Bullguard isn’t an instantly recognised brand name when it comes to internet security but this latest suite has enough features to make it a worthy rival to everyone’s favourites: Norton and McAfee.

As soon as you’ve installed the software you’ll need to train it to work the way you want it too. This takes a little time but we think it’s worth doing. In the first instance, this means setting up a white list of names and contacts, which helps speed-up the spam filter.

The interface has all the functions the suite offers broken down into convenient submenus. It’s a little more cluttered than rival versions from the likes of Symantec and Panda but the main information is all on one page, with the details appearing only when you drill down into the interface.

The first time you run the suite, the software runs through a routine of checks to make sure your PC is protected. Typically this will throw up a number of issues but you can simply press Fix and the program will optimise your PC without you having to worry about changing configurations.

You’ll find the standard array of tools, including antivirus and antispyware, which works neatly together to keep resource needs to a limit. Then there is the firewall, which can be set up with a number of options, either in a basic level where you simply allow or deny access from external sources. While the more advanced settings allow you to setup specific rules of how you want your PC to handle each instance.

Perhaps the most compelling feature of the firewall is that it is written in as simple an approach as possible, so even the first-time user can quickly feel confident they’ve done the best they can to protect their PC.

The whole program is easy to use and with a relatively small footprint, you’ll be able to use it on even a rather entry-level computer. We used it on an aging Pentium M notebook and found it didn’t impact on resources too drastically, even when running through a full system check.

If you own a notebook then one feature you’ll definitely appreciate is the online backup, which means you’ll be able to backup your machine’s hard drive regardless of location. Perhaps, also more importantly, it means that if you have a problem when out and about, you’ll easily be able to retrieve online versions of your files.

The standard version of the software comes with 5GB of online space, which is more than enough to store essential work and leisure files. Once you’ve set the account up, you’ll be able to view your folders through Windows Explorer as though it was a standard drive.

Price when reviewed:

Bullguard Internet Security 8 is a great improvement and while it doesn’t offer anything other suites doesn’t provide, we found ourselves warming to how effective this suite was.