Cloud Antivirus: What is it, and how does it work?

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Almost everyone is familiar with the term ‘antivirus’ and how it works to protect your devices from malware. Most antivirus solutions allow you to install software that operates locally on your computer. You can read how good is PC Matic and check out some of the features that come with locally installed antivirus software. 

Nevertheless, while locally installed antivirus solutions are effective, you can also think of what is known as a cloud-antivirus. Let’s take a look at it in more detail.

What is Cloud-Based Antivirus?

To better explain cloud-based antivirus software, it is essential first to understand what the term cloud refers to. Simply put, the cloud is a decentralized space that you can use to store your files that you can then gain access to via the internet. What sets cloud-based antivirus software apart is that it defends your device by corresponding with an online, ‘cloud-based’ threat database. 

How does it work?

A cloud-based antivirus consists of a small local component (client) installed on your computer and web services components working together. The key highlight of such antivirus software is that most of the computing they do is done online instead of on your computer. As a result, all files classified as malware or viruses are stored in the cloud instead of your hard drive. 

This means that there will be no extra space consumed by the antivirus other than what is taken up by the small installation files. All this virtually eliminates resource-hogging that most users complain about when it comes to using antivirus software. 

Web service

The Web service that powers cloud antivirus runs on one or several servers on the internet. It is on these servers that most of the computing takes place, and threat data is processed. Depending on how you set it up, the antivirus will scan your device and check for threats identified in the web service’s database. 

Most antivirus solution providers have a team of researchers who will continuously be looking for new threats. In cloud antivirus, these researchers will be continually updating the threat list on the cloud-based web service. This means you won’t have to wait for software updates for your antivirus to be aware of new threats. 

Cloud Antivirus Features

If you have used any other antivirus solution before, then the cloud antivirus interface will undoubtedly look familiar. Apart from it being based on the cloud, it still retains its primary antivirus features and functions, so not much will change in that regard. You might find some of the following features and options:

  • Perform a deep scan of all the folders and apps on your computer
  • Schedule automatic scans on specified files and folders 
  • Check out detailed scan results to view which malware or threats were identified and dealt with during the scan
  • Take action against malware and infected files, or restore files that were wrongfully placed as malware

The uniqueness of cloud antivirus is not in the UI. It is made unique by its split personality, i.e., having two separate local and online components. This allows it to leverage a massive internet-based malware library as it effectively protects your devices. 

Benefits of cloud antivirus

  • Your computer is protected by a tool that has access to the latest threat and malware data. Within seconds of a cloud-based antivirus learning about the existence of a new threat, your computer will be aware of it as well. 
  • Updating your cloud antivirus software all the time is not necessary. Automatic updates are done in the cloud. 
  • It features a small, resource-friendly client that requires minimal processing power
  • Multi devices can be protected from one central server


  • If the device-based client does not have internet access, the ability of antivirus to defend the user is minimal. This is because it will not be able to query the cloud for threat detection information.
  • Potential invasion of privacy due to the amount of personal information gathered from your device. Most cloud antivirus service providers assure their clients that no personal information leaves their devices. The idea is that the software only scans for specific executable files that do not contain personal data. 

Bottom Line

The best way to find out if cloud antivirus is the option for you is to try out the software and compare the results to the usual antivirus. For most cloud antivirus offerings, there is a free trial period that is offered. Nevertheless, considering how cloud technologies develop, the cloud antivirus may be the future of cybersecurity.

Nathan Collier

I am a tech writer and editor at bestantiviruspro, ensuring that every piece of content is relevant and precise. I do believe that our online security and privacy are a necessity nowadays. That’s why I do software reviews and share my knowledge of cybersecurity.  Be aware, any click of yours may be crucial for your safety.

Masri serves as the Chief Content Editor at BestKodiTips. With three years of experience, she excels in creating technical content, focusing on how-to guides, Android and Kodi tutorials, app reviews, and addressing common technological challenges. She ensures to stay abreast of the latest tech updates. Outside of work, Masir finds pleasure in reading books, watching documentaries, and engaging in table tennis.

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