The Sophos Web Appliance features a solid URL and reputation filter that uses more than 50 different categories to scan web pages, as well as real-time malware scanning to protect the enterprise from several web-based threats. By scanning the content of the file rather than just the file extension, this appliance also has the ability to scan many various file types for threats.

Deployment of this appliance is quite easy. When the appliance is plugged into a web browser on a network-connected machine, the first time a connection is made the appliance launches a short setup wizard. This wizard not only helps set IP and network configuration but also assists in setting up a base policy. At the completion of the wizard, the appliance will register with Sophos and download the latest software updates so that as soon as it reboots it is ready to go.

All management is done through the web GUI. We found this GUI to be intuitive to navigate with a very clean and organized layout. Along with this layout is a well-put-together dashboard with current statistics, such as web traffic and recently blocked sites and viruses. The default policy established at the initial setup is solid but can be tweaked or a new custom policy added easily.

Documentation included a short setup guide, as well as an installation guide and a help document. We found the setup and installation guides to be nicely put together with clear step-by-step instructions and screen shots, but the appliance help file was very basic and included no screen shots.

Sophos offers standard support to all customers and that includes 24/7/365 phone and email technical assistance, as well as other resources.

At a price just under $2,500 for the appliance itself, and then $18 per user, this could become pricey for larger environments. However, the tool does offer some very solid out-of-the-box functionality that is easy to manage, which is why we find it to be a good value for the money.