Compare Sophos UTM vs. pfSense

pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 15 reviews while Sophos UTM is ranked 1st in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 24 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.6, while Sophos UTM is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of pfSense writes "The terminal gets access to our own server inside the network and if one internet fails, then the other one is still up". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos UTM writes "Has a solid state hard drive and can boot in less than sixty seconds". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos XG and WatchGuard Firebox, whereas Sophos UTM is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall, OPNsense and Meraki MX . See our Sophos UTM vs. pfSense report.
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Most Helpful Review
Anonymous User
Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos UTM vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: March 2020.
431,081 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

Pros
Unfortunately in Cisco, only the hardware was good.The traffic inspection and the Firepower engine are the most valuable features. It gives you full details, application details, traffic monitoring, and the threats. It gives you all the containers the user is using, especially at the application level. The solution also provides application visibility and control.If we look at the Cisco ASA without Firepower, then one of the most valuable features is the URL filtering.It's easy to integrate ASA with other Cisco security products. When you understand the technology, it's not a big deal. It's very simple.The benefits we see from the ASA are connected to teleworking as well as, of course, having the basic functionality of a firewall in place and the prevention of attacks.On the network side, where you create your rules for allowing traffic — what can come inside and what can go out — that works perfectly, if you know what you want to achieve. It protects you.If you have a solution that is creating a script and you need to deploy many implementations, you can create a script in the device and it will be the same for all. After that, you just have to do the fine tuning.They provide DDoS protection and multi-factor authentication. That is a good option as it enables work-from-home functionality.

More Cisco ASA NGFW Pros »

The initial setup is easy.Great extensibility of the platform.Good basic firewall features.The solution is very robust.The most valuable features are the VPN and the capture photo.The scalability is very good, where you can do an HA configuration and then bring in another box, if necessary.The initial setup was simple and fast.This solution has increased the level of security, given us more control, provided a deep insight into network traffic, and is a great VPN solution.

More pfSense Pros »

We find all of the features valuable because together they fit the needs of our customers.It allows me to easily connect with more than forty-five remote sites and more than fifty remote users between IPsec and SSL VPN, applying the web filter and application filter to ensure a secure connection.Configuration troubleshooting is eased by the use of the color-coded, live firewall log.The features that I've known to be most valuable are both the web security features as well as the web firewall capabilities. As a partner of Sophos firewall, we have some clients and they are using Sophos firewall UTM and we are using it as well.Sophos UTM has improved the porting section. It has improved security by seeing the gaps. For example, when you discover that an entry has been using a certain application, with Sophos UTM acting as a Layer 7 firewall, you can block the application, not the port.The most valuable feature is the IPS. It also protects us from malware.UTM 9 brings along IPSec as well as iPhone and iPad support. This seems small but it’s useful.The isolation of infected machines is a big feature. Also, the ability to detect external sources that change files on a file server is really big.

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Cons
In NGFW, Cisco should be aligned with the new technology and inspection intelligence because Cisco is far behind in this pipeline.Security generally requires integration with many devices, and the management side of that process could be enhanced somewhat. It would help if there was a clear view of the integrations and what the easiest way to do them is.One area where the ASA could be improved is that it doesn't have AMP. When you get an ASA with the Firepower model, ASA with FTD, then you have advanced malware protection.If I want to activate IPS features on it, I have to buy another license. If I want Cisco AnyConnect, I have to buy another license. That's where we have challenges.Cisco missed the mark with all the configuration steps. They are a pain and, when doing them, it looks as if we're using a very old technology — yet the technology itself is not old, it's very good. But the front-end configuration is very tough.Cisco provides us with application visibility and control, although it's not a complete solution compared to other vendors. Cisco needs to work on the application behavior side of things, in particular when it comes to the behavior of SSL traffic.It is expensive.We were also not too thrilled when Cisco announced that in the upcoming new-gen ASA, iOS was not going to be supported, or if you install them, they will not be able to be managed through the Sourcefire. However, it seems like Cisco is moving away from the ASA iOS to the Sourcefire FireSIGHT firmware for the ASA. We haven't had a chance to test it out.

