Whether you’re in the market for a car, hamburger or computer security product, certifications are useful. They don’t tell you how smooth the car drives, how tasty the sandwich is or how completely accurate the anti-virus software will be, but certifications indicate a general level of competence.
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In the UK new cars must be certified by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), restaurants are checked for hygiene by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and various independent testing organisations, including SE Labs, test IT security products for basic functionality.
A certification emphatically does not indicate the overall quality of a product, though. The FSA specifically states that, “The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality.” In other words, the food won’t make you ill, but you might not like it! Similarly, the VCA cares more about cars being made according to specification rather than how nice they look.
Security product certifications
SE Labs has a range of available testing services. We consider certification to be the most basic type of testing. If a product claims to be able to detect malware then we can test that. But we don’t claim it can detect all types. For a higher level of understanding about a product’s capabilities so-called ‘real-world’ testing is necessary.
The report you are reading now is based on our more advanced testing. This exposes real products to live threats in a realistic environment, running on real computers on an internet-connected network.
But how can you be sure that we’re really doing that? Are we just making up the figures or giving some products an unfair advantage? After all, some companies contribute financially to supporting the tests, while others do not.
To go some way to addressing this concern, as well as to improve generally and continue to evolve the business, SE Labs has achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification for “The Provision of IT Security Product Testing”. We think it’s fair to test the testers and we’re very proud to have passed!
If you spot a detail in this report that you don’t understand, or would like to discuss, please contact us via Twitter.
SE Labs uses current threat intelligence to make our tests as realistic as possible. To learn more about how we test, how we define ‘threat intelligence’ and how we use it to improve our tests please visit our website and follow us on Twitter.