Cloud, mobile making for big changes in antivirus

Between free-is-better and cloud-is-broader, traditional vendors will struggle to keep up

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Euro-brand Panda Security has set up a cloud-service offering from new facilities in California, from which it plans to take advantage of the U.S. part of a global market that has grown for Panda at 65 percent over the past year and will grow from 15 percent of total revenue to 20 percent by the end of next year, according to projections in Panda's release.

Panda, by the way, also dislikes the connection between Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Update, though it doesn't mention the wide disparity in antivirus effectiveness among various editions of Windows, which you'd think would leave space for other vendors.

Pure-play Web services such as ipTrust, from startup Endgame Systems, emphasizes the availability and scale of a cloud-based service mixed with "petabyte-scale data processing" of information about botnets, virii and other threats. ipTrust is still in beta, so no price is set, but other cloud antivirus services such as Immunet offer free options and often very low costs. Even the more commercial, business-oriented Panda's cloud goes for 29 Euros per seat, setting a pretty low bar for potential competitors.

There's no guarantee cloud-based antivirus is going to be as effective as versions based closer to the end user. Some analysts think it's better to keep security in the cloud completely separate from down-home networks. Panda provides some counter-arguments, but doesn't close the door on the issue.

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