BullGuard Internet Security 2016 offers good value for home users [Review]
Recent reports have highlighted that it’s security at the endpoint which often leaves businesses exposed. This applies not just to machines in the office but also to mobile and BYOD devices, so some sort of security solution is essential.
BullGuard has released its latest Internet Security suite this month which is fully Windows 10 compatible and includes a number of things that make it an attractive option for business users. New features like Dropbox compatible backup and storage ensure that business data is properly protected.
The suite also has tune up options to help optimize system performance; this includes duplicate file detection and clean up to help free disk space, and a boot manager to control which applications are launched when Windows boots.
Of course the main thing you buy these suites for is virus protection and BullGuard has beefed up this area too. An enhanced behavioural detection engine offers more protection and an improved safe browsing module helps guard against malicious websites. Improved quarantine provides protection without user intervention, and specific exploit detection includes malicious URLs and executable image files. In addition there’s improved detection of malware at Windows start-up to combat rootkit attacks and help to protect against the rise of ransom ware.
An impressive collection of features then, but how does it all work in practice?
Installation from a download on a fibre connection took under five minutes including a brief initial scan. You need a reboot to activate the firewall which takes a little longer than normal -- actually it took a lot longer than normal on our test system and required a shutdown and another boot. It was fine after that though so we’ll put that down to a one-off glitch.
Once installed you’re presented with BullGuard’s neat tiled interface. You don’t get the option to choose modules as part of the install, you have to load the whole package, but afterwards you can control which ones you use. On the Settings menu each module has a simple on/off switch. You can set the protection level of the Antivirus module with a slider, for anything more complex you need to switch to Advanced mode.
BullGuard Internet Security is designed to offer a decent level of protection, but not to frighten the horses, so straight after installation everything is very simple and used friendly. Things like control of firewall rules is there if you need it, but you need to switch to Advanced mode in order to access them.
The Antivirus and Firewall modules work unobtrusively enough, you can also get it to scan for vulnerabilities which warns you about things like missing Windows updates and insecure network connections. We’d have preferred to see a bit more depth here, such as checking commonly installed programs like Flash for patches too. BullGuard generally performs well in independent virus detection tests.
The program’s impact on performance is negligible compared to an out-of-the box Windows 10 system running Windows Defender. By default the Tune Up module keeps browser caches and temp folders clean, you have the option to let it delete broken registry entries, clean up downloads and empty the Recycle Bin too. You also have the option to manage startup entries to improve boot times, programs can be disabled altogether or delayed so that you can get started more quickly.
The safe browsing option means search engine results are automatically scanned and safe links are shown with a green tick. You can hover your cursor over this to find out more about the site. However, this works with popular search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing as well as links on Facebook, but others like Lycos (yes, it is still going) and DuckDuckGo aren’t covered.
Spam filtering works with Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Thunderbird and you can manually configure safe and unsafe senders if you need to. It won’t trouble many business users but there is a parental control module which lets you control selected content based on age group profiles and set an access schedule.
You get 5GB of cloud storage as part of the package which you can use for backups with the built-in tool or for general storage. You have the option to share files from the cloud as you can with other storage services. Backup works constantly in the background for whatever folders you’ve selected, rather than run on a set schedule, so when something is changed it will automatically be saved. You can set a schedule if you prefer and you can also change where the backup is saved with the option to use an external or network drive, or your Dropbox storage.
The only things that are really missing are password management and identity protection, though the latter can be added with an upgrade. Although there are some minor niggles BullGuard works well overall. It won’t scare off inexperienced users, but more sophisticated options -- to allow you to tunnel through the firewall for a VPN for example -- are there if you know where to look.
At just under £50 to protect three PCs it’s also reasonably priced. Large companies will doubtless want to roll out their own solutions for BYOD, but for smaller enterprises looking for an endpoint solution to recommend or supply for their staff BullGuard Internet security is worth considering.
BullGuard Internet Security costs £49.95 to protect three PCs for a year. If you want to road test it before buying there’s a 60-day trial available on the BullGuard website.
- Minimal performance impact
- Easy to install
- Day-to-day options simple to use
- Limited vulnerability scanning
- No password management
- Safe browsing limited to popular sites
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