Cloud Antivirus: What it is? How does it work?
If you are an avid computer user, you are sure to know the importance of antivirus programs. An antivirus application is designed specifically for detecting and removing the malicious files present on your system. The malicious files can be anything like viruses, trojans, ransomware, or others.
When you search on the internet for the best antivirus program, you will get tons of different options in both free and paid variants. However, traditional antivirus is generally resource-hungry and could be very hard on the computer unless you are using a lightweight one like MalwareFox.
To cope with this hindrance, the security solutions providers are switching to the latest computing technology known as Cloud. The antivirus programs made by using Cloud tech are known as Cloud Antivirus.
In this post, we would discuss in detail what Cloud Antivirus is and how it covers the drawbacks of the traditional antivirus solution.
Problems with Traditional Antivirus
Let us go back to what antivirus does. An antivirus program provides your system the protection from harmful malware. To detect a malware program, an antimalware performs the full system scan and match the files with its Virus Definition Database. This database contains the signature or definition of millions of viruses and other malware. When the antivirus catches any file that matches one of its virus definitions, it quarantines or removes that file or application from the system.
The problem is, since every now and then, a new malware variant is detected, the Virus Definition Database needs to be updated regularly. This makes the database heavy. While scanning, the antivirus needs to compare the files with millions of signatures present in their database. This process continuously demands the system resources, thereby restricting you to perform other system tasks. Also, this eventually slows down the computer or even shut it down.
No antivirus provider wants their application to cause any trouble to the computer. On the other hand, they also don't want their Virus Definition Database to be outdated as with outdated database, the latest malware would remain undetected in the scan and can cause severe trouble to the system.
Another problem with traditional antivirus applications is, they need to be regularly updated so that the database could be listed with the latest malware variants.
Such problems have made the antivirus programs almost unusable on low-end systems. So, what is the solution? The Cloud Antivirus.
What is Cloud Antivirus?
The drawbacks associated with the traditional antivirus are solved by the introduction of Cloud Antivirus. The Cloud Antivirus is the security program that uses Cloud technology to provide antivirus protection to the computer system.
The Virus Definition Database, which is traditionally present on the device's hard-disk, is located on the cloud servers when using the Cloud Antivirus programs. So, while scanning, not much computing power is required, thereby reducing the stress on the system resources.
Since Cloud Antivirus doesn't bother system resources much, there is no impact on the performance, and you can complete your other tasks by simultaneously scanning your system.
Also, since the antivirus is connected with the Cloud, you don't need to update it manually for the new virus definitions. The antivirus provider regularly updates the Cloud Antivirus database with the latest detected threats.
How does Cloud Antivirus work?
You might have a question that since the Virus Definition Database of the Cloud Antivirus is present somewhere on the internet, and it performs most of its processing away from the device, how does it scan the files on your system and detect the malware?
Let us discuss how Cloud antivirus works.
Generally, people assume that with Cloud Antivirus, all of their data would be sent to Cloud and return after performing the scan. However, this is clearly unrealistic and not how Cloud Antivirus works.
When you install a Cloud antivirus on your system, it will come with a Client service component and a Web service component. The Client is a computer program that runs on your system and scan for malware. The Web service component is the software that is installed on different servers somewhere on the internet. It is where the Cloud Antivirus' Virus Definition Database is present. Both of these components work together to function the Cloud Antivirus. At regular time intervals, the Client scans the computer system for the presence of any malware matching the signature with the database present on the Cloud.
Unlike the traditional antivirus, since the database is present on the internet instead of the system hard drive, most of the data processing is handled by the Cloud.
Benefits of Cloud Antivirus
Apart from being light to the system, the Cloud Antivirus also has several other advantages over the traditional ones. Here is the list of that.
1. Tight Protection
Unlike traditional antivirus programs, the Cloud Antivirus update automatically with the new virus definitions. You get more tight protection using Cloud Antivirus. It is because if a new malware is detected anywhere, the database gets updated in the main system. Since the whole system is centralized, everybody gets the benefit of database updating. For example, suppose a user in the UK got infected with a new variant of malware in his computer. In that case, the antivirus provider will update the virus definition immediately, and because of the centralized system, even the user in the USA will get instant protection from the new malware variant.
2. Access to Large Virus Definition
With Cloud Antivirus, users get access to an extensive virus definition database without installing it on their system. It ensures that no malware remains undetected on the system, providing almost 100% shield.
3. Not Much System Requirements
Since most of the resource-hungry task is handled on the Cloud, the Cloud Antivirus does not have much system requirements. You just need to install a small client on the device to perform the scan.
4. No Regular Maintenance
With the traditional antivirus programs, you must always be attentive to regularly update its database before performing the scan. There is no such requirement for the Cloud Antivirus.
5. Easy Deployment
For an organization, the Cloud Antivirus is of great benefit. Since it only requires the installation of a client component on the system, it is easy to deploy Cloud Antivirus across all the devices of the company.
6. Cloud Antivirus is Affordable
Cloud Antivirus is quite affordable because of low-maintenance requirements and can even cost you less than traditional antivirus programs. There are several option free options too, and paid subscriptions are not that costly.
Drawbacks of the Cloud Antivirus
Like every other good thing in the world, Cloud Antivirus comes with few drawbacks.
The first and the biggest disadvantage of Cloud Antivirus is without an internet connection, it becomes useless. Since the virus definition database is present on the Cloud, there would be no detection if the client is not connected with the web component.
Another drawback is that there might be some false positives detected on a particular device, and the database is updated with that. Since the database is centralized, every other system will also get false positives resulting in decreasing the antivirus provider's reliability.
Cloud technology is the future of computing, and with antivirus also joining the Cloud, the trust in the Cloud services has risen. Getting yourself a Cloud Antivirus is affordable, time-saving, and feasible to your system. The disadvantage of the continuous internet requirement is not as significant as it sounds, as, in the modern world, there is hardly any place where you can't get internet access.