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There is but whether or not you consider it easy is another matter.
The Security Center itself can't be shut down, but it's "parts" can.
Double-click the taskbar icon to open Security Center
Click Advanced Menu (bottom left)
Click Configure (left)
Click Computer & Files (upper left)
In the right-hand module you can now disable VirusScan and tell it for how long to stay that way.
Click Internet & Network
In the right-hand module you can disable the firewall and tell it for how long to stay that way.
In my experience it is unnecessary to disable anything except when installing Service Packs for your operating system, as Security Center asks for permission if set to its default settings.