Things have come a long way since the days of the early antivirus software. Just developing an antivirus these days isn’t considered good enough, so internet security suites were born which cover everything from viruses to spam to malware

New release, same old packaging

New release, same old packaging

Norton 360 was born out of a need for a simplistic security solution for the layman. The latest revision of the popular suite Norton 360, 5.0 was launched earlier this month.

User Interface
The Norton 360 5.0 installation is simpler than most other antivirus and security suites. On first impressions, the new Norton 360 5.0 doesn’t look a lot different than the previous versions except for the Verisign logo on the left bottom of the UI.

The familiar interface of the Norton 360 suite

The familiar interface of the Norton 360 suite

The broad features of the suite are displayed at the top half of the window while the detailed features and task lists are only visible when you move the mouse point over features such as PC Security, Identity Protection, Backup and PC Tuneup.

Details settings are still available for advanced users

Details settings are still available for advanced users

The lower half of the interface displays statistics and information such as the number of threats around the world.  Overall, the interface isn’t intimidating and it keeps complicated terminology out of the picture pretty well.

Features
The core scanning features of the Norton 360 suite haven’t changed a lot. The usual scanning options are all there, but there’s also a Facebook Wall scan and Reputation Scan for files which have been implemented. We’re not sure how important the Facebook feature may be to users.

The Facebook Wall scan makes an appearance

The Facebook Wall scan makes an appearance

The Silent Mode is one of the features which can be temporarily turned on to block all alerts and notifications from appearing on screen. The PC Tuneup feature allows for disk optimization and also turning off or delaying startup of processes.

One of the neat features that Norton 360 carries is the automated Backup feature, which allows users to schedule backups to other drives and a free online storage space provided by Symantec. The package comes with 2GB of space which should be sufficient for some photos and documents. Symantec does have an option to up that number up to 50 GB, but you’ll have to shell out more for it.  There’s also a bandwidth throttling feature which should be handy as upload speeds aren’t too great and you’ll easily choke your connection if you try and upload large backups. Backups to optical drives are possible too, but scheduling isn’t possible.

The installation disc also doubles as a recovery tool which can be booted into. There isn’t a lot of functionality there but it can be handy for times when your OS is completely down. There’s also a command prompt option if you wish to manually copy or move data around.

Performance
Norton 360 5.0 takes up around 70 MB of memory and the CPU utilisation doesn’t cross 0 per cent, on idle with no scans or backups running. This means that the users don’t feel the dreaded slowdown that has plagued most security suites had, including Symantec’s own products.

Performance history for all your PC

Performance history for all your PC

Once some activity such as scanning the drive is started, the CPU utilisation spikes up to between 10 and 25 per cent. Memory consumption on the other hand drops to around 50 MB. PC bootup times aren’t affected either. Symantec has ensured that these tasks are automatically scheduled to times when the PC is not in use.

Verdict
While some of the features in Norton 360 may not be as vital and the visual presentation of security threats may not be necessary, it’s still a very matured security suite that offers a good level of security features to its users. Priced at a MRP price of Rs. 3,085 for the 3-user, single year license, it’s a little expensive but the unique features such as the PC tuneup and the online backup make it a product worth considering.

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