Keeping home PCs safe from bad guys on the Internet is a constant hassle, especially if you're running Windows computers. And the hassle is multiplied by the number of PCs in a home. Each computer needs its own virus, spyware, and intrusion protection—and one for the kids might need parental controls.
Network companies feel your pain. They also sense an opportunity, and they're trying to move the protection from the computer to the network's hub, which they happen to build and sell. D-Link, for example, recently introduced a suite of security services that can operate on one of its high-end routers, the DIR-625.
Called SecureSpot 2.0 Services, the software offers a Web-based console that provides one place to monitor, install, and customize how a network is protected. The privilege comes at a price of $60 for three computers and $20 a year for added PCs. That's on top of the cost of the router, which runs about $80 online.
Expect many more routers and network devices to come with similar options. Networking giant Cisco is adding the ability to home routers sold under its Linksys brand. Also, the company that developed the services used by D-Link, Bsecure Technologies, is peddling its product to others.
If the D-Link offering is typical, the cost is higher than street prices for security software from outfits like Symantec and McAfee. But if SecureSpot does the job and cuts the hassles, it is worth it.