Personal devices and the information they carry are incredibly valuable to their owners. It is only natural to want to protect your device like a royal family fortifying a medieval castle. Unlike medieval castles that depended upon layers and layers of protection (moats, drawbridges, spiky gates, etc.), personal devices thrive on just one defense: a devoted guard called antivirus software.
Increasing your personal device’s security detail with more than one guard, or antivirus software is actually less effective than using a single, comprehensive option. Microsoft operating systems recognize the detriment of running two antivirus software programs simultaneously for real-time protection. Microsoft Windows automatically unregisters additional programs so they do not compete against each other. In theory, if you have a Microsoft device, you could run on-demand or scheduled scans from two different antivirus products without the operating system disabling one of them. But why invest in multiple software where one will do?
If you do not have a Microsoft device, here is what could happen to your device if you run more than one antivirus program at a time, and why you should consider investing in only one top-notch product.
Fight Over Potential Viruses
Antivirus programs want to impress you. Each wants to be the one to catch a virus and present you with the culprit, like a cat with a mouse. When antivirus software captures a virus, it locks it in a secure place to neutralize it. If you have two programs running simultaneously, they could engage in a tussle over who gets to scan, report, and remove the virus. This added activity could cause your computer to crash or use up your device’s memory.
Report Each Other as Suspicious
Antivirus software quietly monitors and collects information about how your system runs, which is similar to how viruses operate. One software could mark the other as suspicious because real-time protection software is lurking in the background. So, while one antivirus program is busy blowing the whistle on the other, malicious code could quietly slip by.
Additionally, users could be buried under a barrage of red flag notifications about each software reporting the other as suspicious. Some users become so distracted by the onslaught of notifications that they deactivate both programs, or ignore notifications altogether, leaving the device vulnerable to real threats.
Drain Your Battery and Slow Down Your Device
Running one antivirus software does not drain your battery, and it can actually make your device faster. However, two antivirus programs will not double your operating speed. In fact, it will make it run much slower and drain your battery in the process. With two programs running real-time protection constantly in the background, device performance is extremely compromised.
Antivirus Software Best Practices
There is no reason to invest in two antivirus programs when one solid software will more than do the trick to protect your device. Here are some best practices to get the most out of your antivirus software:
1. Back up files regularly
One habit you should adopt is backing up your files regularly. You never know when malware could hit and corrupt your data. Add it to your weekly routine to sync with the cloud and back up your most important files to an external hard drive.
2. Keep your software up to date
Whenever your software prompts you to install an update, do it! New cyber threats are evolving every day, and the best way to protect against them is to allow your software to stay as up-to-date as possible.
3. Read the results reports
Always read your antivirus results reports. These reports let you know the suspicious suspects your software was busy rounding up. It will give you a good idea of the threats your devices face and perhaps the schemes that you unknowingly fell into, such as clicking on a link in a phishing email. This information can also help you improve your online safety habits.
Quality Over Quantity
In the end, make sure that the antivirus software you choose is as robust as possible. For example, McAfee Total Protection can secure up to 10 devices and even offers features beyond antivirus protection, including safe web browsing, PC optimization, and home network security.
To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, subscribe to our newsletter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.