iolo technologies is so achingly cool that it doesn't use capital letters in its name. Its System Shield 3 is similarly pared down as the software contains only the bare essentials of anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall for online protection.
Installing the software took longer than we would have hoped as it detected we had ZoneAlarm installed and then exited until we had removed the offending firewall, instead of pausing until the coast was clear. This is a little frustrating, as you should be able to mix-and-match your security tools to make the most appropriate defence for your laptop.
Next we had to key in both a user ID and a lengthy serial number, and once we'd finished that pantomime we found we had three new icons in the system tray, one for each element of the suite. Perhaps we should be grateful that iolo doesn't contain all the features you get with Norton or McAfee or things might get even worse.
Although the price of £40 (reduced to £32 on Amazon) looks a little on the expensive side, it covers you for three PCs and laptops, which is surely enough for most households, but once again the US rubs salt in our wounds with a price of US$49.95.
At the heart of the software is System Guard which scans for viruses in real time to keep all forms of malware at bay. If this system works, then it's almost fool-proof, but we have some concerns on this score.
On its website iolo states that the software is 'West Coast Labs certified'; however, most vendors have certification from two or three testing labs, so this is not as impressive as it appears. Furthermore, the firewall exhibits some strange behaviour relating to which ports are closed and which are left open.
It's quite possible that these are theoretical issues that will never raise their head in real life, but with so many security suites on the market we see no reason to take a risk.