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For example it seems like anti-virus, anti-spam and firewalls have sort of merged into one product. Is there a downside to this? I don't know of any software firewalls that can be purchased without an AV, is there a reason this has happened?

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COMODO Firewall comes without an AV. – Ben Poulson Nov 22 '13 at 11:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here are some to think about, mainly from the "home user" perspective. The enterprise environment is unlikely to use a single vendor for all security needs. If they do, the setup and support package usually eliminates all common mistakes.


  • More integration/less administrative work to do - you only have one purchase to make, and one vendor to call for support.
  • Consistent User Experience - the commands/GUI should be similar, so it should be easier to learn, while making fewer mistakes.
  • Pricing is usually cheaper for product "bundles".
  • Fewer conflicts. Products from the same vendor are less likely to conflict with each other, compared to a similar set of features from programs by different vendors.


  • Single point of failure - especially for "home user" scenarios: if your subscription ends, or if there is a fault, you (may) lose several layers of protection.
  • Product quality (maybe)- an AV vendor may not necessarily be good at creating a firewall product.
  • Incomplete configuration - e.g. someone may complete proper config of the anti-spam feature only, mistakenly thinking that configuration across all products has been completed.
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I just wanted to add that some products are able to use all of the technologies together to create a comprehensive solution that works very well. These things may not work too well with individual products fitting together... Not to mention some of the next gen firewalls are doing antivirus on ASICs. While there are always downsides, this technology is pretty interesting. – David Houde Nov 22 '13 at 11:22
Another benefit on the security appliance side (Next Generation Firewalls et. all) is reduced latency - your packet is making one hop instead of three or four (or more!) going through your appliance stack - firewall, web proxy, AV, DLP/ssl intercept, WAN accelerator, SSL VPN, etc. etc. The downside is that they may not be as feature complete as the standalone, special purpose units. – RI Swamp Yankee Nov 22 '13 at 18:07

For me, a big downside is bloat. For a while I used Comodo firewall on my windows home machines, but gradually updates started including some stuff that really should have been optional, like live chatting and such.

Also, over time, I'd accumulated a large amount of images to make up the gui that weren't really necessary.

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