What Is Cloud-Based Antivirus Protection?

Cloud-based antivirus solutions are those that store information about malware variants in the cloud, rather than on a user’s device. Traditional, so-called “list-based” antivirus solutions store lists of known-bad bits of code on the device itself, which can adversely affect the performance of the machine.

To better understand cloud-based antivirus software, understanding "the cloud" will help. The cloud is simply a decentralized space for storing data that your computer is able to access via the internet.

Our cloud-based antivirus software protects you or your business by communicating with a threat database stored not on your computer, but rather in the cloud.

How a cloud-based antivirus works

By storing threat definitions (files categorized as malware or dangerous IPs and URLs) in the cloud rather than on a device itself, cloud-based antivirus software needn’t store all those millions of definitions on its own hard drive, freeing up space.

And since updates can be pushed to your antivirus software remotely via the cloud, you’re not stuck with a static list of threats the software knows to guard against. As soon as new threats are discovered, say by a team of threat researchers supporting your antivirus software, an update can be pushed to all devices using it. This results in near real-time protection from the constantly shifting threat landscape that exists online.

So is Webroot cloud-based?

Yes. In fact, in 2011, Webroot launched the first fully cloud-based cybersecurity solution on the market. To this day it regularly bests competitors with its small agent size and super fast scans.

Benefits of cloud-based antivirus solutions

  • Access to a larger threat database without having to house it on your hard drive

  • Smaller installation agent for your antivirus software, so it takes up less space

  • Near real-time definition updates based on data gathered from the entire network of users

The existing catalog of polymorphic malware, zero-day phishing, and similarly evolving threats is massive. To house such a huge amount of data on a single computer would impair productivity to the point of rendering a computer nearly inoperable when a scan is run.

Luckily, major advances in cloud-based computing were made around the turn of the new millennium. For those companies able to harness the power of the cloud for antivirus software, major improvements in speed and performance awaited. Smaller installation agents meant less time and space used during installation. Fewer definitions stored on the device began to mean fewer or no interruptions for routine scans. 

Beyond lightening the storage load for individual devices, definition updates— those course corrections added to software to protect against newly discovered threats—take minutes to reach the software, rather than the days or weeks it may take to make the same updates without the aid of the cloud. If you’ve ever had to wait for your computer while your antivirus software updated, you know the frustration. That’s not to mention the threats you may have been exposed to in the interim between version updates. 

Cloud antivirus for business

Cloud-based antivirus solutions are no less important for businesses than home users. On the contrary, when installing endpoint security lots of devices, slow installation times caused by the large agents characteristic of traditional antivirus solutions can really add up.

Additionally, cloud-based antivirus for business ensures that every device is protected from new threats in only minutes after they’re discovered by any Webroot-protected endpoint around the world, without manual updates or other work interruptions.

Read more about cloud antivirus

Interested in keeping with the latest developments in cloud-based antivirus protection? 

Check in with the Webroot Threat Blog, where our dedicated team of threat researchers shares their expertise and updates you on the latest threat definitions pushed to our software through the cloud.  

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