Sophos Security Suite Small Business Edition 2 review
An effective all-in-one solution that provides protection for small businesses from hackers, adware and viruses.
Review Date: 16 Feb 2007
Reviewed By: Ian Parsons
Price when reviewed: exc VAT for 5 user licences for one year (includes first year premium maintenance)
Sophos' Security Suite Small Business Edition offers anti-virus and firewall software for workstations and servers. It uses a similar centralised download and distribution architecture to the Enterprise versions, but lacks OS support and remote administration. The Sophos Control Center Library is a central repository for the anti-virus and firewall software, as well as the signature files downloaded from Sophos' web servers. Networked workstations retrieve their software and signature updates from this library instead of the internet, although they can be configured to use Sophos' servers if the library host is unavailable.
The centralised architecture reduces internet download traffic, and the centralised management and reporting facilities that come with it are of great use in small businesses where support personnel and time are at a premium.
Installation is straightforward and needs almost no user input. Once complete, the software launches a network protection wizard, which automatically scans the network for unprotected computers, and then offers to install anti-virus and firewall software on them. Firewall software can only be installed on workstations, not servers. It's possible to install the Control Center software and Library on a workstation running either Windows 2000 or XP, but a Windows Server is Sophos' preferred environment.
The Control Center provides a concise report of the state of the networked PCs under its control. Virus warning messages are displayed both in the Control Center and on the affected system, and alerts can be sent via email or network messaging. Reporting facilities are simple but effective, giving details in tabular or chart form. Weekly reports can be set up and emailed to designated users.
The anti-virus scanning engine is highly configurable. Scans that would normally be triggered when files are read can also be activated when a file is written or renamed; file types can be included or excluded on the basis of their file extensions; and there are a number of options for quarantining and disposing of infections. Unusually, the software also maintains a list of potentially unwanted apps. This includes remote administration software and adware programs. Any app that's legitimately present can be added to a list of approved apps and will no longer cause an alert. These are all global changes, though, applicable to all systems, with no way to set up individual or group policies.
The package also includes Sophos' PureMessage, which provides protection for Microsoft Exchange and IIS SMTP gateways. PureMessage scans emails for viruses, evaluates attachments for threats such as executable content, and blocks spam. It can scan newsgroups for viruses and can also scan Exchange message stores.
On test, the software performed well, detecting all the viruses and trojans we offered it, both as direct downloads from websites and as email attachments. With this dependable performance and comprehensive reporting, Sophos Security Suite Small Business Edition 2 offers a tempting package to keep viruses off your corporate network.
Author: Ian Parsons
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