Clouds certainly are the rage right now in the internet and computer worlds. Such systems allow users to store large quantities of information at a location other than their home computer. This information can be stored as a convenience to the individual, or it can be shared with other users, serving as a common file. There can be multiple servers used to store the information and they can be located anywhere in the world. This type of storage system is called a "cloud." But what happens to a cloud if a virus infects one of the computers sharing those files? Traditional anti-virus software is not designed to handle clouds. Instead, you need to secure a separate cloud antivirus program.

Cloud Anti-Virus Software

The cloud presents some interesting situations to those who are sharing information via the service. Everyone who has data saved on a cloud could possibly be impacted by a virus or malware infection. Theoretically, your computer could be infected by a virus that has attached itself to a file that is thousands of miles away from you.

Traditional anti-virus software scans every file in a computer. In order for it to do its job when connected to a cloud, it is possible that the program would have to scan millions of files. This would take an incredibly long time and tie up your computer’s operating memory. Programmers have developed anti-virus software that only looks for certain types of files, thereby eliminating the need to scan all of them. The cloud anti-virus software is not located on the individual computer, but in the cloud itself. It is designed to scan only those types of files which have been previously identified as having potential viruses.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are multiple advantages and disadvantages to the cloud virus programs. Here are some of the advantages:

No installation. Unlike conventional anti-virus programs, which need to be installed on your computer and take up considerable space, the cloud anti-virus is stored directly in the cloud. You don’t need to worry about taking time to download and install the program, as it's installation in the cloud is instantaneous, and the program becomes available to you immediately.

• No updates. Because it is in the cloud and is constantly being reviewed and updated, the cloud anti-virus program is always current. Even though there are hundreds of new viruses introduced each year, the cloud anti-virus software is able to remain current and counteract even the most recent virus or malware program.

• Multi-layered. If you try to operate more than one anti-virus program on your computer, they will conflict with each other and possibly render your computer unprotected. Cloud anti-virus programs can operate around each other without that conflict, providing you with additional layers of protection.

Of course, there are some disadvantages as well.

• Background operation. Unlike traditional virus scanning software, which operates in the background of your computer, the cloud anti-virus programs only operate when they are needed.

• Scan limitations. The cloud anti-virus programs are limited in that they can only scan certain levels of documents. Those that are kept in archival systems may not be scanned.

• Internet connection. A traditional anti-virus program can run any time. They will scan your computer whenever you tell them to. The anti-virus programs stored in the cloud can only examine your computer if it is connected to the internet.

You Can Get Them for Free

Another of the advantages of the cloud anti-virus programs is that you can get many of them for no charge. Free cloud antivirus for Windows programs may be found on numerous sites around the internet. Unlike the conventional programs, which can be expensive and require frequent updates, you can find good-quality cloud anti-virus programs on the internet that are available at no cost to the consumer. This makes them an incredible value.

Many of the computer security systems currently available for the Windows environment have limitations. The traditional version is unable to scan within the cloud, and the version that is loaded in the cloud is unable to see all of the files found on the individual computer. The good news is that there are some hybrid anti-virus software packages which address both types of systems, and work together to provide the consumer with some of the most reliable anti-virus programs available.

Anti-virus programs are a necessary part of computer operations on the internet. Finding the right program for your needs is important. It's certainly good to know that you can find some reliable anti-virus software on the internet for free. That alone makes it a great bargain. Because the cloud anti-virus software is stored in the cloud, you can capitalize on the extra free space you'll have on your computer's hard drive.