Russian security firm Kaspersky just launched a new version of Kaspersky Security Cloud Free, a free cloud-based security solution for Windows devices.
The product's name reveals the core difference between the two free security products. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free, also known as Adaptive Security, gives you remote control and management options that Kaspersky Free Antivirus does not support.
Kaspersky notes that Security Cloud gets all new tools and features first before any other product. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free requires a (free) Kaspersky account to use the program whereas Free Antivirus has no such requirement.
You are asked to sign in to a Kaspersky account or create a new one on start of the program. In fact, you cannot do anything until you sign in to the account.
The program displays a series of screens on first sign in that highlights the program's core functionality and some of the features reserved to the paid versions.
The interface holds no surprises. You can run a scan directly from the startpage or check the recommendations the program has for you.
Kaspersky recommended to configure backup and restore which is a feature of the software program, and to install the company's password manager application and Internet Explorer extension.
The backup functionality is basic but sufficient for creating backups of important files on the system. Kaspersky displays options to back up four different file types or locations, and an option to select custom locations for backup.
The four available types are:
You can select one of the options only at a time which is a usability issue. The best option that you have is to use the custom folder selector as it supports adding multiple locations to a single backup job.
Data can be backed up to a location on the device or online storage space that Kaspersky provides (for a price).
Antivirus protection works as you'd expect it to. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free runs automatic scans regularly to find threats and eliminate them. You can run full, quick, and custom scans manually at any time, and schedule scans so that they run based on your preferences.
The Password Manager and Secure Connection links work but both features are limited. Kaspersky displays links to two features in the main interface that are not available in the free version.
Prompts to upgrade to a paid version are displayed when you select Privacy Protection or Safe Money.
The My Tools link opens a new page with a large assortment of tools and information. Some of the tools are reserved for paying customers though.
Security Cloud Free supports additional features that you find highlighted in the program settings under protection.
The app includes network attack blocker, system watcher, instant messenger anti-virus, and mail anti-virus protection. Not mentioned are the new Exploit Prevention feature and ransomware protection.
The program works out of the box for the most part. While you can make some modifications, e.g. turn off select protective components, most users probably keep everything as is.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free has limited functionality when compared to the Personal and Family versions. It features antivirus protection and the secure connection feature. The built-in password manager is limited to 15 passwords which makes it unusable for most users.
Secure Connection is a VPN service that users of the software may connect to. The free version is good for 200 Megabytes of data per day and lacks paid options such as the selection of regions to connect.
Kaspersky may suggest to connect to the VPN automatically based on the device's connections status. If the device is connected to an Open WiFi network, Kaspersky may suggest to establish a VPN connection using Secure Connection to protect data and improve privacy.
Features such as privacy protection, a built-in firewall, family sharing, kids protection, or safe money are reserved for paying customers.
One of the core differences to Free Antivirus is the new web management functionality that Kaspersky baked into Security Cloud Free.
You can sign in to your account and manage all devices connected to it. Management includes interesting options such as running full or quick scans, running database updates, or managing components.
You get status information, e.g. the product is up to date or "no threats detected", on top of that.
Options to link more devices to an account are provided and the web management interface's use increases with every device you add to it as it provides you with better manageability options.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free requires registration and enables remote management of connected devices automatically. Users who dislike the functionality may select Free Antivirus instead which comes without it.
It is understandable that Kaspersky wants to earn money from its products but the main interface needs information about the "only in paid version" icon that is displayed on some of the options.
Kaspersky highlights what the icon means on the "more tools" page but not on the main page.
Kaspersky Labs has been in the news lately because of alleged ties to the Russian government and bans on Kaspersky products for government use in the United States and other regions.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free or Kaspersky Free Antivirus? The choice depends on whether you require remote management capabilities or not. The core functionality is nearly identical and while users of Security Cloud Free may get new features before Free Antivirus users, included protective features are mostly identical.
Security Cloud is available for Android and iOS as well so that these may be managed from the management interface on the Kaspersky website.
Kaspersky is always doing well in tests and Security Cloud Free is no exception to that as it shares protective features with other Kaspersky products. You can check out how Kaspersky products are ranked on AV-Test or AV Comparatives.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.