Norton Security: The One Suite To Rule Them All?
Symantec is consolidating its nine different security products including Norton Internet Security, Norton Antivirus and Norton 360 into one new Norton Security product, but it seems there will still be three separate products.
The reports point to Symantec’s Norton beta site which does indeed allow immediately download of Norton Security, but two other products are listed: Norton Security with Backup and Norton Power Eraser.
That seems to mimic Symantec’s previous strategy of having Norton Internet Security as the main security suite, and offering Norton 360 with the same security engine, but adding a backup suite.
The big difference appears to be removing the naming division between Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 and putting it all under the same ‘Norton Security’ banner.
Symantec will also continue offering various smartphone and tablet apps, some of which will now fall under the Norton Security umbrella.
Gerry Egan, Symantec’s senior director of product management explained the change to ComputerWorld, saying: “What we realized was we actually ended up confusing a lot of customers”.
Mr Egan was also quoted by CNET saying: “We’re headed towards security as a service” and that “we will be offering [a] virus-free guarantee. If at the end of the day we run into something we can’t deal with, we’ll give you your money back.”
The new Norton Security will go on sale from September 23, with reports putting the cost at US $80 per year – a price that’s very similar to what it already charges for current security products.
The move to renew its image and product lines comes at an important time for Symantec, as its security suites battle an ever more sophisticated range of malware.
On a personal basis, I’ve been occasionally disappointed to find machines protected by Norton suites that say they’re up to date but haven’t stopped malware that I then need Malwarebytes or HitmanPro to eliminate.
Alternatively I’ve come across machines with Norton suites that say they’re up to date, but when doing a specific new version check from within the suite, which loads up a browser window at Symantec’s Norton update site, an entirely new version is there, ready and waiting for download.
To see Norton being outclassed by anti-malware apps like Malwarebytes or allowing its users to use older versions that should be updating completely automatically is a very bad look for the company, so this new “doubling down” on revamping its security image – and hopefully its actual effectiveness – is critical in a world of ever strengthening competition from the likes of Kaspersky Lab, BitDefender, AVG and many others.
On a slightly separate note, The Wall Street Journal reports that Symantec will dial down on the pre-installation of Norton software on new brand-name computers.
WSJ says PC buyers call this practice “junkware”, although I remember it being called “shovelware” and “nagware” due to the fact it keeps hassling you to pay up should you want protection for more than 30, 60 or 90 days, whichever the trial period was set for.
It turns out Symantec now thinks “the placement isn’t worth the cost”, with the company set to better promote its new line while also making a touch-friendly Windows 8 app for better visibility in the Windows App Store.
Norton Security is available for PC and Mac, Norton Security with Backup is for PC only, as is the Norton Power Eraser. Free beta versions are available here.