Antivirus software is one of the most effective solutions for preventing, as well as mitigate the damage, of malware. Once installed, it will regularly scan your computer for potential malware. If the antivirus software discovers any malware, it will neutralize it by either deleting or quarantining it. While most antivirus software operates locally, an alternative type operates on the cloud. What is a cloud antivirus service exactly, and is it better than traditional antivirus software?

The Basics of Cloud Antivirus Services

A cloud antivirus service is a cloud-based antivirus solution that scans your computer for potential malware from one or more remote servers. It consists of software that, like traditional antivirus software, protects against malware. Rather than being installed on your computer, it’s installed on one or more servers. From there, the antivirus software will remotely scan your computer for potential malware.

Examples of cloud antivirus services include:

  • Immunet
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus
  • Avast Business Cloud Managed Antivirus
  • AVG CloudClare

Advantages of Using a Cloud Antivirus Service

Since it operates remotely, a cloud antivirus service won’t slow down your computer. It will still consume of your computer’s resources — central processing unit (CPU), random accessory memory (RAM), etc. — but it won’t consume nearly as much as traditional antivirus software.

Traditional antivirus software is installed locally, so it exclusively uses your computer’s resources to scan for and neutralize malware. With a cloud antivirus service, one or more remote servers will power the antivirus software.

Cloud antivirus services are also regularly updated to protect against new and emerging forms of malware. Locally installed antivirus software is also updated on a regular basis. Normally, though, you’ll have to download an update to take advantage of its additional protection. Cloud antivirus services are managed by cybersecurity companies that perform these updates in real time.

Disadvantages of Using a Cloud Antivirus Service

On the other hand, using a cloud antivirus service requires an active internet connection. Like all cloud services, it’s performed remotely over the internet. If you lose your internet connection, the cloud antivirus service won’t be able to scan your computer for potential malware. Of course, malware infections are less common during internet outages, but they can still occur.

You’ll have less control over the settings of a cloud antivirus service than you would with a traditional locally installed antivirus solution. For example, you may not be able to create your own custom blacklists. Instead, you’ll have to use the blacklists provided by the cloud vendor.