and Business Development and is the author of two books, Tax Storm and Against the Odds.

Karla, the founder of consultancy firm Karla Dennis & Associates™, has saved her clients' thousands of dollars and has been featured in various media outlets such as Forbes, MSNBC, KTLA, Yahoo! Finance, and SmartMoney, marking her as the ultimate tax expert.

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