Norton has updated its range of antivirus products with new security features, faster performance and compatibility with Windows 8.1.

The company's 2014 offerings include Norton 360, which protects three PCs for one year (£35.99, US$59.99 or AU$89.99 when bought online); Norton Internet Security, which protects three PCs for one year (£29.99, US$49.99 or AU$69.99 when bought online); and Norton Antivirus, which users can put on up to three PCs for one year (£39.99, US$39.99 or AU$59.99 when bought online).

If you're the type that's constantly switching between tablet, smartphone and laptop, Norton's 360 Multi-Device protects up to three devices in the UK for one year for £69.99 (US$69.99 for five devices in the US, or AU$99.99 for five devices in Australia).

Internal boost

Symantec says that the biggest changes to the products lie "under the hood", including tweaks to its SONAR engine. This hunts down any malware that attempts to disguise itself by hiding in Windows' operating processes deep within the OS.

It also makes sure that all traces of a malware attack are removed after a PC is cleaned up post-infection.

Should malware slip through the net to damage critical Windows files, the products now call upon Symantec's Global Intelligence Network to hunt down the latest resources to repair Windows system files faster.

The entire suite of was given a fresh lick of paint in the 2013 version, and this year has brought a revamp of Norton's Identity Safe password management tool to include new form filling, drag-and-drop and vault search abilities.

Other improvements are based around faster performance, with the company claiming to have improved boot time by 15%, install speed by 10% and memory usage during virus scans by 100MBs.

Additionally, the company says that the previous version's touch-optimised user interface has been improved for devices with or without input, and a Norton Studio app for Windows 8.1 has been developed to help users more easily manage the software.

Small advantage

Stefan Wesche, Technical Expert at Norton, tells TRPro that Norton's Internet Security (NIS) product is the most suitable from the updated suite for small business users due to combining its security features with Norton's Management Portal interface.

He said: "If no backup solution is already in place, I would recommend Norton 360 as it has the same performance, management and security features as NIS, but can also be used to manage the backups to a local or online server in a small business to keep customer data safe."