For years, viruses have been a realistic aspect to owning and operating a computer. If you want to keep your computer up and running, you need to have anti-virus software installed and kept up-to-date.

But what if you’re using cloud storage to back up your files? In that case, are your files safe from the threat of viruses?

Well, maybe, and maybe not. But anti-virus software is definitely still necessary.

Two situations

When it comes to viruses and cloud-based backups, there are two likely scenarios.

First, your system was infected, then infected files were saved to the cloud. Then, if you had anti-virus software, it stepped in and cleaned up your system.

In those cases, you’ve actually copied one or more infected files to your cloud storage. If you then copy those files to another machine you own, or send them to a friend, the infection is back.

The second situation is where your system was backed up to the cloud, then infected, but your anti-virus caught the infection quickly and cleaned things up.

In this second case, the file or files you uploaded are clean, so you shouldn’t have any problems.

So what if you don’t have anti-virus software at all? In that case, your files on the cloud storage will eventually be infected regardless.

File versioning

Some cloud-based storage options provide a service known as file versioning. Multiple versions of files you’ve uploaded are stored, with the option to restore various past versions.

In cases like that, you can actually roll back your files to a version that pre-dates the virus. However, you’ll want to check with your provider to see if you have that option. They may or may not offer it. And even if they do, it may cost extra to add it.

Regardless of the specific situation and the capabilities of your cloud storage provider, you still need to have anti-virus software installed and kept up-to-date.