Thursday, May 03, 2012

Check Point Launches ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2013

On May 1, Check Point Software Technologies announced   ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2013 as a free Internet security solution for consumers (the license agreement also makes it available for non-profits as well, but not for businesses).  With this offering, Check Point is jumping into the antivirus freemium model marketplace.  The best-known companies in this market include:
  •  Avast – Top downloaded antivirus product on CNET’s  site.  They’ve recently announced their intentions to go IPO (Initial Public Offering).  First in  installed base  global market share for antivirus ( )
  • AVG Technologies - Went public in February.  Third in OPSWAT market share.
  • Avira -  Second in OPSWAT market share
Microsoft’s product is fourth in OPSWAT’s most recent report.

“Most consumers are unwittingly making themselves an easy target for cyber criminals,” said Bari Abdul, Vice President, and Head of ZoneAlarm, Check Point Software Technologies consumer business.  “They lack a strong 2-way firewall, are unwilling or unable to pay for security, or they just have left their security on the backburner.  People are putting themselves at serious risk by not having minimum security, which at least includes a firewall and antivirus software.  It’s basically like leaving your home with the doors unlocked.”

ZoneAlarm hasn’t created a lot of excitement in the marketplace with their internet security solutions.  This is even though they scored 4.0 stars for their Zone Alarm Extreme Security 2012 product from PC Magazine  Their Zone Alarm Antivirus Plus Firewall 2012 only scored 3.0 stars. .  They had looked at the consumer security appliance market place several years ago, but didn’t enter it. 

This does present an opportunity to increase ZoneAlarm brand recognition over just their firewall.  "The way that we make money is that first we give it away for free to build brand awareness ... then convert customers to use paid for products,” said Abdul.  Check Point   offers five different flavors of  security solutions for home users -  (ZoneAlarm) Extreme Security + DataLock, Internet Security Suite, PRO Antivirus + Firewall, SocialGuard, and DataLock.  

ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite and ZoneAlarm Extreme Security + DataLock would be the upgrades, offering additional functionality such as PC Tune-Up, Virtual Browsing, Private Browsing, Keylogger/Screengrabber Jamming, DataLock Hard Drive Encryption, and Parental Controls.  Depending on your bent, more comprehensive security, the uber suites, everything but the kitchen sink, Bloatware.  Nonetheless, everyone is doing it.  To see the various functionalities of the ZoneAlarm solutions:

Check Point's t ZoneAlarm antivirus products have not  been part of group’s most recent testing.  Twenty-three consumer products were av-test's  March 2012 test and seven in their business test.  Nor is ZoneAlarm among the twenty companies whose products on the test group radar for testing. They did receive VB100 awards from Virus Bulletin in the most recent April test, however.  Time to man up on the others! 
Through growth and acquisition, Check Point offers a number of end security solutions:   Check Point Policy Management, Full Disk Encryption, Media Encryption, Antimalware and Program Control, Firewall & Compliance Check, Remote Access VPN, WebCheck, Check Point GO, and Mobile Access Software Blade.

Check Point has exported some nice talent.  Palo Alto Networks’ founder and Chief Technology Officer  Nir Zuk was a principal engineer at Check Point Software Technologies and was one of the developers of stateful inspection technology.  Palo Alto Networks will be having an IPO (Initial Public Offering) something this year.  They filed their intentions in April.  They’re known for their Next Generation Firewall Technology (NGFW).  Gartner and NSS Labs like their products.  

It will take awhile to see the results of this announcement by Abdul and Check Point. There may be some discussion about this news in the headquarters of the leading antivirus freemium model companies. 

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