We've been impressed with Norton 360 - security for those who want something simple but effective. We're also impressed with the changes in Norton Internet Security 2009.
The good news is that Norton 360 Version 3.0 brings together the lighter, faster protection of NIS while retaining the straightforward, no-nonsense style of 360, with its PC Tuneup and Backup services.
The custom installer takes just one minute, and once up and running, Norton 360 quietly goes about its business in the background without impeding performance. Web browsing, for example, isn't significantly slowed by the new Safe Web protection, even with many tabs open. Symantec has been doing considerable work with reputation-based scanning, and a new feature called Norton Insight is part of it: it checks files against a database of programs it knows to be ‘safe', increasing thge speed of scans.
Symantec expects that advanced users will use NIS instead of 360, but it told us that many users of 360 have requested additional control. This version provides more information than ever, and more features if you want them. You can use a slider bar for set-and-forget style protection, or dig deep into the settings to check malware detection logs, system resource usage, and other details.
The antivirus engine in Norton 360 is the same as in Norton Internet Security, so the protection rates should be identical to those in our most recent test (web ID: 137830). Norton has beefed up the anti-malware protection since our last test, and we'd expect its score to improve, but we didn't get a chance to test it for this review.
Safe Web also improves the web protection elements of NIS. Safe Web marks up search results with red, yellow or green ticks as it checks them for phishing, for malicious code or malware and for safe shopping, all in real-time.
Backup now uses tabs to configure the backup set. As always you can prepare multiple backup sets, and store them with the 2GB online storage, local or network drives, CD, DVD, or even a USB key. If you opt for one of the latter, you'll also get Norton Portable Restore added to the key or disc, letting you restore files onto a system with no 360 - invaluable during a disaster. The diagnostic reports are streamlined, and the only real failure, here, is the disappointing antispam module. Norton 360 Version 3 is a solid choice for a full protective suite without the drama.
You can get a 30-day trial version of Norton 360 v3 at the Symantec site.