Sophos WS1000 appliance
Strengths: Highly flexible policy configuration with high-end technology
Weaknesses: Very high cost
Verdict: Big capability at a big price
The Sophos Web Appliance WS1000 effectively and seamlessly blocks spyware, phishing, virus, malware and other web-born threats at the gateway. It also allows granular administrative control over permitted actions. The use of Sophos Behavioural Genotype Technology is, according to the vendor, the key to stopping malicious threats, malware and even encrypted malware prior to allowing malicious code to run within your enterprise.
The WS1000 uses bi-directional traffic inspection of in- and outbound web traffic. This product features a web based management console that is easy to navigate for administration, user activity, policy configurations, compliance and web-traffic load all in a user-friendly dashboard configuration.
The WS1000 is easy to use from the moment it is taken out of the box. Setup and initial configuration via the setup wizard took just a few minutes. The default policy was quite comprehensive and required little configuration. We also liked the clean and organised web GUI, which was not only very nice to look at, but it was intuitive and easy to navigate as well.
This product has some great performance features. It can become a web proxy and plug directly into Active Directory or existing LDAP infrastructures. There is also a policy test feature that shows exactly what policy applies to specific users and groups to make sure policies are accurately configured.
The documentation is complete and administrator-friendly. Sophos has emphasised critical sections such as the configuration and reporting, leaving nothing to chance. A good use of screenshots and easy-to-follow outlines limit input error during deployment.
Support includes 24/7 telephone technical assistance. As the WS1000 is a managed appliance, Sophos proactively monitors it for connection failures and event-driven alerts, with on-demand remote access assistance included in the base price. The website also offers a knowledge base library with FAQs, downloads and user manuals within a customer secured portal.
At £19,500, this product's high functionality comes at a very high price. But we still consider it good value for money for organisations that can afford it and need the power of a managed appliance.