By Deepika Dhatia
These days, everything is moving to the cloud, from picture storage to sales databases and from email to software. Oftentimes, small and medium-sized businesses find they can get more done with less hassle (and often with less investment) by seeking a cloud-based solution. For this reason, many IT consulting companies recommend cloud-based solutions for their clients.
Cloud-based antivirus solutions are no exception. Cloud-based antivirus solutions are centralized in a server in the cloud. Individual users typically run the cloud-based antivirus software through a browser. Connecting to the online antivirus console allows users to review reports, watch infections and more. Here are some of the benefits of this configuration, as IT consulting companies often enumerate to clients:
1. Automatic Updates
Updates are automatic, assuming the computer is connected to the web. Most office workers are perpetually linked to the internet – it is always running in the background. Why not take advantage of this modern connectivity? Cloud-based antivirus solutions do just that by continually updating virus signatures without any effort on the user’s part.
2. Stronger Protection
Because updates are completed automatically, a cloud-based antivirus option is often more secure. As all IT consulting companies make clear, the “weakest link” in an antivirus setup is the user, who must remember to run the scan regularly and take action when needed. With cloud-based antivirus software, the user doesn’t have to remember to download new protection or turn others off – the online antivirus vendor does it all automatically.
Here’s another way cloud-based antivirus options are often stronger: They can run multiple virus detection programs at once to increase the chance of detection. Some programs do this by creating a virtual machine for each detection driver.
Finally, online virus detection can detect problems when a local virus solution has failed. One of the first things a virus does to a machine is turn off or somehow alter its local antivirus program to fool the user into thinking that everything is hunky dory. Cloud-based antivirus solutions can work around this, however, since they are connected to a central server.
3. Fast Installation and Scanning
Software-based antivirus solutions seem to take an eon to set up. IT consulting companies deplore this waste of productivity as workers wait for the antivirus program to scan and install. Antivirus solutions in the cloud are more agile – they take far less time to set up, and they allow you to scan any computer, even those that don’t already have some sort of antivirus protection installed. Scanning for threats is also much faster – the delay between publication of threat and application to protect your machine is virtually zero with an online antivirus option.
Why should cloud-based antivirus options be so much faster? Well, it has to do with their structure. Most of the data analysis and heavy processing is done on the provider’s server, while a lightweight local interface keeps each individual computer humming along.
4. Central Monitoring
The business owner or manager can quickly check the status of all of the computers in his or her network by visiting the cloud-based antivirus console. At this “command center,” it’s easy to instantly view protection reports and see which PCs are protected.
You can achieve these benefits by switching to a cloud-based antivirus option (as IT consulting companies often recommend) or by blending a local antivirus program with an online answer. Keep in mind, however, that this would undo the cloud-based antivirus benefit of using fewer local resources, thereby protecting each computer’s bandwidth and processing speeds.
To choose a secure cloud storage provider that will keep your sensitive business information safe, IT consulting companies recommend opting for an enterprise-level solution rather than an antivirus package aimed at the average consumer. It’s also important to work with your IT consultant on which data to encrypt. For instance, you definitely want your data encrypted while it’s stored in the cloud. Finally, to protect yourself against server failure, check that your cloud-based antivirus provider stores your data in more than one location.
This article is brought to you by Deepika Dhatia, Director of Technology Business Solutions at
Prosum Technology Services, one of the fasted growing IT consulting companies in Southern California. Prosum provides information technology consulting, cloud support services and IT staffing.