Sophos NAC Advanced
Strengths: Full-scale NAC that is subscription-based, which includes all support and updates.
Weaknesses: Difficult installation and management.
Verdict: Could be a bit easier to install and manage, but a strong product nonetheless.
SummaryThe NAC Advanced from Sophos is a software-based access control and compliance platform. With this tool, administrators can configure and roll-out policies based on users and groups in Microsoft Active Directory, as well as handle guest access with the use of a dissolvable Java-based agent. This product can use dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), 802.1X, Cisco NAC and VPN policies to provide complete coverage of network devices and clients.
Installation and configuration is a little tricky as it is software-based and has certain pre-installation requirements. The software can be installed on a Windows Server 2003 box that is running IIS for the web server component. The installation is guided by a setup wizard and the wizard will help in installing the necessary components. However, once the software is installed, it is not very intuitive to configure and get running. We found the web GUI
management interface to be simple to navigate, but not intuitive to use.
Also not intuitive was policy configuration. The software comes with a small amount of base policies that provide some initial requirements, but we had some trouble configuring our own policies. We did find that once we became more acquainted with the system that it did have a lot of functionality and flexibility, especially with the various enforcement mechanisms.
Documentation is available as several downloadable PDFs from the support website. We would have liked to have seen them better organized and maybe consolidated a little bit.
Sophos provides 24/7 phone, email and web-based support included in the subscription price. This also includes access to an online support area with many resources.
With a price of about $25 per user per year for 500 users, this product may seem pricey at first, but we find it to be a good value for the money, as this price includes full technical support, as well as product upgrades, which add to its overall value.