Sophos Anti-Virus Business review

Massively powerful and feature-packed protection, but its daunting control interface demands more hands-on configuration than many rivals

15 Nov 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Page 1 of 3Sophos Anti-Virus Business review

Sophos is well regarded among business users. It certainly does the job when it comes to defending the PC on your office network, with a 99% accuracy rating in our tests. It was only compromised in one of 100 malicious software exposures. It didn't do too badly in our false positive tests either, blocking only three of 100 benign programs.

Sophos is more challenging to install than many of its rivals, with a control interface that lends itself to companies with an IT department and an Active Directory domain more than a typical small office setup with just a handful of PCs. Once you've installed the control console, the best way to install the Sophos client on other PCs is by scanning the network, Active Directory or a given IP range for computers. You'll then have to log in as a user with sufficient permissions to install software remotely - easy if you've got an Active Directory domain, but under other configurations, you'll have to make sure that the designated account is able to log on to every PC you need to access.

Sophos desktop client

It's also worth noting that the Sophos desktop client’s firewall by default allows only the most basic of network connections and blocks almost everything, including communication with the control console. You have to manually create a firewall policy and configure it on each client or apply it when you deploy the client software across your network. This is obviously a much more serious and time consuming process than that of Sophos's small business oriented rivals.

The management interface offers masses of power when it comes to monitoring and controlling your client machines. You can apply rules about which applications and devices can be used with individual machines or an entire group, while other features include encryption of client machines' hard disks and tamper protection to prevent non-technical users from accidentally disabling the Sophos client. There’s also content filtering to keep your users away from designated categories of web sites - Sophos has masses of power and loads of features, but you'll have to take far more time and care in implementing them as policies for your network group than you will with many other business anti-malware tools.

Although it's less intimidating than the Enterprise Console, the desktop client doesn't look as polished as many of its rivals, but it provides all the information and features your users will need at a glance. A status box informs you of the current configuration, showing you the status of the on-demand scanning and firewall modules, as well as the software version and time of the last update.

Sophos control console

The interface's main pane lets you carry out manual scans - as with most anti-virus programs, these are rendered largely unnecessary by Sophos's active protection - as well as manage items in quarantine and configure the firewall, updates and tamper protection.

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