Strengths: Easy to use, comprehensive approach to web content filtering and management.
Weaknesses: Can be expensive for smaller environments.
Verdict: An appliance with a comprehensive three-stage approach to managing web content.
SummaryThe Sophos WS1000 looks at web content management in three segments: The first is through a URL/reputation filter, which includes a database of 54 categories covering four billion pages in 200 languages. This is also supplemented by a database of sites currently hosting malware. The second segment is a real-time malware scanner, which blocks all malware, adware and potentially unwanted applications in real-time. The third is content control, which provides real-time content analysis and sorts and controls access to 32 unique content types.
This appliance was easy to use from the moment we took it out of the box. The initial setup is done by connecting the appliance to a management computer and browsing to the preconfigured IP address using a web browser. From there, we were brought to an easy-to-follow setup wizard, which not only helped us configure the IP settings, but also put a default policy in place. At the conclusion of the setup wizard, the appliance updates itself and it is ready to go. From there, all management is done using the intuitive web GUI.
This appliance can also easily integrate with Active Directory 2008, 2003 and 2000, which makes assigning policies easy and quite efficient. We found policy configuration to be simple and intuitive, while still being granular and controllable.
Documentation for this appliance is provided in a paper quick-start guide, which illustrates basic setup and accessing the appliance for first time, and an administrator guide, which can be found on the appliance once everything is up and running.
Sophos offers standard phone and email support 24/7/365 included in the license fee of the appliance. Other support options can be purchased as part of a maintenance contract.
With a price starting at around $6,600, this appliance is not at the cheap end of the price spectrum. However, we find it to be a good value for the money. This appliance is packed with solid features and it has very little administration or learning curve overhead.