Webroot is based in Broomfield Colorado and has been in the business of Internet security for the last 15 years. As well as a good range of consumer anti-virus and IS suites, it has a business offering called Webroot SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection, which provides browser-based management for all the PCs covered by its Endpoint Protection modules.
Webroot's SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection is based on the consumer product, but backed up with Web-based administration to make a multi-PC product, which can scale from a base of five machines up to thousands. It's entirely cloud-based, with only a 640KB front end on each machine it protects. This makes it very quick to install and should offer protection with low impact on Windows.
Once you've bought the appropriate licences for the number of PCs you want to cover - which can include laptops as well as desktops - and created an account, it's very simple to download the endpoint modules on individual machines and to monitor their status and the threats the software has detected, over time.
Depending on the security regime within an organisation, security settings can be established uniformly across all machines, or they can be left to individuals to set up, which may be more convenient in smaller organisations. Licences can be grouped for administration, so different settings can be applied to, for example, machines in different departments.
Working from the top down, once you log into the administration screen, which is on Webroot's servers, there's a five tab screen, headed Status, Policies, Group Management, Reports and Logs. The Status tab is divided into five panes: the left-hand side is a simple indication of the protection status and the activities performed by the SecureAnywhere software.
To the right of this, the other panels show any infections on Webroot-protected machines and a pie chart showing the different versions of the software running. Since the versions are supposed to be updated automatically from the Cloud, this does seem a little superfluous.
The Policies tab is where you set up the major settings for the administered licences and the Group Management tab can be used to view individual PCs and to show recent Webroot tasks, such as scheduled scans. The Reports and Logs tabs are useful for producing printed documents showing how the system has been performing.
The individual endpoint interface bears the almost obligatory 'You are protected' slogan but also enables separate scans to be set up and run, provided any company-wide policies permit this.
The PC Security option governs firewall and quarantine, Identity & Privacy provides an identity shield when browsing and System Tools offers a hard drive clean-up, a sandbox and an active process controller, all useful additions to the basic protection.
Usability test results
Webroot claims its software has a particularly light touch, so we were keen to run our own usability tests to check this out. Copying our 2GB of test files with only background processes running took one minute 19 seconds and with a system scan in process, the time increased to two minutes 17 seconds. This represents an increase of 73 per cent, which is less than with either Symantec Norton 360 v6 or Panda Cloud Office Protection.
A scan of our 30GB test files took five minutes 46 seconds, half the time of the Symantic product and a sixth the time of the Panda software. This is more understandable when you realise that the Webroot scanner examined about a fifth and a 15th of the number of files compared to the other two, respectively. The Webroot product actually scans at less than half the speed of the other two, though the lower number of target files it checked could be a product of the algorithms it uses and needn't, in itself, be a cause for concern.
AV-Test completed a two month evaluation of Webroot SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection 2012 in April this year and scored it 11/18. While the lab still certified it at this level, the figure is quite low in comparison with most of its competitors. Breaking down the tests gives a rather more encouraging scenario, though. It scored 99 per cent and 100 per cent over the two months in detecting malware originating in the last 2-3 months and a full 100 per cent detecting older samples.
It fell down on zero-day attacks, where it scored only 67 per cent in March, though pulling itself up to 91 per cent in April. The low initial figure is a bit surprising, as fast detection of new threats is one of the main claims for protection via the cloud.
The program performed slightly below average on removing active components of widespread malware, at 93 per cent, but better than average (85 per cent against 76 per cent) at correcting critical system modifications.
The Usability tests reflected our own results, with a computer slowdown of six seconds against a 10 second average. For some reason, though, it went from zero false positives in March to 37 in April, against a group average of six. This looks like a glitch, which Webroot should have attended to, by now.
The rather also-ran results from AV-Test put a question mark over Webroot SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection 2012. They suggest there are some problems with attack remedies and possibly false positives that need addressing. Just glancing at the AV-Test results from the consumer version of the software, though, shows the same engine can perform better (13/18), so it may just be tweaks needed. In other respects, the software is very easy to administer and lives up to its claims of a low footprint and fast operation. The interface is a model of clarity and should be well within the scope of a busy small business person, who doesn't have IT as his/her only responsibility.
Price: £115 ex VAT (5-PC, 1 year licence)
Test restults courtesy of AV-Test.org.