I am a little concerned that the cloud is relied on too much. What if the PC is offline (not on the internet) and a file is imported (from a cd, thumb drive, etc.) Is there enough info on the PC to find viruses when the cloud cannot be accessed?
Quiltgirl: that's an astute observation. What we have done is create an optimized list of virus signatures that we keep on the PC, emphasizing types of malware most likely to be carried via thumb drives / connected media - example Macro viruses that attach to documents. Research shows incidents of offline infection are so rare as to be nearly unmeasurable - but in order to keep you safe and stay ahead of the bad guys, we addressed the need. Looking forward, we are working on adding some of our 'observation' techniques (currently limited to Cloud) to the client itself - as the future will be less about virus signature tracking, and more about identifying suspicious attributes. Instead of having to play whack-a-mole with a hundred signatures...stop the whole family by identifying them by their looks & behavior.
Yet another questions about the cloud? What if you are on a very slow internet, won't it take longer to access a local file since the cloud needs to be consulted? What if on an insecure network, can the cloud interaction be intercepted? And what if the server in the cloud is down? How will the check for virus be done?
These are deeper product design questions that we won't discuss in detail on a public forum. Suffice to say that the amount of data being processed to Cloud is tiny, and is usually a case of milliseconds in transmission - regardless of network speed. We have security measures in place to prevent interception/abuse, and our Cloud infrastructure is closely monitored.
Just want to point out in a test done by one of the major independent av test institutes the result dropped from about 99% found threats to about 76% when there were no internet connection for the McAfee aplication. So it needs to be considered.