Is Cloud Based Anti-Virus An Effective Means Of Security?

Is Cloud Based Anti-Virus An Effective Means Of Security?

Infographic Stats
Infographic

Is Cloud Based Anti-Virus an Effective Means of Security?

Anti-virus systems are now a de facto part of modern computing. In a world where every webpage, email and downloaded file has the potential to contain malicious code or trojan horses there is a need to be more vigilant than ever about the security of your computer and your data.

Traditionally anti-virus programs have been installed directly on a computer’s hard drive – running in the background to alert users to phishing attacks, dangerous files and other online threats. However, as the cloud computing continues to expand we are now seeing the advent of alternative methods of protection – specifically cloud-based anti-virus programs.

How does it work?

Cloud-based anti-virus typically uses lightweight software which runs on your compute while offloading the majority of data analysis to the provider’s infrastructure. This has the effect of using less of your system’s resources and reducing the likelihood of the anti-virus agent itself being compromised due to a design vulnerability.

What are its advantages?

The benefit that will most appeal to users is the always up-to-date nature of a cloud-based system. There is no requirement to ensure that virus definitions are updated before starting a full system scan because the cloud always has the most recent data, and the anti-virus will often scan suspicious files and webpages by using multiple antivirus engines ensuring that nothing slips through the net.

Another major advantage is speed – the lack of a lengthy installation process and removal of resource-heavy software means not only can a computer be scanned much faster, but the computer itself should run more smoothly than with an ‘always-on’ system running in the background.

What are its limitations?

Naturally, the biggest drawback of using a cloud-based solution is that you need to be connected to the internet to take full advantage of it. If you are not online the software cannot query the anti-virus cloud – though this can be addressed by the program storing a local cache of the most relevant queries.

Secondly, network bandwidth limitations will frequently prevent some cloud-based anti-virus software from sending the entirety of files that need to be scanned. The workaround utilised by providers is that the software will submit information about the file in question rather than the file itself – though this method could potentially be exploited by skilled hackers and cyber-criminals.

Can it replace traditional anti-virus?

There is no doubt that cloud-based anti-virus programs could be used to replace local software – but it isn’t necessarily a recommended strategy. Either way, they certainly give you a ‘second opinion’ by running in conjunction with a more traditional program.

Normal anti-virus use so much of a system’s resources that it is never recommended to install more than one at a time – especially as two local anti-viruses running at the same time could also cause system conflicts – but an online anti-virus tool that performs a quick scan of your system without running in the background shouldn’t cause any problems.

Have you used cloud-based anti-virus? Did you find them to be an effective way of protecting your machine? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

View Website
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…