If you own a computer and it’s hooked up to the Internet then you need to make sure you have a security suite installed. This isn’t scare mongering it's everyday fact. However, it seems there are as many security suites as there are threats and with the number of suites increasing luring users away from their current choice is becoming rather difficult.



One solution in recent times has been to add more and more functionality for the asking price. Iola has done away with this aspect by using a back-to-basics approach by only fitting System Shield 3 with the three basics you need: anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall. So, if you’re looking for anti-phishing, encryption or protective vaults, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

To make matters worse, installing the package isn’t as straightforward as the novice user would like. In our case, it identified we had a firewall already installed, from Zone Alarm in this instance, but the program wouldn’t progress until we’d uninstalled the offending tool. Considering Zone Alarm works in conjunction with other tools, this is a little heavy handed on Iola’s behalf.

Then there was the user ID tag and the standard serial numbers we to input. Once installed, you’ll find the software leaves three separate icons in your system tray, one for each tool. Once again, this seems a little over the top as most other suites use a simplified single interface.

This current version works with Vista, as well as with Windows XP, and on the plus side, it isn’t too resource heavy, so even an older machine will be able to install and run it in the background without too much trouble.

Once it’s up and running, it’ll protect your system in real time and you can also check for threats that may already be present on your system – this is something that is not present in all security tools.

At the heart of the software is System Guard, which scans for viruses in real time and does an excellent job of keeping threats at bay. Te only real problem we found with the software was with the firewall, which never seemed to stay connected for very long, so we had to disable it and return to Microsoft’s built-in firewall instead, which isn’t as reliable as a good third-party tool.

It’s not all bad news, as the asking price of £40 (inc. VAT) does cover three licenses, so you can install it on three PCs and notebooks for the one price of one.

Verdict

Iola System Shield 3 does a decent job of protecting you computer from threats but it does it in such an unconvincing way that we’re not sure many people will want to swap their current protection and use this instead.