What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case of this solution is for protection and to have better governance for our LAN usage. I've got a lot of people working from outside on the corporate infra and all policy based decisions happen there. The solution is basically a firewall that protects us from various internet threats, but other than that provides controlled and properly managed access using various rules of VPN and other fingerprints of people logging in. I'm the CTO of the company and we are customers of Sophos.
What is most valuable?
The interface is great and easy to understand. Any firewall engineer who has medium to moderate experience on bylaws, can easily understand the UI. The language presented on various features and the in-built help, is very intuitive. If you have a problem you can figure it out there and then. As a result, there is less probability that we'll call tech support.
What needs improvement?
The solution really needs some additional features like network access control. If they could incorporate some user profiling and present the analytics of the login user usage patterns, or a typical proper management dashboard to take a decision on the firewall rules, that would be useful. Basically, MI's and the dashboard could be more user friendly. The information is there but the dashboards are not in a graphical format. In short, I'd like to see network access control, user profiling and analytics dashboards. It would make the solution a more competitive product on the market.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using this solution for over four years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This is a stable solution. I haven't had any firewall crashes or any non-performing rules for over two years. We are a hospital so all the lights of all the devices should be on 24/7, 365 days a year.
We manage and control around 250-300 internal users. There would probably be another 75-100 logging in externally.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This is definitely a scalable solution. The way we've configured it, if a device goes down, it can be shut off and removed from the network for repairs or updates and our second firewall automatically takes the load.
How are customer service and technical support?
We only used technical support during our initial deployment. After that, we didn't need support because the product was working perfectly well. We trained ourselves on the newer software and we are capable of managing and maintaining our own firewalls. In addition, Sophos provides online documentation which is very user friendly. If you follow the steps you get the result.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I previously used Cisco's firewall ASA and it was extensively implemented in my earlier role. The main reason to migrate to Sophos was due to their aggressiveness in terms of pricing but also the fact that they had features that Cisco did not have.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very straightforward. Deployment took somewhere between six and eight hours.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
There's no annual licensing fee. When we purchased the product, it was with a five year agreement bundled in with the product price and the recent rollout is not yet five years old. When we renew, we'll renegotiate. I can't differentiate between the product costs and the licensing costs at this point. We're very lucky that we get one of the best deals in the country in terms of pricing. The Sophos-backed pre-sales and implementation team were very cooperative and collaborative which really helped us make the decision to choose Sophos.
What other advice do I have?
I would definitely recommend this solution but it's only suitable if it fits the needs of the company so I would suggest carrying out some research. Why does the company need a firewall? What rules do they want to deploy on the firewall? Based on the answers to those questions the company can make a call.
I would rate this solution a nine out of 10.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?