Product Information

Sophos Enterprise Manager and Sophos Anti-Virus

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July 01, 2003
Website:

http://www.sophos.com

Price

Free (included with AV license; $600 for 10 users)

RATING BREAKDOWN

  • Features:
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  • Ease of Use:
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  • Performance:
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  • Documentation:
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  • Support:
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  • Value for Money:
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  • Overall Rating:
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QUICK READ

  • Strengths:

    Excellent documentation.

  • Weaknesses:

    Lacks a browser interface.

  • Verdict:

    Strong multi-platform suite with a good, if not exceptional, management component.

Sophos sent us the Sophos Enterprise Manager suite, which really consists of two components. SAVAdmin controls client activities, and the Enterprise Manager collects updates and software packages for deployment.

The SAVAdmin tool presents a familiar 'network neighborhood' view of client systems, with details on the state of upgrades, installed products and basic information. From this view, it is easy to schedule tasks, view logs and push updates out to specific clients or groups of systems.

The Enterprise Manager controls the central deployment of software and updates, which are held in libraries. You subscribe to 'packages' of individual products (including previous versions) which the system creates install repositories for. Client machines can then be subscribed to these packages for updates. There is lots of flexibility in custom tasks, too, allowing specific configurations for subsets of clients, which allows, for example, users to defer upgrades, and so on.

The Enterprise Manager interface plugs into the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), so the look and feel is consistent with other Windows configuration tools. There is no web admin tool, which is a shame, and the use of NetBIOS names for discovering and managing client systems feels limiting, but it is fair in context - if the system cannot talk NetBIOS to the client, it will not be able to install software either. This is a consistent theme: although Sophos offers anti-virus products for a wide range of OSs including NetWare, Linux and MacOS, the management facilities are Windows only.

One of the system's most useful features is the ability to detect new workstations connecting to the network and push anti-virus software down to it immediately.

Reporting is limited. Though error logs offer basic information, you have to find it. And virus activity shows up under scan logs but does not go out of its way to attract attention. The company has promised to deliver a reporting package to improve reporting and create summaries of infection incidents.

The documentation and presentation of the product is easily the best of the bunch - Sophos provides full printed manuals in a cardboard shelf holder, with PDF versions of the whole lot on disk.

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