Antivirus Scanning Locations

Deciding whether or not to run an antivirus scanner is a no-brainer. Yes, you should. Deciding where to run it is harder. Antivirus products need to be placed in areas where new malicious code can be introduced. Antivirus scanners can run at the following locations:

  • Desktop

  • Email server

  • File server

  • Internet border


Almost every antivirus vendor offers a software solution designed to run on a PC’s desktop. It was the first model type and is still the most popular. Desktop solutions offer the greatest reassurance when properly implemented and kept up to date. Three drawbacks exist. First, it is difficult to keep a large number of desktops updated and current, even with automated tools. It is easy for one workstation to get missed or bypassed, and one weak link can harm the rest of the network. Second, when located on a desktop, end users have the ability to disable the protection. And third, when loaded on the desktop, local performance can be severely impacted. Because of these three considerations, network administrators often look to place the antivirus software elsewhere.

Email Server

Because most new malicious code is arriving via Internet email these days, installing antivirus software on email servers is popular. And for the most part it works. Incoming and outgoing email messages are scanned for malicious code. Regrettably, a large flaw exists. Email antivirus software can do nothing to malicious code located elsewhere. If it arrives on a floppy ...

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