Have Security Software, Will Travel

If cloud computing truly is the future, then this means that we'll likely be accessing our data from many different computers and devices--a number of which might belong to other parties. If you are like us, we get a little nervous when accessing our data on someone else's PC--it sort of feels like handing our wallet over to a stranger for a moment. For those who tend to use third-party PCs on a regular basis--such as at Internet Cafes or libraries--one way to feel a little more protected is to use portable security software.

TrustPort Antivirus U3 Edition
Essentially, portable security software resides on a USB flash drive and automatically starts running as soon as you plug the flash drive in. Obviously, this technology won't work on systems that don't have accessible USB ports or on systems where the USB ports are disabled. TrustPort, a little-known (at least in the U.S.) security software company out of the Czech Republic, has just announced two new portable security software products: TrustPort Antivirus USB Edition and TrustPort Antivirus U3 Edition. Both applications are actually streamlined versions of TrustPort's Windows PC client, TrustPort Antivirus 2009:

"Both of them include some features of the main version, like conventional scanning, heuristic analysis, sandbox test or automatic scanning of newly connected drives. Their major task is to provide on-access protection of the flash drive; they can also scan drives and folders of the host computer on your demand."

These applications work best when you are accessing data that is on the USB flash drives themselves; however, with just a little manual effort, they should also be able to protect your data on the computer's hard drive or on a cloud server. The U3 Edition is designed specifically for use on U3 smart drives--a platform for enabling portable applications on flash drives.

TrustPort is not the first company to market portable security software; both avast! and McAfee have portable security applications for U3 smart drives. Perhaps the most popular portable security option, however, is actually open source and free: ClamWin Portable. Unlike the avast! and McAfee clients, ClamWin Portable does not require a U3 smart drive--in fact, it can be used on any USB device that allows you to copy files to it. While ClamWin Portable can be used a stand-alone application, it is also part of an open-source, free portable software suite, call PortableApps.com, which includes the full OpenOffice productivity suite, Firefox, and more.

TrustPort has not announced pricing for the two new portable clients; however, trial versions of all of its software can be downloaded from the TrustPort site (a single-client version of TrustPort Antivirus 2009 sells for €25.20 EUR, which converts to around $33.43 USD). Presently, the only way to purchase a license for the portable versions is though one of TrustPort's partners, and the only U.S. partner listed on the TrustPort Website is a computer repair shop in Santa Monica, California--not exactly a ringing endorsement for U.S. market share, but we suppose that TrustPort must have a larger presence in Europe.