Sophos Endpoint Security and Control
Strengths: An elegant solution, which does not place undue burden on the administrator.
Weaknesses: Endpoint encryption is due in late 2008.
Verdict: A great balance between ease of use and security, plus free lifetime support, puts Sophos Endpoint Security and Control in the Recommended category.
The Sophos Endpoint Security and Control is a subset of the Sophos Network Access Control Advanced. The applications are so similar that it would be easy to confuse the two if they were sitting side by side. There is even a webpage on the Sophos website that compares the two products and the differences are very slight. As with the NAC product, endpoint security and control is a well-designed offering. It balances the need for ease of administration with network protection. Also, the tool uses a Windows 2K3 Server with SQL installed as a platform for the software-based offering.
There are two modes for NAC using endpoint security and control. First is an agent-based install where a client is loaded onto each machine. The second method uses a web browser and an ActiveX control. Regardless, the policy is pulled from the Sophos configuration interface, which resides on the Windows 2K3 Server.
One of the differences between Endpoint Security and Control and NAC Advanced is that the latter offers support for third-party firewall and anti-virus products, but Endpoint Security and Control requires the use of the Sophos products. If the client fails to meet those criteria, the machine can be placed in either a partially compliant state or, if more controls are missing, the device will be placed in a non-compliant state.
Sophos Endpoint Security and Control has only one method for enforcing the network policy should a device be placed into a non-compliant state. This method works with a Microsoft DHCP server to assign an address, which only allows the client to have access to the remediation server and the internet.
Sophos includes 24/7 support to all users with no additional charge. There are extended options - premium and platinum.
The pricing is based on per seat licensing. The per seat fees are $43 per user per year with a minimum of 100 seats. This places the software in the middle to upper range of products in this group review, but when free lifetime support is added into the cost, the offering is very affordable.