4 security suites that protect all your devices

McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Webroot offer protection for all your mobile devices plus Web-based management

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The most unusual feature that Webroot includes is an App Inspector; it lists any apps that might present a security concern based on the access it has to your data and the kinds of network connections it makes. The Inspector also shows you which apps use the most battery power, and what types of network connections different apps make.

Overall, I found Webroot's Android security app to be the best of all I reviewed.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2012, iOS
iOS protection Webroot's iOS protection, called SecureWeb, doesn't nearly come up to the standards of its Android protection. In fact, it's a stretch to call it a security tool for iOS, because it does one thing, and one thing only: It protects your iOS device from dangers while you surf.


Webroot's iOS protection, called SecureWeb, doesn't nearly come up to the standards of its Android protection. In fact, it's a stretch to call it a security tool for iOS, because it does one thing, and one thing only: It protects your iOS device from dangers while you surf.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2012, iOS: Click to view image

It's a tabbed Web browser that identifies malicious Web sites and phishing sites, so that you avoid visiting them. As with Trend Micro's Safe Surfing iOS app, SecureWeb doesn't protect you if you're using another browser such as Safari.

That's certainly useful. But it's also certainly not a comprehensive security tool.

--Valerie Potter

Bottom line
Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete lives up to its name -- unless you want to protect any OS X equipment. It offers top-notch, simple-to-use and simple-to-customize PC protection as well as the best Android security app of any reviewed in this roundup. Its Web-based dashboard is the best as well, letting you see the security state of all your devices, and getting recommendations on how to improve it.

It doesn't take the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach of competitors, though, and so doesn't have every module some others do. For example, there are aren't parental controls, so if that's important to you, you'll want to look elsewhere. Its iOS protection is minimal and it won't protect Macs. Aside from that, though, this is a great all-in-one security suite.

Conclusions
If you're one of the many people who own several computers and mobile devices, using one of these suites is your best bet for keeping them all secure. You'll find that you'll save a substantial amount of money, and to a greater or lesser extent you also get a Web-based dashboard for managing the devices individually.

These dashboards are still in their infancy, and in several of the suites do little more than give you a common way to install the apps and a glance at what devices are using the software. However, I expect that to change in the future, and eventually they may offer more features, including in-depth information about each device.

In addition, if you're looking for protection for an iPhone or iPad, don't expect much. Even the two suites that offer apps for iOS devices -- Trend Micro and Webroot -- don't offer much more than very basic protection through their own built-in browsers.

As for which of the suites is best, they're all so different that there's no true overall winner. My favorite was Webroot SecureAnywhere because of the suite's simplicity and excellent protection, and because its Web dashboard showed detailed information about all of the covered systems, as well as recommendations about how to fix problems. But Webroot doesn't include Mac protection.

If you're looking for Mac coverage in addition to security features for Windows PCs and mobile devices, the Norton and McAfee offerings are your best bet. Although Trend Micro offers a good sets of tools and a well-designed, easy-to-use interface, its Mac support is limited. Norton and McAfee have a better balance between comprehensive protection and ease of use.

However, Trend Micro costs $47 less per year than McAfee All Access, which costs $50 less per year than Norton One. So if you're budget-minded, Trend Micro is an affordable compromise that offers some OS X protection, even if its OS X protection isn't as complete as that offered by the more expensive suites.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld.com and the author of more than 35 books, including How the Internet Works (Que, 2006).

See more by Preston Gralla on Computerworld.com.

Read more about security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

This story, "4 security suites that protect all your devices" was originally published by Computerworld.

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