There has been a little debate in the Windows community as to whether or not including anti-virus in Windows 8 (in the form of the new Defender), is a good or bad idea. On the very surface it sounds like a no-brainer, Windows has some virus problems and so offering Anti-Virus built-in means that from the moment you install Windows you are protected.
So what’s to argue about? Many feel that Defender might hurt the sales of other anti-virus solutions, while others feel that Defender only covers the ‘bare minimum’ when it comes to protection and so less-technical users might feel they are ‘safe’ with the out-of-box protection when it may or may not be good enough.
Personally, I don’t use a paid solution, though I did use Norton for years and did like it for the most part. I have nothing against paid anti-virus but I’ve found Microsoft Security Essentials has done a good job of keeping me out of danger. That and I regularly check things and no the ‘signs’ to look for and detect when something might be wrong (like malware/adware/etc).
When playing around with Defender in the Developer Preview I found it was okay, but yes not even as good as Microsoft’s other free solution, Security Essentials. It was nowhere close to solutions like Norton.
Still, I think having ‘some’ coverage built-in is better than having a non-technical user that doesn’t put any protection at all on their machine. While most users today are fairly well educated about the need for virus protection, not everyone thinks about it right away or they use the ‘free trial’ that came with their new PC and when it expires they are left without protection.
So will it hurt Anti-Virus companies? Apparently Symantec doesn’t seem too worried. They have just recently rolled out three new additions of its security software, including the “Windows 8 beta-enabled” Norton 360 version 6.
Interestingly enough the new 360 Everywhere addition combines Premier on the Windows Side, NIS for Macs, and Norton Mobile Security for Android (1.x – 4.x), allowing five licenses that can be used on any combination of the above operating systems.
Anti-Virus companies like Symantec understand that even if many ‘casual’ users go with the built-in option on Windows 8, they will always have a market with enterprise, business, and even power users that just want more comprehensive coverage. Not only this but the need for protection on mobile platforms is a huge growth opportunity that leaves the anti-virus with even MORE opportunity than it had a decade earlier, not less.
For those that need comprehensive coverage on a variety of platforms, 360 Everywhere certainly sounds like a good idea. Considering I have an Android phone, a Mac, and several PCs… I might actually consider switching back to Norton, myself.
What do you think of Norton’s newest version of its anti-virus software? Do you feel that the big anti-virus companies have anything to worry about at all? Or does the growth of mobile protection needs pretty much leave them with tons of new opportunities for security solutions?