Best Network Security Software Shortlist
Here are the top network security software tools I’ve used, with reviews including their unique strengths and weaknesses:
- ESET Internet Security - Best for individual users and home environments
- McAfee+ - Best comprehensive security services
- Acunetix - Best for tailored network security solutions
- Avira Prime - Best for privacy-focused individuals and organizations
- ManageEngine Log360 - Best for centralized log management
- Norton 360 Deluxe - Best for total device security
- SolarWinds - Best for cloud-based security monitoring and threat detection
- CrowdStrike - Best for AI-driven endpoint protection
- Commvault - Best for robust data protection and backup solutions
- Elastic - Best for advanced security analytics
- Webroot - Best for cloud-based threat detection
- Perimeter 81 - Best for secure network access
Cybersecurity threats are always evolving, so good network security software is essential to stop unauthorized access, malware, and data breaches. Below are my evaluations of the best network security tools available today, including each solution’s distinct features and functionalities to help you choose one that best protects your particular network environment.
What's Network Security Software?
Network security software is designed to strengthen your IT infrastructure and keep sensitive data safe. This is done with tools like antivirus software, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), encryption, and security protocols. Network security software can protect from external threats like phishing and malware, as well as threats occurring within a network, such as unauthorized resource access.
By implementing network security software, service providers, institutions, and organizations can mitigate cyber risks and achieve real-time threat detection to maintain network infrastructure’s reliability.
Overview of the 10 Best Network Security Software
I'll explain each tool's features, integrations, and pricing below, so you can choose the solution that matches your network security needs.
1. ESET Internet Security - Best for individual users and home environments
ESET Internet Security provides comprehensive solutions with features like advanced threat detection, firewall, anti-phishing, and secure browsing. Its lightweight and efficient design makes it a reliable choice for protecting against cyber threats.
Why I picked ESET Internet Security: I consider this tool the best for individual users and home environments because it offers comprehensive protection, including firewall, email scanning, and web browsing for up to 10 of your devices. ESET also has a long-standing reputation in the cybersecurity industry, known for its consistent and reliable security solutions across multiple platforms and devices.
ESET Internet Security Standout Features and Integrations:
Features I appreciated most in ESET Internet Security include a Device Control System that lets you choose the devices that can connect to your PC. I also liked how the Network Inspector let me track my network by receiving notifications when new unregistered devices connect. ESET also offers advanced threat detection, firewall protection, ransomware shield, anti-phishing, anti-spam, and secure payment protection to provide a safe browsing environment for online shopping and banking.
Integrations include Splunk, ServiceNow, Cisco Umbrella, IBM QRadar, McAfee ePO, and SolarWinds MSP RMM. It also integrates natively with other ESET technologies, including Secure VPN, Anti-Theft, SysInspector, Secure Authentication, and Cloud Administrator.
Pricing: from $4.17/user/month
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Offers anti-theft features for stolen devices
- Excellent mobile security app for Android
- Minimal impact on system performance
- No iOS support
- Multi-device protection is expensive
2. McAfee+ - Best comprehensive security services
McAfee+ offers a robust suite of security tools, including antivirus, firewall, identity theft protection, and secure VPN. Its AI-powered threat intelligence, with real-time scanning and automatic updates, provides proactive protection against malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats.
Why I picked McAfee+: As someone who values comprehensive security, McAfee+ has been my go-to solution for protecting my personal and business data. Its antivirus, firewall, and identity theft protection feature have a repetition for effectiveness, giving me peace of mind that my digital assets are properly safeguarded.
McAfee+ Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include real-time scanning and threat intelligence features to detect and remove malware, as well as a firewall to prevent unauthorized network access. The identity theft protection component safeguards personal information, including credit card details and Social Security numbers, providing an extra layer of security.
Integrations include native integrations with McAfee MVISION Cloud and McAfee ePO and pre-built integrations with third-party tools like North Star, Trellix, D3 Security, Aruba Networks, and tray.io.
Pricing: starts at $15/user/month
Trial: 30-day free trial
- User-friendly interface
- Provides multi-device protection across different platforms
- Strong customer support
- High system resource usage
- The initial installation process can be lengthy and resource-intensive
3. Acunetix - Best for tailored network security solutions
Acunetix is a network security software solution that protects against advanced persistent threats (APTs). It employs machine learning algorithms and behavior-based analysis to detect and respond to sophisticated cyber-attacks.
Why I picked Acunetix: Acunetix truly impressed me with its vulnerability scanner and its tailored network security solutions. Working closely with their team, they understood my business requirements and provided me with a customized security package. From firewall management to advanced threat intelligence, their expertise and attention to detail helped me strengthen my network security and stay one step ahead of potential threats.
