McAfee All Access 2012 Review

McAfee All Access 2012 is a little different to many other suits offered by other well known names on the market. All Access claims to offer protection for all your devices in one suit, with one yearly fee. Two versions are available individual which is for one user but covers an unlimited amount of devices and the other version is Household, covering an unlimited amount of devices for fives users. 

Despite this offering appearing to be more targeted at everything on your network including Android devices, Blackberry devices, Symbian devices and Macs (I'll get onto all this later). The main focus still sits firmly on the Windows PC, with virus protection, spyware, phishing, spam ect being protected against. This isn't surprising, Windows is still the most vulnerable operating system to this day and therefor still has a genuine need for protection. 

All Access user interface software was very easy to install on Windows 7. It's a download only, even if you buy the software in a retail store because all supplied in that big box is a piece of card with a download code. Once the software was downloaded and launched, I quickly realised that McAfee are completely unable to deliver a nice User Interface still. It feels dull to use and displays a few graphs and numbers in a bland fashion, information you'll need is all here but isn't presented at all pretty.

A feature of McAfee All Access 2012 that I was intrigued about was the online backup. But it only allows for a measly 2GB per user, that's not enough for a serious cloud backup solution and was barely enough for my most important documents. Dropbox is a better route, it's faster too. So onto the most important feature and that's a scan of your PC, it checks for viruses, spyware and phishing risks. On a 200 GB hard drive it took one hour and 24 minutes. That's quite quick compared to my previous experience with similar suits and the performance of the PC only takes a barely noticeable mild knock. Of course it discovered things on my hard drive that could be possible risks and therefor I had them removed which took seconds to complete. I rarely use this PC, so the fact it found any kind of threat is alarming.

Added functionality such as the content filtering and scheduling for children is easy to enable and disable but you can do such things directly through browser and Windows OS nowadays, making it a little redundant. Secure deletion is handy tool for Windows users who want to permanently delete files from their hard drive, it takes longer than a normal recycle but information will be permanently removed. Data encryption is another useful tool for those who need to keep data under lock or want to transfer a secure file to a memory stick but don't want anyone to be able to just plug it in and open it up.

To test the Mac protection, I chose to install it on my iMac. I then discovered that the majority of the features the PC version has the Mac version doesn't. Such as data encryption, online backups, program blocking, secure deletion, however all these functions can be found built into OS X. However the feature that is present and the one which is of most use in Windows is a scan. I chose my 500GB OS X partition to undergo inspection, which took a good solid three hours plus. It was a total waste of time, I have never installed such software on any Mac I have owned previously because I have never felt any threat. McAfee proved me totally correct in that decision and it couldn't find a single virus or trace of spyware or phishing. And to all those who own Macs and think about purchasing such suits, I don't suggest installing any virus protection because let's face it, no threat is currently here or seems even mildly foreseeable with the direction Apple is taking OS X in. If a serious virus that wiped hard drives sprang onto the Mac tomorrow and spread to millions of Macs within a week, would McAfee really know what to do? My guess is they would take ages developing a fix and Apple would be the first to sort it out. Therefor I think it's simply a waste of money investing such software on a Mac.

The mobile security for Android, Symbian and Blackberry devices I am unable to test. I don't own any of them but I do own an iPhone which this software doesn't support. McAfee instead require an additional download of McAfee Mobile Security via the App Store, I searched for it but it appears to not be for sale anymore, possibly Apple removed it?

Overall the McAfee All Access 2012 suite is a nice idea if all devices and systems out there were of equal threat but they simply aren't. Windows is still firmly the number one risk and McAfee clearly show that in this suite, if you want anti virus solely for Windows this would be impractical.