Perhaps the precedent was set with Microsoft’s OneCare antivirus software which installs and uninstalls purely through a web interface, but the idea of moving antivirus from a software to a service has been muted for a long time. Now Symantec looks ready to take it to the next level.
The security monolith has decided the commodity nature of its most basic programmes like Norton AntiVirus and Utilities means burning it to CD, boxing it up and shipping it out to shop shelves is no longer the most efficient way to do business. Instead, it is looking at building these essential tools into a basic service offering or even costing it on a per scan basis. This would also have the knock on effect of eliminating annual subscriptions and beefy installations.
Certainly, this approach would appeal to large businesses which are forced to deal with multiple software licenses and time consuming mass installations. The new system would automate this. That said, whether the consumer is fully ready for such a transition would largely depend on how much time they spend online and what their surfing habits entail, with heavier costs likely to be charged to hardcore users.
Whatever the desire of Symantec at this stage, however, it will not be able to make this sort of move in one go. Instead a gradual system of porting customers across looks the most likely route, with businesses – as usual – leading the way. Watch this space…