Acunetix Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include a customizable approach to meet specific business requirements, which consists of incidence response, remediation, and security information and event management (SIEM). This allows me to design a comprehensive security infrastructure that aligns precisely with my unique needs and provides robust protection against cyber threats.
Integrations include built-in integrations with third-party tools like Azure DevOps (Microsoft TFS), JIRA, GitHub, and Citrix.
Pricing: pricing upon request
Trial: free plan available
- Real-time alerts and automated response
- Comprehensive network traffic analysis and visibility into potential vulnerabilities
- Customizable and scalable to fit the needs of different organizations
- May require specialized expertise for initial setup and configuration
- Pricing may be higher compared to some other network security solutions
4. Avira Prime - Best for privacy-focused individuals and organizations
Avira Prime is a comprehensive network security software package that includes antivirus and anti-malware protection, real-time scanning, web protection, password management, and system optimization tools.
Why I picked Avira Prime: I found Avira Prime to be ahead of the curve when it comes to privacy. The VPN feature gave me an added layer of security and anonymity for browsing, while the password manager streamlined my login credentials across platforms. I also appreciated the combination of antivirus and system optimization utilities.
Avira Prime Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features that I noticed most include Avira’s anti-malware protection and Virtual Private Network (VPN), which routes your internet traffic through a private network to provide anonymous browsing, protecting user privacy. It also offers multi-platform compatibility for extensive coverage, as well as device cleanup utilities to enhance performance and privacy by removing unnecessary files and optimizing system settings.
Integrations include Avira Connect and pre-built integrations with ThreatSync, DNS Watch, Barracuda, and TeamViewer.
Pricing: from $7.99/user/month
Trial: free plan available
- Multi-platform compatibility across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices
- Strong customer support
- Robust antivirus and anti-malware protection with regular updates
- System performance impact can be noticeable during resource-intensive operations
- Limited customization options compared to some other security software
5. ManageEngine Log360 - Best for centralized log management
ManageEngine Log360 is a network security software solution that focuses on log management and security information and event management (SIEM). It collects and analyzes log data from network devices, servers, and applications to detect and respond to security incidents.
Why I picked ManageEngine Log360: I chose ManageEngine Log360 because of its centralized log management and real-time threat detection capabilities, which gave deep insights into my network activities and helped identify potential security breaches. The compliance reporting feature helped me audit and enforce regulatory compliance, saving significant time and effort in maintaining our security posture.
ManageEngine Log360 Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features that I liked most include log correlation and event correlation analysis, which collects and analyzes logs from network devices and applications. It interprets user behavior analytics for anomaly detection and automates incident response and remediation. Its advanced threat intelligence helps identify potential security breaches, and the compliance reporting feature is helpful for generating artifacts to meet compliance standards.
Integrations include built-in ones with SIEM solutions (e.g., Splunk, IBM QRadar, Integrations ArcSight) and other third-party tools like Sophos, Barracuda, Cisco, Webroot, Palo Alto, and AlienVault VTX.
Pricing: Pricing upon request
Trial: Free demo + 30-day free trial
- Offers real-time event correlation and alerting
- Integration with multiple log sources and SIEM solutions
- Customizable dashboards and reports
- Limited customization option
- Advanced features may require additional configuration or expertise to utilize fully
6. Norton 360 Deluxe - Best for total device security
Norton 360 Deluxe is a comprehensive network security software suite offered by Norton LifeLock that protects against malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and online threats.
Why I picked Norton Security: I picked Norton 360 Deluxe because it offers a full-featured suite of security tools, including antivirus protection, firewall, secure VPN, password manager, parental controls, and cloud backup. I found the password manager simplified my digital life by securely managing credentials across multiple devices. The cloud backup feature also impressed me with its ease of use, ensuring my files are always backed up and recoverable.
Norton 360 Deluxe Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include its antivirus component, which protects against malware, while the VPN encrypts internet traffic, ensuring secure browsing. The password manager securely stores my login credentials, and the cloud backup feature provides automated backup and recovery of essential files, protecting data from loss or damage.
Integrations include native integration with other Norton tools like Norton Lifelock and Norton Antivirus Plus. It also offers pre-built integrations with tools like KamuSEO, RapidSSL, and AIOSEO.
Pricing: from $4.17/user/month
Trial: 14-day free trial
- Robust malware and ransomware protection with a high detection rate
- Comprehensive suite of security features, including firewall, VPN, and password manager
- Provides secure online backup and cloud storage options
- System resource usage can be noticeable
- Subscription costs can be relatively higher compared to some other security solutions
7. SolarWinds - Best for cloud-based security monitoring and threat detection
SolarWinds is a cloud-based security monitoring and detection platform that combines log management, threat intelligence, and SIEM capabilities. Its real-time threat detection, automated response, and centralized dashboard provide organizations with enhanced visibility and rapid incident response to combat advanced cyber threats effectively.
