Review: Webroot SecureAnywhere 2014

Webroot SecureAnywhere is light on its feet, but is weighed down by average protection and a cluttered user flow.

Pros

Robust web app: Webroot has boosted storage from last year's 10GB to 25GB of backup. The ability to manage and run remote commands works decently and makes sense for those who don't want their device security management to be limited to one machine. Other perks include bookmark syncs and a robust password generator.

Lightweight: The application feels extremely light for a security scanner. Scanning is fast, there's very little noticeable impact on system performance, and the overall experience of running the app remains consistent across both Windows and Mac environments.

Cons

Design and UI: Webroot may have cleaned up some visuals and created an organized list of tabs, but there's still a lot of call to actions and a persistently color changing background that's almost oppressive. The tabbed options on the right sidebar of the main screen demand a lot of minute attention to a small window, underutilizing the remaining large status screen that remains static.

Navigation: Navigation and overall management of options could use some streamlining. To put this into perspective, there are six different settings menus that you can go to. That's a lot of tweaking for such a lightweight program and it's almost counterintuitive to the average user.

Protection: According to third-party benchmarks, Webroot's Secure Anywhere protection scores have been dropping dramatically over the past year. On February 2013, version 8.0 scored a respectable 5.0 out of 6.0, according to AV-Test.org. These tests are conducted every two months and during April, June, and August, Webroot SecureAnywhere's protection scores were 4.5, 3, and then a paltry 2.5 out of 6, respectively. The low scores, in particular, were due to hitting a below-industry average score for protection against 0-day attacks.

Final Verdict

Webroot is a product that tries to do a lot of things at once, but demands a comparable amount of attention and investment from the user, something that's not typical of a primarily cloud-based threat detector. The Web app is robust and offers a lot of great features that continue to be of value today, as we pointed out last year. However, a cluttered and erratic user flow and decreasing efficacy of protection scores take away from a decent arsenal of tools, making this product a bit of a mixed bag.

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