Norton's 360 v4: still an attractive package

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This article appeared in the June, 2010 issue of CRN magazine.

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Norton's 360 v4: still an attractive package

Norton 360 v4 incorporates the security engines from the award-winning Norton Internet Security 2010. That gives it some serious security credentials, plus extensive identity protection tools and a sophisticated website advisor.

The backup module sees more modest changes. While the basic package still includes 2GB of online storage (shared between up to three PCs), there's now also a 25GB Premier Edition, which starts at $120 for a year's subscription. It's better value than adding storage to the standard edition: the 25GB bolt-on for that comes in at $20 a year.

As with the previous version, files can be uploaded to a defined schedule or when the PC is idle, and accessed from your PC or via a web interface. And with a forthcoming application for the iPhone and Android platforms, you'll be able to search and view your files on the move.

The PC tune-up tools are mostly pointless, but there's an interesting update to the Startup Manager. It now uses the Norton Insight database to show which of your startup items are common among Norton users and which are rare and might need disabling.

Norton 360's impact on system resources is fairly light. We found that installing the package added just two seconds to boot-time on our Core i7-920 Vista system, and 105MB to our RAM footprint - only 22MB more than Norton's dedicated security suite.

Our biggest concern is the interface. The main front-end, with its four divisions, looks accessible, but click into either of the security interfaces and the various reports and settings are overloaded with jargon.

The Backup Manager, in contrast, is too simple. Backup jobs are made easy, but protecting individual files means manually adding each one to the backup list, or messing around with filters.

Still, Norton 360 has always been aimed at the less technical user, who probably won't want to delve into those settings anyway - and for that market it ticks all the boxes.

The price is steep for a single PC installation, but if you have a few friends or family members who could use the protection, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

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Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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