Why I picked SolarWinds: The automated incident response feature is the main reason I chose SolarWinds as the best cloud-based solution for security monitoring. This feature has saved me countless hours by swiftly mitigating security incidents with little or no manual intervention, allowing me to focus on more strategic security tasks.
SolarWinds Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include a centralized and automated incident management system, which has streamlined my response processes. SolarWinds provides reports to help me see potential threats, system events, security incidents, and compliance adherence.
Integrations come pre-built with incident response tools like Splunk, LogRhythm, and IBM QRadar. SolarWinds integrates natively with other SolarWinds products, such as Network Performance Monitor (NPM) and Server & Application Monitor (SAM).
Pricing: starts at $39/user/month
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Robust log management
- Advanced reporting
- Scalability and flexibility
- Difficult to learn
- Complex licensing structure
8. CrowdStrike - Best for AI-driven endpoint protection
CrowdStrike's endpoint protection platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to stop sophisticated cyber threats. It delivers threat intelligence to understand the severity of a potential threat in context, as well as guidance for remediation and incident response.
Why I picked CrowdStrike: CrowdStrike stood out to me with its AI-driven approach, which I found uniquely suited for mitigating even the most sophisticated cyber threats. I also liked that enterprises can choose to take advantage of managed threat-hunting capabilities, to proactively track and protect systems from evolving threats.
CrowdStrike Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include AI-driven threat intelligence for real-time detection and protection against sophisticated cyber threats. These comprehensive capabilities offer deep visibility into endpoints, allowing for rapid detection, investigation, and response to security incidents.
Integrations include native integrations with popular SIEM platforms such as Splunk, IBM QRadar, and ArcSight. It can use external threat intelligence feeds, like VirusTotal and ThreatConnect, to improve its threat detection.
Pricing: starts at $25/5 devices/month, billed annually
Trial: 15-day free trial
- Advanced threat intelligence
- Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) capabilities.
- Cloud-native architecture
- Pricing can be relatively high
- Dependency on connectivity
9. Commvault - Best for robust data protection and backup solutions
Commvault is a network security software solution focusing on data protection, with features for backup and recovery, data deduplication, encryption, and disaster recovery. Commvault centralizes data management for multiple devices and platforms to ensure data security and availability.
Why I picked Commvault: The main reason I chose Commvault is the assurance it offers to restore critical data and minimize downtime in case of a system failure. I also found that the multi-cloud support and data deduplication features provided cost-effective and efficient data management, allowing organizations to focus on their core business operations.
Commvault Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features that caught my eye include comprehensive backup and recovery capabilities, which are especially good for data resilience in hybrid and multi-cloud environments–including coverage for virtual machines and containers. I also liked the disaster recovery, data archiving, and secure file-sharing features.
Integrations include pre-built integrations with Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Splunk, Webroot, and VMware.
Pricing: pricing upon request
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Comprehensive data protection and backup capabilities
- Cloud integration with significant providers
- Centralized management and monitoring of data across multiple locations
- Higher costs compared to some other data backup and recovery solutions
- Support response times may vary
10. Elastic - Best for advanced security analytics
Elastic offers a range of solutions for security analytics, log management, and SIEM, leveraging its Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (ELK) stack. The platform's ability to adapt to meet any organization's security needs makes it an ideal solution for detecting and responding to security incidents.
Why I picked Elastic: Elastic's security analytics and SIEM solutions have been instrumental in detecting and responding to security incidents in my organization. The scalability and flexibility of the platform have allowed me to handle large volumes of log data and perform real-time analysis, enabling proactive threat mitigation.
Elastic Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include advanced capabilities for security analytics, log management, and SIEM. It allows me to collect, analyze, and visualize security-related log data from multiple sources in a unified location. The platform's scalability provides efficient handling of large volumes of data, while its flexible architecture allows for customization and integration with existing security tools and workflows.
Integrations include native integration with Elastic Agent and pre-built connectors for third-party tools like Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, Oracle, Splunk, Webroot, and VMware.
Pricing: from $7.08/user/month
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Scalable and flexible platform
- Powerful search and visualization capabilities
- Large and active community
- Setting up and configuring the Elastic stack may require technical expertise
- Resource-intensive deployment, particularly for larger-scale implementations
11. Webroot - Best for cloud-based threat detection
Webroot is a lightweight security software that provides cloud-based antivirus and anti-malware protection. It offers real-time scanning, web protection, firewall monitoring, and threat intelligence, and its cloud-based approach guarantees efficient scanning while minimizing system resource usage.
Why I picked Webroot: the aspect of Webroot I love most is its lightweight cloud-based architecture, making it easy and speedy to use. I like that it offers behavior-based malware detection in the background and rollback capabilities for restoring infected files.
