We live in the age of computers, a world on its own. Computers have dramatically taken the world over with their immense working range. From A to Z, almost everything we do today depends on a computer of some form, be it tablets, mobile phones or PC. To fulfill these needs, a massive amount of various software are present in the market. Software consist of mainly two types paid and free versions.
Generally, firms offer a basic version for free which has limited features compared to the paid version of the same software. Free versions are released to lure people to their paid versions once they are impressed by the free versions.
While free versions may be enough for some people, it surely is not recommended to be used on a permanent basis as it massively misses out on some important features. In fact, most companies display provocative messages every time the software launches, for e.g. “You are using basic version, please buy the full version to enjoy full features.” It clearly shows that even the company themselves do not advise people to use free versions for the long term.
Importance of Cyber Security:
As computers get involved in daily activities, they tend to hold more and more confidential data as well, for e.g. credit card numbers, bank details, or at higher levels, government data and confidential documents as well. They are used to store such information, as it is extremely easy to insert, access, edit and delete data from a computer rather than from a written document. It is more secure as well since password protections and various other prevent hackers from getting into databases easily (mostly).
If documents were stolen or been put into wrong hands, they can very easily be misused. Therefore, computers serve the purpose very effectively both in management and security of the data. Never the less, we must realize the sensitivity of the data being held in computers and how strongly it must be protected from being accessed by unauthorized parties. This is where effective protection of computers against any unwanted access becomes so important.
Unwanted access to a computer can be of several types, such as viruses, malware, or in some extreme cases, ransomware (the latest addition to hacking). Virus in computer terms is a piece of code that can copy itself and mostly has a dangerous effect on the computer, such as corrupting files or hiding all contents in a folder.
Malware is a software, which is specifically designed to cause disruption to the normal functioning of a system by corrupting data. Ransomware is an extremely dangerous software, which locks down the computer completely, hides all your files down and asks for a code to unlock which can only be provided by the hackers who have pushed this virus onto your computer.
This is called ransomware since they mostly ask for ransom money to tell the code and set your computer free.This kind of virus is extremely deadly for big firms who hold data for millions of individuals. All these viruses and malware mostly enter the computer from the internet or from an infected storage drive.
Free malware removal will be accompanied by consequences for your PC.
What is an Antivirus?
Since these viruses and malware are so deadly, guarding computers against them is immensely important. Best Antivirus is a software that is designed to prevent viruses and malware from entering your computer. As with every other software, antiviruses have a range of options available as well, such as quick scan, full scan, custom scan, web guard, parental controls, anti-theft and tons of other features as well. All scans serve the purpose of scanning your computer for any virus-infected file and to clean it or remove it completely. Web guard serves to protect you from entering malicious websites that are known to contain viruses or have been reported. Parental control is used to prevent your children from visiting sites that you do not wish them to see, for e.g. sites that require parental guidance.
Anti-theft is very useful in situations where you have lost or your laptop has been stolen, in such scenarios, you can visit your account online on the antivirus website and lock down your laptop so it protects all your files inside by remotely locking the pc for you. Software that doesn’t have features other than virus protection are generally termed as antivirus, whereas software that offers virus protection and other features such as parental controls, anti-theft etc. are termed to be ‘PC Security Suite or Software’ or Best antivirus.
Best Antivirus: Paid vs Free
This security software does have free and paid versions as well. Both are designed to serve the need of different people. Free versions offer limited features and even in those, tend to miss key features, which a person needs to rely on any software.
Good customer support and real-time definitions update is a key part of any stable long-serving software, and sadly, free versions of the antiviruses mostly do not have frequent updates and often lack quality customer support if any.
With free versions, one massive advantage you have is that you can try multiple software if one does not fit your need, go onto uninstall one and try another one. You can play this game safely with absolutely no money involved, so you have freedom of choice. On contrary, often-free versions tend to fool a person by trial versions when you install them, they pop up telling only 6 days of protection left. This is annoying since, upon download, it was not written in bold letters that you only have 6 days protection and will have to buy the full version after that.
Paid versions of the same software are only one-time installation and yearly renewals, they also have multiple added features to the free version, which greatly enhance usability such as 24/7 customer support, backup and restore tools in the case where your PC crashes and you run the risk of losing your data, and instant software updates. These updates ensure the smooth running of the software to eliminate any known bugs and errors and makes use of the latest technology to ensure working at full potential. With antiviruses, updates are crucial on daily basis as every day, hundreds of new viruses are introduced which are not removable using old virus definitions, therefore, any pc which uses an obsolete version of antivirus is vulnerable to new viruses.
To ensure that all viruses and malware are defended by the security system, it is necessary to work hard, study all present viruses daily, and instantly deliver methods to prevent the actions of viruses.
This is a task with heavy responsibility, requiring commitment and full devotion and is not possible to be done by an individual or two. Teams need to be gathered up to work together to ensure seamless protection; hence, they are needed to be paid a good amount as well for their hard work.
Anything that comes free is always welcomed with both hands. However, we need to keep in mind that a free software has no liability too on what it shows and what it does at the back end. It is a very easy source to steal personal data by providing free antivirus protection. Many incidents have been reported explaining very similar stories where free protection software was the actual root cause of data theft or viruses.
While any free software with unknown company name has a risk of being harmful, paid versions under famous company names come as a certification of security within themselves that you won’t be scammed or hacked with the purchase and use of such software. They charge you for all the services they provide as discussed above, moreover, these charges serve those hard-working individuals and ensure that they keep delivering quality protection to you with full commitment.
One very valid argument overpaid versions arise when we talk about the speed and load on the system from both kinds of products. While free versions are zero-cost options and have limited functionality, they perform their job significantly faster with lesser load on the processor since they do not have features augmented in their paid counterparts. People find it confusing as to why people with free versions enjoy faster speeds than those who pay for their service, but protection companies simply cannot give-up on full protection to increase speed for their highly valuable paid subscribers.
Why Not Free? The Final Say.
Having analyzed all the above content, we are more than capable of answering the question now as to ‘Why PC Security Software Can’t Be Free”. Quite simply, a task so complex as securing your entire computer from any kind of threat cannot be served without a cost. Probably, room for debate still exists as to the amount, which should be charged for this protection as many people find an $80 or $90 per year price tag to be too much of a trade-off for too little rewards over a free version. Therefore, profit margins can be reduced a bit to make this service light on the pocket but to ask it to be completely free is a highly impractical demand.
Polina works as marketing manager for a year now and loves searching for interesting topics for you:)