Is Your Security Software Everything It Should Be?

Security software isn’t just antivirus anymore, and it’s not just for your computer. Today’s security solutions encompass the ever-changing ways in which we use technology. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the importance of upgrading.

One subscription to rule them all
Companies like Symantec, McAfee, BitDefender and Kaspersky are recognizing consumers’ need to protect their mobile devices by offering subscription-based options. This is the future of security for consumers, in which one subscription covers everything including computers, smart phones and tablets. It’s especially convenient for busy people on the go and families with multiple devices.

Social media support
Integrated support for social media like Facebook and Twitter has become standard. Even so, we still live in a world in which removal tools aren’t crafted until after viruses are already in the wild. To fight that, we’re seeing better detection capabilities and heuristics.

Consumers should replace old versions
Unfortunately, security vendors have made it so easy for consumers to continue the subscriptions for their old programs that people aren’t encouraged to upgrade to the latest versions. The idea was to make sure people didn’t let their antivirus expire, and at the time that made sense. In retrospect I’m wondering if we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

The difference between renewal and replacement
If you renew your security software you keep the version you have for another year. When you upgrade or replace, you purchase the latest version of the software for a year. Usually the upgrade is slightly more expensive, which is why many people opt for renewal instead. And it’s not always clear why the fifty-dollar antivirus is cheaper than the eighty-dollar antivirus.

It’s confusing because most people look at their subscription date rather than the version date of the program. They see their subscription ends in 2013… but the program itself is dated 2009, and that means it’s not current.

Security vendors need to improve purchase process
I understand why vendors offer the option of renewal. The thought is that basic antivirus is better than nothing, and there’s something to be said for that. But I see a majority of people going for renewal because the purchase process is vague and because renewal is cheaper.

I take security vendors to task for not altering their sales strategy. They need to explain WHY upgrading is so much better than renewal. Maybe we need to discontinue renewal entirely.

If nothing else, make the purchase process crystal-clear. People deserve to know what they’re buying, and I think they will pay the additional cost for an upgrade if they realize the cheapest option is also the least effective.

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