Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Cloud Based Anti-Virus Software
Cloud computing is revolutionizing the computer industry. The less powerful computing machines are now capable of solving problems that are much beyond their limitations. We have seen that as the consumer market is accepting cloud computing, there has been a tremendous increase in the Web applications available. Document editing, image manipulation, gaming and almost all types of activities can now be performed over the Internet. Even anti-viruses have gone cloud. The importance of anti-virus software is self-evident for any laptop user.
The demand for such software is increasing as laptops are affordable for almost everyone, and you can buy laptops with Dell coupons or discounts no matter where you are. The growing number of laptops brings the increased need for anti-virus applications. More and more laptop users are turning to cloud-based anti-virus software for virus removal. In this article we will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of cloud anti-virus software.
How Cloud-Based Anti-Virus Software Works
For cloud-based applications like document editors and image manipulators, all you need are a Web browser and Internet access to these services. However, in the case of cloud-based anti-virus software, the scenario is a little different. You need to download a native app for a cloud anti-virus. The app then connects with the cloud anti-virus database and exchanges data among the cloud and the client PC accordingly. Web browsers can also be used to scan the computer through ActiveX or Java. Some anti-viruses also use a Web browser extension to gain access to the computer to scan it. The client application installed on the PC checks files and matches with the virus signature database present at the cloud. If there is anything wrong in it, then appropriate actions are taken.
As we all know that there are many advantages of Web applications over local applications, similarly there are many advantages of cloud anti-virus over local anti-virus.
1. No Need to Install
The major advantage of cloud-based anti-viruses is that you don’t have to install them on your PC. Having anti-virus software installed on your PC consumes disk space, RAM and processing power, and users who don’t have a high-end computer system might see a decline in the performance of their PC. The anti-viruses keep running on the background while you are working, and this reduces available RAM and processing power for other applications, thereby reducing application speed.
2. No Need to Update
Cloud-based anti-viruses solve a major headache that most PC users have reported. Users who have anti-virus software installed on their computer systems keep receiving notifications to update their anti-virus database. Though some anti-viruses keep updating themselves on their own, most anti-viruses need to be updated. This not only causes a headache for the users but also keeps downloading data. With cloud-based anti-viruses, the virus signatures database is updated only at the cloud and all the PCs connected to the cloud are benefited from it.
3. Double Security Layer
A single local anti-virus consumes so many computer resources that one can’t think of installing another anti-virus. It is quite possible that a specific type of anti-virus software misses a virus. So, if we can take advantage of scanning your computer with more than one anti-virus, then we can reduce the chances of missing a virus. With cloud-based anti-viruses, we can easily have any number of anti-viruses running simultaneously, which uses a fraction of the computing resources.
Besides so many advantages, cloud anti-viruses do have some drawbacks.
1. Can’t Run in Background
Cloud anti-viruses are based on client-to-cloud relationship; therefore, these cannot run in the background. It is very crucial for an anti-virus to run in the background and scan each program before it starts. Cloud anti-viruses are sometimes unsuccessful at detecting viruses, but this technique provides an extra layer of security.
2. Limited Scan
Some cloud anti-viruses scan only the core Windows files for viruses and they don’t scan the whole computer. Therefore, this doesn’t cover up the risk completely and a virus sleeping somewhere on the hard drive can become active later. However, a locally installed anti-virus thoroughly scans the files and reports if a virus is found anywhere on the hard drive.
3. Need Internet Connection
Cloud services are highly dependent on the Internet connection and so are the cloud anti-viruses. If we don’t have access to the Internet, the virus living in our computer system will be free to do whatever it wants. It is a fact that we cannot stay connected all the time, thus depending on the Internet connection for computer security is a bit riskier.
Cloud anti-viruses come with lots of advantages and drawbacks. Despite their ability to protect PCs from viruses without using as many resources as locally installed anti-viruses, cloud anti-virus applications are highly dependent on the Internet connection and speed to perform the tasks. The advantage is also undeniable that they don’t need to be updated as the virus signature database is located on the cloud.