This is third in a series of articles highlighting reasons why we need a new model for anti-virus and security solutions.
Reason #2: Desktop Security Software Risks
The risks of placing software on desktop are such that I will be breaking this article into two parts.
There are many advantages to putting security and anti-virus software on desktop. They range from efficiency to money. Under previous ways of thinking if I can capture security and virus problems at desktop I can prevent them from going any farther. That works well in a non-connected environment. In connected environment it makes more sense to centralize software and monitor connections in and out. Basically “firewall” all appliances from each other.
In a previous article we discussed security risks inherent with desktop software designed to be protection layer between you and all those bad people out there on Internet. Here now we will discuss some more mundane issues regarding risks of putting security software on desktop: Drag Drag steals clock-cycles from your processes so that it can run in a higher priority mode. Anti-virus software especially places a drag on your computer. Depending on your settings (and default settings are usually very aggressive), every time you run a program or open a file, real-time file scanning takes place and your files are scanned for viruses. This slows down your processing. Accessing larger files takes longer. You can see a discernible lag time between when you start a program/open a file and when you can actually access it. Compatibility After obvious issue of “drag” is compatibility. Often security and anti-virus rules get in way of your doing business on your computer. While you may get away with using older versions of such packages as Word, Sims, Photoshop, etc. on your computer with new XP operating system, it’s unlikely your security software will be completely compatible. Why? Many packages rely on very low-level functionality to be able to do tasks they set out to do. Anti-virus packages have to be able to operate at a level closer to hardware than most packages. They need to do this to prevent virus software from taking precedence from them. While many packages offer backward-compatibility opposite is not true: forward-compatibility. There are several reasons for this: a package written for Windows 98 will not anticipate all changes to operating system that are implemented for Windows XP. While your Win98 anti-virus program may work under XP, it won’t work at its peak performance. It can’t. It’s just another reason for centralizing your security. By siphoning all your traffic through a security screen at your ISP, for instance, you offload need for updates and staying up-to-date on your security software. This then becomes job of service provider.