All antivirus programs can be organized into the following three categories:
1. Standalone Antivirus Software
Standalone antivirus software is a specialized tool designed to detect and remove certain viruses. It is commonly referred to as portable antivirus software because it can also be installed on a USB drive and used by administrators to run an emergency scan of an infected system. However, most portable programs aren’t designed to provide real-time protection and download new virus definitions daily, which is why they cannot substitute internet security suites that include a variety of additional features.
2. Security Software Suites
As mentioned above, security software suites are more than just antivirus programs. In addition to being able to detect and remove viruses, they are also equipped to fight all other types of malicious software and provide round-the-clock protection for your computer and files. Most of these program packages include anti-spyware, firewall, and parental controls features. Some also include additional functionality like password managers, a VPN, and even a standalone antivirus program bundled with the suite.
3. Cloud-Based Antivirus Software
Cloud-based antivirus software is a fairly new type of antivirus technology that analyzes your files in the cloud rather than your computer in order to free up your computational resources and allow for a faster response. These programs typically consist of two parts – the client that is installed on your computer and runs periodic virus and malware scans without taking up too much memory and the web service that processes the data gathered by the client and inspects it for matches in its virus and malware database.