Are there any pitfalls to renewing Norton AntiVirus?

There are a few things to watch out for when renewing your annual Norton AntiVirus (NAV) subscription. Symantec changes the pricing on Norton AntiVirus renewals periodically. As of this writing, the renewal price of $40 is the same as the price to upgrade from NAV 2006 to NAV 2007, however, the price to renew NAV 2005 is only $30, with the upgrade being $10 more.

Overall ITS recommends upgrading every other year at a minimum. Newer anti-virus programs will look for different types of threats that may not have existed a year or two earlier.

One other thing to watch out for is the teasers to upgrade from Norton AntiVirus to Norton Internet Security (NIS). The latter is much more "intrusive," if you want to call it that, and provides many more features like a complex firewall. However, Symantec has removed other features such as parental controls and the anti-spam module, that were in previous versions of NIS. In ITS's experience, NIS 2005 was often problematic; NIS 2006 was better but still caused strange problems sometimes. In our view, users are often better off by getting an inexpensive hardware router to protect all the PCs on their network (whether at home or work), and using Norton AntiVirus instead of Norton Internet Security. Most business class broadband connections come with such a router.

For these reasons, as well as a less expensive renewal price, ITS typically recommends businesses with more than 5-10 PCs use Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition, which can be centrally managed and renewed in one step rather than separately on each PC with a credit card.

In all cases, keeping one's anti-virus software updated on a daily basis is one of the most important things one can do.

May 2007

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