Sophos Cloud review
If you want your cloud security policies to apply to users as well as devices then Sophos Cloud is for you. In a stroke, it makes it far more versatile than device-based options; for example, we could create security policies that followed users regardless of which device they logged in from.
Sophos easily has the best support for iOS and Android devices. The former gets the lion’s share of features: along with passcode and complexity enforcement, we could control access to features such as the App Store, camera, screenshots and iCloud backup. Celebrities take note.
We also used policies to control which wireless networks mobile users could connect to and request alerts if their OS versions weren’t up to date. You can also set web-filtering rules and policies to control company Exchange Server credentials.
Deployment to an iPad requires an Apple Push Certificate (created from Apple’s website using your Apple account, where it asks for the certificate generated from the Sophos portal) and a download link for iOS; the latter is emailed to the mobile user via the cloud portal.
Once the app connected, it enforced our passcode policy, controlled access to apps and allowed us to issue remote lock commands from the portal.
Static devices such as desktops aren’t left out in cold as a base security policy is applied to everything. Sophos enables the real-time malware scanner by default, while access to removable media can be restricted or just monitored. We also played with Sophos’ beta Windows agent, which adds a Server tab to the portal and provides a specific set of more basic policies for these systems.
For web filtering, we could tweak the base policy or create new ones and choose from a wide range of settings. These include blocking adverts and dodgy file downloads, using one of four predefined URL-filtering policies or setting our own web-usage restrictions.
We were less impressed by software deployment to Windows systems. Clumsily, the installer utility downloads the entire 156MB agent package for each one; a single install took almost 15 minutes, while simultaneous installs on four devices took a total of 25 minutes.
The good news: the agent was preconfigured for our account and each system appeared in the portal in seconds. Sophos also adds details of the current user logged in when the agent was installed and we used the new AD Sync tool to import users from our Active Directory server.
We had problems with AD Sync’s secure LDAP mode as it refused to access our server. Online help is minimal but we fixed it by selecting non-secure LDAP mode and changing the port number.
The cloud portal’s dashboard comprises three big panels with clear overviews of all alerts, activities and web stats plus detailed reporting services. It’s quick too: after introducing real malware to clients, the Action Center pane changed to red alert status in only 25 seconds – the same amount of time it took to push out a global USB storage device block policy.
This speed carried on elsewhere. Our remote quick scan request to a dual E5-2400 Xeon Windows Server 2012 R2 system fired up in less than 20 seconds and completed in 5 minutes, while a locally run full scan of its 72GB system drive took only 47 minutes.
Sophos is a safe pair of hands as well, scoring 96% for AV-Test’s zero-day detection and returning a clean sheet in the widespread malware test. Sophos also scored well in a recent Dennis Technology Labs Small Business Anti-Virus test.
Sophos Cloud isn’t the cheapest but we think it’s worth the extra outlay: it’s a pleasure to use and packed with quality features. Combining the lightning-quick portal with its user-based policies and top-notch mobile support makes it our A List cloud security solution.