Over the past couple of years Bullguard has gone from being an internet security suite you might find bundled with a new PC, to one you'll want to add yourself. It gives good technical AV-Test results and the comprehensive nature of the offering means you can probably do away with separate back-up and tune-up utilities.
Bullguard IS 2014 includes all the core security software modules, with anti-virus, firewall, spam filter, safe browsing and parental control, but adds in a vulnerability scanner, tune-up and online back-up, which are unusual in a suite that's not the top product in its range – Bullguard's top-end product is Premium Protection.
The interface has had a revamp; a clean look largely for the better, but with one oddity. Each of the main modules in the suite is assigned a small control panel within the home screen, but that screen isn't quite wide enough to show all nine at once. There's a slider underneath to move left and right. We can understand this approach for customers with small screen devices, but why isn't the home screen window resizable, for those with bigger screens? It's irritating to use.
Initial set-up is largely automatic and key protections are put in place without a lot of hassle. We like to see the slide-up alerts Bullguard uses when it grants Internet access to programs, but you can turn them off if you find it annoying. We also like the automatic run of its tune-up module, which gives a comprehensive report of apps tuned and caches flushed, but also asks for your decisions on things it can't determine itself. It explains what each is, too, so you're not flying blind. See also: Group test: best security software of 2014.
Bullguard Internet Security 2014: backup facilities
Backup facilities are unusually comprehensive, with the ability not only to set up different schedules for different files, folders ad categories, but also to control how many backup copies are kept and to set different schedules for removing old ones.
Scanning our 50GB test file basket took 1 hour 39 minutes and targeted 1,303,933 files, which is pretty comprehensive and gives a scan rate of 219 files/sec, the second highest we've seen. Surprisingly, this didn't change much when we reran the scan: this time 855,973 files in 1 hour 9 minutes, so not a lot of fingerprinting of unchanged files.
We didn't measure much of a resource hit, as the time taken to copy our test 1GB file rose by only 16 percent when there was a scan running in the background, from 43 sec to 50 sec.
The German test site, www.av-test.org, rated Bullguard at 15/18.0, which is a good, though not group-leading, result. When you break it down, you see that in the Protection section – it's competence in dealing with widespread and zero-day attacks – it scored 6.0/6.0 and did the same in the Usability section too, which looks at false warnings and blocks when working on typical PC tasks.
The main area where it dropped, to 3.5/6.0, was in Performance, the resource hit it places on its host while working. This coincides with our findings, as scan times are quite long and don't drop as much as last year's product when run repeatedly. Visit Security Advisor.