Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I remember way back when Norton products were actually a good thing for your PC. Okay, I suppose that’s a little too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that Symantec has gotten awful fat over the last couple of decades. By fat I mean that their flagship products (Antivirus & Internet Security) have become more of a resource drain than they are of assistance to a small business or home user.

In the corporate world these products still dominate, and don’t seem to be as useless as I feel they’ve become for the small office or home network. As a matter of fact, Symantec claims to have 99% of the Fortune 1000 companies as customers. Pretty impressive, huh? Remind you of anyone??? You see where I’m going here.

The problem is that when they began their quest after enterprise market share they left the car seat on the curb, and completely forgot the little guy. And now they’re getting into so many different areas that even their enterprise versions of these products are beginning to suffer. There’s a reason they’re not winning awards like they used to for these products; they’re not developing them like they used to. In the meantime, several other products have hit the marketplace. Here are just a few notable mentions for the home or small office user:

  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - In this case, “you get what you pay for” doesn’t apply. No subscriptions, great protection, and it doesn’t noticeably impact PC performance.
  • ProcessGuard - Another freeware program, but it’s far from your traditional Anti-Virus or Internet Security program. ProcessGuard seeks to prevent maliciousus activity on your PC at the kernel level, rather than merely identify if you’ve been infected and try to deal with it from there. A good addition to your security measures without cost, whether monetary or performance.
  • ZoneAlarm® - A free, traditional firewall from Zone Labs that does a great job.
  • Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security - This one’s not free, although they do provide a free scan utility called HouseCall that comes in handy when you’re trying get to the root of a suspected virus problem. I’m a big fan of the PC-cillin suite, as they’ve been very innovative in the home/small office network space. Unfortunately though, they’re becoming a bit too much like Norton, in that they’re beginning to hog way too many resources.

While I don’t expect Norton’s shortcomings to lead to the downfall of Symantec by any means, as they still have some good products, without a major overhaul of their AntiVirus & Internet Security products they certainly won’t get my vote for “Raccoon of the Year” anytime in the forseeable future.