Protection was featured in the top ten of Rolling Stone magazine's 'Coolest Albums of All Time List', calling it "great music for when you're driving around a city at 4 am," due to the 'chill out' nature of the album. Like most of Massive Attack's albums, the music often defies categorisation, ranging from R&B (title track and "Sly") to hip hop/rap ("Karmacoma" and "Eurochild") to reggae-tinged synthpop ("Spying Glass") to classical-influenced electronica instrumentals ("Weather Storm" and "Heat Miser"). The album follows Blue Lines structurally, to the point that the font used on the cover of the album is the same, Helvetica Heavy Italic.
Paul Evans of Rolling Stone gave the album three and a half of five stars calling it "Cool, sexy stuff, it smoothly fuses dub, club and soul, grounding its grace in sampled hip-hop beats."
It is the second and last Massive Attack album listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 51 in its list of the "100 Best Albums of the Nineties".
Tricky again appeared on the album, rapping on the tracks "Karmacoma" (whose video was directed by Jonathan Glazer, and which featured a sample from The KLF's "Dream Time in Lake Jackson" at the 2:00 minute mark) and "Eurochild" (which featured samples from Startled Insects' "Cheetah" and Liquid Liquid's "Lock Groove (In)").
DJ Mad Professor remixed the album in 1995 under the name No Protection.
As of 2010, sales in the United States have exceeded 292,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.