Antivirus and the Cloud

Sue Marquette Poremba

Like it or not, the cloud is the future (if not the present) of business computing. However, security in the cloud has been one of the big question marks. How exactly can we stay safe in the cloud? Will our traditional approaches to security be applicable?


An article by Jay Bavisi in Businessweek provided food for thought in one of the most traditional areas of security, antivirus (AV) software, and whether it will survive the cloud. He wrote:

The thinking goes that as more businesses and consumers shift to the cloud's Internet-based software applications, the relevance of desktop antivirus products diminishes. Basically, since fewer programs are physically installed on a desktop or laptop, there's less need for physically installed antivirus programs. Research at the University of Michigan and elsewhere has also shown a potentially higher degree of virus detection by an in-the-cloud antivirus system, due to its ability to combine multiple AV platforms and conduct real-time updates.

Bavisi doesn't think traditional AV is going away any time soon, but he does suggest a few ways the industry can evolve as the way we approach computing changes, including more AV for smartphones, AV specifically designed for the cloud and application-based AV.


I tend to agree with Bavisi's premise. The way we think of AV, the way we think of security, has to evolve as technology continues to change the way we think of computing and the way we use networks.

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