What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature, according to the setup we have at our work place here, is the flexibility of the system or the firmware that's running the appliance. It's so flexible, performing multiple rules with different configurations. According to the set up here, we need to implement several firewalls with different access levels, because we have a variety of users. For this requirement, it's very flexible and very easy to use.
What needs improvement?
It is performing well. However, the only challenges that we are facing are the effectiveness with blocking the proxy and tuneling applications, aside from proxy and similar applications. So the application filter on the product is not really performing 100%. Every now and then there are some updates that are happening on such applications, and it takes time until it gets the appropriate updates and becomes capable of capturing such applications and blocking them.
A new feature I would really like to see would be some sort of an enhanced application filter with greater efficiency when it comes to the applications that can bypass firewall policies. These applications are really a nightmare. Once they are on the network and not detected, or the appliance is not really successful in capturing them and unblocking them, the bandwidth gets wasted all the time.
For how long have I used the solution?
One to three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's stable. So far we haven't experienced any instability issues with.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
As for scalability, I think it is a bit limited. We did a sizing exercise before the purchase. But that was just to fit our current needs. There was no room for having an option to upgrade the device. The only option that we have if we are grow in the near future, is to go for another model with higher specs, which is actually more expensive. In other words it doesn't have that modularity feature.
How are customer service and technical support?
From time to time I use technical support provided by the seller and sometimes I use the online support, but not that much actually. It has only been for a very few issues. And the support I have received is not bad.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Before Sophos there was mix of various legacy solutions that were not really considered firewall grade. The only specific thing that was used was a software-based firewall, but it was used on a very limited scale and only temporarily.
How was the initial setup?
It was very straightforward.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The other vendors on the list were Fortinet and Palo Alto. Although it was really great with outstanding features, Palo Alto was far beyond our budget. And as for Fortinet, I was not really happy with the ease of use of the firewall and the features that were coming with it. Sophos was better compared to Fortinet.
What other advice do I have?
When it comes to selecting a vendor I think the most important thing would be the level of support and how fast they can respond in critical cases.
I would rate Sophos at eight out of 10. I cannot give it the best rating because there are the issues that I mentioned, and I believe there are other products on the market that are much better, like Palo Alto. And there is another product that I've come across recently, which is called Clavister. It's a Swedish product, if I'm not mistaken. They are current with features and have more stability. So for Sophos, it would be the appropriate rating for the time being, unless they come up with some new features and add some enhancements.
There is no straightforward advice in this case because there are many factors that may limit the person who wants the solution. Budget is an issue. If you don't have any budget limitations I would recommend going for Palo Alto. If not, consider Sophos or Clavister.