Outstanding usability and excellently balanced feature set make ESET Smart Security an unmistaken choice.
Being light on system resources and offering a commendably high degree of Internet protection are prime ‘business cards’ of ESET Smart Security. The company behind this particular product, as well as quite a few other security oriented solutions, is truly an old stager in the industry, its origin dating back to the late 1980s when the first known computer viruses came to be. ESET has since succeeded in becoming one of the world’s most commercially successful IT security projects, with over 500 employees and millions of satisfied customers all over the globe. Covering the niches of antivirus, antispyware, mobile security and Internet security both for home and business, the vendor delivers all-inclusive protection, dedicated support for a vast customer base, and sets remarkable usability benchmarks.
Some of the things most commonly associated with ESET Smart Security 8 are great user experience, well-balanced feature set and an extensive list of threats it is able to take care of. More specifically, the benefits include proactive protection based on ESET’s innovative ThreatSense technology, outstanding performance, minimum annoyance, emphasis on timely updates, Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), parental control, antispam, game mode, external device scanning, Social Media Scanner, Anti-Theft feature, Vulnerability Shield, enhanced Exploit Blocker, and the new Botnet Protection functionality.
Since the overall impression is derived from details, our intent here is to single out specific facts about this application and test it by several pre-defined criteria so as to measure its functionality and reliability, and put it all on a tangible scale.
Availability of a 30-day free trial along with the commercial distributive calls forth the first choice you are to make here. Notwithstanding the pretty large functional load on the program, it turned out a trifle to use. Installation went smooth and quite fast, but for one minor thing that kind of added an additional click to the procedure, i.e. a screen asking whether you are willing to have the PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) protection activated. We’d rather this feature was included into the security suite by default without the user being asked during setup. And still, this wasn’t really an issue, so the app installed within a little over a minute, which is perfectly okay.
User interface might appear simplistic, but that’s definitely a positive trait. We believe the absence of upper menu to be on the plus side as all the main items are fitting perfectly into the left-hand navigation pane – so why occupy excessive GUI space? We liked the color scheme, too. Shades of blue are dominating here; we guess this contributes to the peace of mind the vendor tried to ‘hard-code’ into the app.
ESET Smart Security’s interface turned out to be sufficiently informative, displaying your current protection level split by a number of targeted areas. The ‘Computer scan’ tab provides additional options such as showing scan with a log in a new window and enabling shutdown after scan. Using the ‘Setup’ menu, you can enable / disable specific protection modules within four sections: Computer (Real-time file system protection, HIPS, Anti-Theft, Gamer mode, Anti-Stealth protection), Network (Personal Firewall and Network attack protection, Botnet protection), Web and email (Web access protection, Email client protection, Antispam protection, Anti-Phishing protection), and Parental control. Clicking ‘Tools’ enables defining your security preferences, temporarily disabling protection, managing the quarantine, activating ESET Social Media Scanner, creating rescue CD (ESET SysRescue), submitting a file for analysis, etc. It’s handy that hovering your mouse over GUI items displays brief infotips on what a particular feature does.
The product’s performance parameters ensure you don’t have to wait long for the principal tasks to be completed. CPU usage goes up once in a while during regular updates, but this in no way affects the productivity of the system. On the whole, ESET Smart Security 8 is a really resource-friendly utility that doesn’t put much of a burden on a PC, which shows it to advantage as compared to most of the competing programs.
What makes a good Internet security suite is a feature set that facilitates controls and contributes to protection on an appropriate level. Let’s see if that’s the case with ESET Smart Security 8. Below is a brief overview of each key feature integrated into this application:
Results obtained by a number of authoritative evaluation resources that tested ESET Smart Security state it ranks to be in the top of the ratings across the board. For instance, AV-TEST’s latest score by Protection criterion is 5.5 out of 6.0, being a decent result exceeding the industry average. In our test the product did a fairly good job, detecting and removing most of the malicious components from the infested lab machine – none of the critical threats that could inflict serious damage to the system were missed. Furthermore, as per the latest malware removal test by AV-Comparatives, ESET got an Advanced rating. Moreover, the really low false positives rate and good across-the-board user feedback are by no means to be neglected. From where we sit, we are inclined to affirm that ESET Smart Security 8 is a program that will keep you generally safe and allow for no irrecoverable system damage.
ESET’s support is split into two groups: home and business, each one containing an extensive number of options to get help when you need it. Home support (the one applicable to ESET Smart Security) is composed of Frequently Asked Questions, documentation, knowledgebase videos, user forum, online form for submitting your case (not to be confused with live support). In regards to direct support, the telephone contacts are kind of hard to find on their website. The ‘Contact’ page does contain the customer service number, but shouldn’t it be indicated right there on ‘Support’ page as well? You can additionally follow customer support in Twitter where they add links to new articles and videos related to a variety of issues. But the really unique thing about this product is the ‘Cybersecurity Training’ interactive module which appears to be a comprehensive and thorough tutorial on how to protect your PC and online identity – this is probably one of the best instances of customer security orientation that we have seen.