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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH TESTS AND TESTING LABS I CAN TRUST?

Follow the money. If a vendor is paying for a test on its products, you can’t expect the results to be unbiased. This is why independent, unbiased testing is so important—and the only type of testing you can trust. 

Also, see if anyone failed the test. If no one failed, assume a vendor paid for the test.  

WHO PAYS FOR NSS LABS TESTING?

We pay all costs associated with group tests—vendors pay nothing. In fact, we wouldn’t take money from vendors even if they offered. 

ARE YOUR TESTS “PAY TO PLAY”?

No NSS Labs group test will ever be the result of a paid engagement. If we’ve published test results, the test or research was conducted independently. 

IF YOU DON’T CHARGE VENDORS FOR YOUR GROUP TESTS, HOW DO YOU RECOVER COSTS?

  • We sell subscriptions to enterprise consumers and other organizations that include access to our research, our test results, and our experts.  
  • We offer marketing rights post-publication. While we don’t know how any given vendor will fare in a test, the test reports do provide valuable information for those that do well.  

This allows us to remain objective and independent (that is, not subject to pressure from individual vendors).

Want to See a Product Tested?

CAN VENDORS OPT OUT OF YOUR TESTING? 

While we invite vendors to participate, we strongly believe that a product good enough to sell is good enough to test. Vendors don’t get to choose whether or not we will test their products. 

WHY ISN’T PRODUCT XYZ IN YOUR TEST?

Some vendors don’t want to participate in an independent test beyond their control. We prefer that vendors participate, but if they don’t, we may include their products anyway, especially if they have a significant market share or have gained broad visibility through bold claims to the marketplace. Under this scenario, where vendors attempt to avoid testing, products are often donated by interested parties. If necessary, we’ll purchase the products for testing. 

When we don’t include a product in one of our tests, it’s usually for one of the following reasons:

  • Insufficient interest in the product from the NSS customer community
  • Product not suitable for the test
  • Product configuration was inadequate 
  • Product couldn’t be acquired through ordinary means
  • Vendor blocked acquisition 
  • Product not activated or was deactivated during testing

HOW CAN I SUGGEST A PRODUCT FOR TESTING?

You can let us know by filling out this form. We’ll consider your suggestion and invite the vendor’s participation. As a customer or potential customer of a product, you have the right to know how well that product is protecting you. You should always ask your vendors where their test results are if you believe they should be in one of our tests.

WHAT IS AN NSS UNVERIFIED STATEMENT?

An Unverified Statement means we couldn’t validate certain products because we were unable to test them. 

We caution against purchasing a product that has not been validated without a comprehensive assessment of its capabilities. If you need assistance or advice on how to do this, reach out to one of our analysts.

DO THINGS EVER GO WRONG DURING TESTING?

Yes. Sometimes we are unable to complete a test due to technical problems, such as a license expiration or a product failure. Sometimes we can’t complete a test because the vendor disables a product during testing or the product or configuration was materially changed during the test, which invalidates the results. When these things happen, we work to fix the situation, but if these problems can’t be resolved, we’ll report results to the best of our ability and call this information out in the report.  

HOW CAN I GIVE YOU FEEDBACK ON YOUR TESTIN METHODS?

We encourage feedback. You can also get in touch if you have questions.