Webroot Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features include cloud-based endpoint protection that applies behavior-based malware detection and offers minimal system impact. Its intelligent scanning technology enables quick scans without compromising the thoroughness of the process. You can also select a plan with additional features such as DNS security, email protection, and password management.
Integrations include built-in integrations with best-in-class vendors in remote monitoring and management, like Datto, Atera, BreightGuage, and ConnectWise.
Pricing: from $39.99 / year
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Real-time updates and threat intelligence
- A wide variety of features and plans for both individual and business needs
- Integration with remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools for centralized administration
- Limited customization options
- The user interface could benefit from a more modern and intuitive design
12. Perimeter 81 - Best for secure network access
Perimeter 81 is a network security software focusing on secure remote access and cloud security. It provides a secure VPN, multi-factor authentication, and network segmentation to protect remote workers and cloud resources.
Why I picked Perimeter 81: I picked Perimeter 81 for its zero-trust network architecture and granular access controls, which provides me with secure connectivity for the distributed workforce. The user-centric design and seamless integration with existing infrastructure have simplified the remote access process, allowing employees to work from anywhere securely.
Perimeter 81 Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout Features that I thought were useful include secure network access and a user-centric design prioritizing ease of use and accessibility. It has a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) architecture, which drastically reduces the risk of unauthorized access and strengthens overall network security while allowing approved users to connect securely. Perimeter 81 also offers device management, traffic inspection, and secure web gateways.
Integrations include native integration with popular identity providers (e.g., Active Directory, Azure AD, Okta) and cloud providers (e.g., AWS, Azure)
Trial: 30-day free trial
- Provides secure access to on-premises and cloud resources from anywhere
- Centralized management and policy enforcement
- Offers granular access control and auditing capabilities
- Limited customization options for VPN protocols and settings
- Integration with some legacy systems may require additional configuration
Other Network Security Software Options
Still didn’t find the perfect network security tool for you? Here are a few more that didn’t make my top list but are worth checking out for other uses:
- Snort - Best for real-time network intrusion detection and prevention
- Avast One - Best for families with many devices
- NordVPN - Best VPN for personal use
- Cloudflare - Best for web app security and performance optimization
- pfSense - Best open-source solution for robust network security
- WatchGuard Network Security – Best for network visibility and unified threat management (UTM)
- Cisco – Best for network access control and identity management
- SonicWall Capture ATP – Best for advanced threat protection
- Palo Alto Network – Best for security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR)
Selection Criteria For Best Network Security Software
Here are the evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best network security software for this article:
I prioritized tools with a wide range of security measures to create a multi-layered defense. Aside from protecting your network from unauthorized access and external threats, the best security platforms should enable you to:
- Encrypt sensitive data transmitted throughout the network
- Conduct vulnerability assessments to identify and address security weaknesses
- Monitor network traffic and implement strong firewall protection to control it
- Manage user access and permissions within the network securely
To deliver this core functionality, the following features or elements are essential in an effective network security platform:
- Real-time monitoring and reporting: An effective network security platform should provide real-time monitoring capabilities, allowing for continuous monitoring of network traffic, system logs, and security events. It should offer comprehensive reporting functionality, providing insights into security incidents, anomalies, and compliance status.
- Vulnerability scanning: This feature includes vulnerability scanning capabilities to identify potential weaknesses in the network infrastructure. It enables proactive identification and remediation of vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of exploitation by malicious actors.
- Identity and access management: The software should support secure authentication methods, role-based access controls, and multi-factor authentication, ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive data and systems.
- Centralized management: A network security software should provide a centralized console or dashboard that allows administrators to monitor, configure, and manage security controls across the network infrastructure from a single interface.
- Integration capabilities: The software should support integration with threat intelligence feeds, SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions, incident response platforms, and other security infrastructure components. This enables enhanced threat detection, automated response actions, and seamless collaboration between different security tools.
I chose software with easy-to-use and intuitive dashboards that show the network’s security status, key metrics, and real-time alerts in a centralized system. I also looked for tools that had a history of positive reviews and a strong user base.
I chose software that worked well with other security solutions, like SIEM platforms and vulnerability scanners, to simplify security management. You can review the critical integrations of each software on my list in the overview to choose a solution that best aligns with your existing tools.
How does network security software work?
What is the difference between network security software and incident response software?
What are the fundamental principles of network security?
Choosing The Right Network Security Software
The 12 best network security software options showcase a wide variety of capabilities designed to safeguard networks, detect intrusions, and prevent data breaches. For example, if you’re interested in just the essential coverage for your home or small business, a straightforward antivirus package from ESET or McAfee could do the trick. More complex security tasks might require additional tools, such as Elastic for data analytics, Commvault for data protection, or others from my list.
In any case, I hope my overview makes it easy for you to select the right network security software for your individual or organizational needs, budget considerations, and network security requirements.
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