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

Cloud Based Anti-Virus

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

Future Fintech

What’s the cloud forecast for 2020?

Tech Agnosticism In 2019, we saw how cloud computing transformed the way data is managed, the way applications are developed and deployed, and also the way IT teams operate. Organizations are starting to experience the ...
Hacker Cloud

Pandemic and Cybersecurity: Top Threats to Businesses

Pandemic and Cybersecurity The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus is coming to naught (or at least we hope so). But the impact that this virus produced on the whole world, and specifically on businesses, ...
Ramanan GV

Establishing a Unified Governance Model for the Digital Workforce

Increase visual control and reduce OPEX by 30% The Digital Service Providers (DSPs) are riding an automation wave. Painful manual tasks, which burdened staffs for ages, can now be easily handled by the software bots ...
Mark Barrenechea

Introducing the Information Advantage

Technology. Information. Disruption. The world is moving faster than ever before at unprecedented scale. Businesses today are operating in the next industrial revolution, and the rules have changed. This is Industry 4.0. It is imposing ...
Ronald van Loon

Reimagine Contact Centers with AI and Cloud

Contact Centers with AI and Cloud Contact centers have experienced overwhelming strain since the onset of the pandemic and for many organizations this chaotic trajectory has continued. In the travel industry, for example, airlines are ...
Kayla Matthews

7 Technology Trends to Look for in 2020

Leading Tech Trends 2020 Cloud computing has become the norm. As of 2019, 94% of IT professionals were using the cloud in some form or another. This widespread adoption means that although it was once a ...