More Cisco ASA NGFW Cons »

As an open-source solution, there are so many loopholes happening within the product. By design, no one is taking ownership of it, and that is worrisome to me.User interface is a little clumsy.Layer 7 advanced firewall features are not included in the solution.The solution requires a lot of administration.If a user doesn't have a large amount of experience in Linux systems, they will have problems using this solution. Users need to be highly skilled in troubleshooting competency. Users who do not have such skills will find the product difficult to use.I would like to see different graphs available in the reporting.ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved.We would like to see ready-made profiles to cover most users' needs.

More pfSense Cons »

We would like to have unique viewable IDs for rules and in the packet filter logfile, for easier debugging of old log files.I would like to see the SD-WAN feature improved.Support for IKEv2 is needed in this solution.The only time we face a problem or issues is when we place a ticket. We have found that response is very slow.With Sophos UTM, there is a general rule in the firewall when the country blocking can block some countries from accessing your data. In the current version, you still need to add it by putting in the IP range. This feature would be helpful for administrators and it gives them the advantage to block stuff in less time.The solution could be improved by adding cloud soundboxing.We didn’t find any issues but I know there have been some in the last few years.It does have built-in policies, which enable you to disable USB devices, etc. It would be nice if they had more policies because there are not that many of them.

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Pricing and Cost Advice
Always consider what you might need to reduce your wasted time and invest it in other solutions.There is room for improvement in the pricing when compared to the market. Although, when you compare the benefits of support from Cisco, you can adjust the value and it becomes comparable, because you usually need very good support. So you gain value there with this device.When it comes to Cisco, the price of everything is higher. Cisco firewalls are expensive, but we get support from Cisco, and that support is very active.It's a brilliant firewall, and the fact that it comes with a perpetual license really does go far in terms of helping the organization in not having to deal with those costs on an annual basis. That is a pain point when it comes to services like the ones we have on Fortigate. That's where we really give Cisco firewalls the thumbs up.Cisco is expensive, but you do get benefits for the price.In terms of costs, other solutions are more expensive than Cisco. Palo Alto is more expensive than Cisco.Pricing varies on the model and the features we are using. It could be anywhere from $600 to $1000 to up to $7,000 per year, depending on what model and what feature sets are available to us.We used Check Point and the two are comparable. Cost was really what put us onto the ASAs... the price tag for Check Point was exorbitantly more than what it is for the ASA solution.

More Cisco ASA NGFW Pricing and Cost Advice »

This solution provides enterprise-level features at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise firewall.It is an open source firewall.All costs are low compared to other solutions. The hardware is stable and cheap.There is no licensing fee except for the enterprise support, if you want it.This solution was about $150,000 cheaper than the closest competitor over a three year period.

More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice »

This solution is less expensive than FortiGate.The biggest issue with Sophos is the pricing. It's definitely more expensive. As I said, we looked at Webroot, which is a big alternative, and Sophos was almost three times the price of Webroot. That's a pretty big difference.We purchased the appliance with five years onsite support and licenses.Pricing for the upgrade was very competitive as Sophos wanted to retain existing customers.Sometimes more is less, meaning if you want more than three features, take the FullGuard licence.The pricing and licensing are both good and better than Sophos's competitors. This is why we went with the product.The AWS Marketplace product should be a better fit, but it is a little pricier.Purchasing through the AWS Marketplace is pretty straightforward. Because were entirely on AWS and don't have anything anywhere else. It made the most sense for us as a one stop shop.

More Sophos UTM Pricing and Cost Advice »

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Answers from the Community
Ramyamahesh Nk
author avatarLouis Mills
User

I'd agree with Karl's comment above. PfSense is a great product but treat it like a firewall and the big bonus is it's free. It's great at what it does.
Sophos UTM on the other hand can be a beast as it's an all in one solution and can get as complex as you would like it. We have failover clustering, load balancing and make use of all of their proxies. Very easy to make initial configuration errors until you know the product and how traffic flows etc.
It can also be fairly expensive with the subscriptions eg AV, sandstorm etc
If you can afford it, go for Sophos but pfSense can also play it's part too.

author avatarLuis Castro
Real User

pfSense is opensource and has been the last 10 years in the top 10 best
firewall solutions in the world, it is free, stable, scalable, and easy to
administer ... and above all very safe, since it is one of the few systems
that could have been violated. It's free.

author avatarBob Alfson
User

In fact, Karl, the 50-IP free version is for home use only, and not even then if it also protects business assets. You did a great job of explaining the difference, so I won't comment further.

