Analysing The Performance Impact of Internet Security Suites
One common complaint you would hear from users about internet security suites is that they negatively impact system performance. And this is true. In the past I have had bad experiences with security suites like F-Secure. Unfortunately the performance impact is one aspect which is often ignored during reviews. Earlier this year PC Mag picked up some of the popular Internet Security suites and analysed their performance. The results were telling to say the least. Some suites managed to more than double the boot time. Let’s have a look at their result of performance impact evaluations.
Boot Time: The average boot time of the PC prior to installing any security suite was about 60s. Norton Internet Security 2009 and Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 were the best of the lot and added only 15s to the boot time. F-Secure Internet Security 2009 and McAfee Total Protection 2009 nearly doubled the boot time where was BitDefender Total Security 2009 and Webroot Internet Security Essentials (WISE) more than doubled it.
File Copy: The real-time scanner can impact basic tasks like file operations. In order to check this out a series of move and copy were performed. Kaspersky Internet Security Suite 2009 was the best and added only 2% to the time required for performing the file operations. Trend Micro Internet Security Pro added 6%. Norton and Panda Global Protection 2009 ended up in between these two. The worse performer by far was Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite 2009 which added about 50% time.
Software Installation and Uninstallation: Panda was the lightest and added 6% time to the average installation and uninstallation time. Once again the heaviest were Zone Alarm and WISE (63% and 71% respectively).
Browsing Speed: Norton was the best and added only 13% time to the test. WISE added 25% time in spite of not having any sophisticated Web Antivirus. Kaspersky and Panda slowed browsing by 64% and 92%. McAfee Total Protection was the slowest of them all and more than doubled the time required for the surfing test.
You can view the synopsis of the PC Magazine comparison here and read the full report here. Norton Internet Security 2009, Norton 360 v3 and ESET Smart Security v4 (NOD32) were unsurprisingly the lightest internet security suites. Zone Alarm Extreme Security, Kaspersky Internet Security 2009, Panda Global Protection 2009 and Avira Premium Internet Security Suite 9 also performed fairly well and had acceptable impact on the system. CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2009, Webroot Internet Security Essentials, Trustport PC Security 2009, McAfee Total Protection 2009, F-Secure Internet Security 2009, Comodo Internet Security, Zone Alarm Internet Security 2009 and BitDefender Internet Security 2009 were the biggest culprits. All of them had significant impacts on system performance. Performance Impact is just one aspect you have to consider while choosing an Internet Security Suite. You must consider other factors like Detection Rate, Firewall Efficiency and Cleaning Efficiency. Which Internet Security Suite (or antivirus) do you use? Are you happy with its performance?
[Image courtsey: Kaspersky]