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Posted on: 01-09-2015

Any doctor will tell you it’s not enough to make a vaccine; you must have a way to get it into your patients. You can have the cure for cancer but if you can’t deliver it, people will still get sick.

Anti-virus software developers have struggled with this same problem from the very beginning. New threats appear and spread so quickly that it can be difficult for traditional antivirus programs to receive malware signatures fast enough to be meaningful.

End-users frequently make this job harder, understandably putting off anti-virus scans and updates as it would interrupt their workday. This isn’t their fault but a weakness of the ponderous way most anti-virus software operates. Defence has to be easy to implement and seamless if possible.

A new kind of software is attempting to make this dream a reality. Cloud anti-virus – such as Typent’s Webroot Secure Anywhere Business – attempts to do away with enormous local malware databases and time-consuming updates. The idea is to strip out the majority of weight from an antivirus program and rely on improved communication infrastructure to offer a better solution.

Data about a suspect file is uploaded to a central database by a lightweight local agent program. This database has the ability to potentially store petabytes of information on the latest and developing pieces of malware and can be updated much more rapidly. The file is then analyzed and the database then informs the local agent if the file is safe or not. This information is then relayed back to the database to make future responses from other users faster.

But can it be effective? Yes, depending on a few factors. Can you guarantee a continuous internet connection (as without it the local program loses the majority of its effectiveness) for the local agent? Is the transfer of data light enough to mean regular internet use isn’t affected? Are there enough users to mean the database has a decent library of information?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, a cloud anti-virus service may be right for you.

The advantages of cloud anti-virus are undeniable. Gone are the days of the IT guy going cubicle-to-cubicle updating computers. You can rest assured that as long as the internet still works, your company still has the best protection available. Whether you can accommodate such a system will depend on your circumstances.