What is Cloud Antivirus Software, and Are There Free Options to Download?

best cloud antivirus software

Cloud-based deployment of software is quickly becoming the preferred method of software delivery. SaaS – Software as a Service – providers like Microsoft have realized that it is a much more effective way to sell software than the traditional licensing method.

Today, nearly every type of traditional software has an equivalent in the cloud, and that includes antivirus software.

Cloud antivirus software is not a new phenomenon. The first such piece of antivirus software was Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.0, launched in 2009. It used Panda’s Collective Intelligence to match security incidents or events against a cloud-hosted database of known virus definitions that is constantly being updated.

The biggest benefit of cloud antivirus software is that it does not use up a lot of your device’s resources because a digital fingerprint of the suspicious file is sent to the cloud for processing. If an Internet connection is unavailable, it will use the local cache of “the most common threats in circulation” to identify the threat.

Another major benefit of cloud antivirus software is that it is lightweight, unlike traditional antivirus applications that need a heavy client-side installation. Some traditional antivirus software applications do use a kind of hybrid cloud detection model, but only a few solely use the cloud protection method, making them the best lightweight security option for your devices.

Panda Free Antivirus is an ideal cloud antivirus software program, and is an alternative to traditional Panda Security products. Essentially, it’s the same as the Panda Cloud Antivirus that was launched in 2009, but with a different name. Strictly speaking, however, it is not a pure-play cloud antivirus program because it uses considerable system resources, which is probably why they changed its name.

You can get Panda Free Antivirus from their downloads page here.

Another cloud antivirus software application is Immunet, which is currently owned by Cisco. The paid version has been discontinued, but the free version is still available for consumer use.

You can get Immunet Free Antivirus here.

Possibly the best cloud antivirus software – and the tiniest – is Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. An expert review in PassMark’s Benchmark Report back in 2015 showed that Webroot nabbed first place in 9 out of 12 metrics. When online, the cloud antivirus software program works off the Internet. When offline, it executes the suspicious program in a sandbox and logs its behavior, to be send to the cloud for analysis after you get back online.

Webroot is not free, but there’s a 14-day free trial period and an amazing 70-day money back guarantee. It is categorized as shareware, and costs $39.99 for a year of protection for one device. There are versions available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

You can view the download page here.

There are several cloud antivirus software solutions available today, and you’re the only one who can decide the best one for your specific needs. Each comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. For a more comprehensive list, you can review this antivirus buyers’ guide from Consumer Affairs. They have kindly shared their guide with us for the benefit of our readers.

See the Consumer Affairs’ Antivirus Buyers’ Guide.

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