To the original poster, it's cheaper to hire a Sophos consultant to create your original configuration. It costs twice as much to get a configuration "repaired" that wasn't correctly designed. A Sophos Solution Partner that has a Sophos Certified Architect with plenty of experience and good referrals is probably your best bet.

author avatarreviewer241575 (Director with 11-50 employees)
User

With Sophos is easy to configure and you have the support from the frabicant, with pfSense you have to learn from the community and learning curve is a little hard, last occasion with pfSense it don't have support for vpn dynamic, with Sophos they have RED equipment that is an extension from the core, only you need the serial number from the remote equipment and you have the vpn , both are great equipment and software, depend of the budget, pfSense is free and they have support if you pay the license very cheap

author avatarKarl Hart, Acse, Ceh, Chfi, Cissp
Real User

pfSense is just a basic firewall with VPN and Captive Portal functionality but does its job great. Only needs minimum resources to function. Price is right (FREE)
Sophos UTM is much more, hence the UTM. It does firewall, advance threat protection, VPN, Secure web gateway, email protection (AV, Spam, Encryption, and DLP), endpoint protection, Mobile Device control, Web Application Firewall, User Portal, built in reporting, and central management. It does require more resources but you get a lot more out of it. Two options depending on the size of your office, commercial version or the Free version that you can build on your own hardware. The free version is restricted to 50 IP addresses. (https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-utm-home-edition.aspx)
I have used both and both have their place but using Sophos in my environment just because it offers a lot more functionality, nice dashboard, reports, and easy to use through the GUI.

author avatarFrankWhite
Real User

One other big difference is that pfSense is FreeBSD based while Sophos UTM is linux based. It is also worth having a lool on cacheguard which is a proxy oriented product and also Linux based.

author avatarreviewer772704 (IT Manager with 51-200 employees)
User

I´m afraid I am not able to help in this matter. We´ve decided to for FortiGate as services, based on our relationship with our IT security provider and the FortiGate reviews available on the net.

We used to use pfSence for one particular open network but let the full control on de FortiGate. During the investigation and analysis period we thought of Sophos but felt more comfortable going for FortiGate pretty much based on price and our relationship with our IT security provider. Hence my experience wouldn´t help in this case.

My best advice would is to refer to the article available on:
https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/comparisons/pfsense_vs_sophos-utm

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Also Known As
Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire FirewallsAstaro
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Overview

Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) is Cisco's end-to-end software solution and core operating system that powers the Cisco ASA product series. This software solution provides enterprise-level firewall capabilities for all types of ASA products, including blades, standalone appliances and virtual devices. Adaptive Security Appliance provides protection to organizations of all sizes, and allows end-users to access information securely anywhere, at any time, and through any device.

Adaptive Security Appliance is also fully compatible with other key security technologies, and so provides organizations with an all-encompassing security solution.

Block more threats and quickly mitigate those that do breach your defenses with the industry’s first threat-focused NGFW.

Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.The global network of highly skilled researchers and analysts, protecting businesses from known and emerging malware - viruses, rootkits and spyware.
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Learn more about Cisco ASA NGFW
Learn more about pfSense
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Sample Customers
There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, FirespringOne Housing Group
Top Industries
REVIEWERS
Financial Services Firm20%
Manufacturing Company10%
Comms Service Provider9%
University8%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Computer Software Company28%
Comms Service Provider21%
Media Company7%
Government5%
REVIEWERS
University18%
Comms Service Provider14%
Construction Company9%
Energy/Utilities Company9%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Computer Software Company22%
Comms Service Provider22%
Media Company9%
K 12 Educational Company Or School6%
REVIEWERS
Comms Service Provider11%
Financial Services Firm11%
Healthcare Company11%
Construction Company6%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Comms Service Provider25%
Computer Software Company23%
Media Company9%
Government5%
Company Size
REVIEWERS
Small Business35%
Midsize Enterprise25%
Large Enterprise40%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business32%
Midsize Enterprise21%
Large Enterprise46%
REVIEWERS
Small Business68%
Midsize Enterprise18%
Large Enterprise14%
REVIEWERS
Small Business62%
Midsize Enterprise18%
Large Enterprise20%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business66%
Midsize Enterprise19%
Large Enterprise15%
Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos UTM vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: March 2020.
431,081 professionals have used our research since 2012.

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