[Review] Sophos Web Appliance
by, 1st July 2011 at 12:23 PM (13038 Views)
We are moving away from our LEA supplied broadband solution so the next step is to replace our ageing cachepilot. Having used the cachepilot for over 5 years now I can safely say its holding us back on creating a fast reliable internet service.
We looked at a number of different options for school wide filtering proxy including:
Equiinet Cache pilot
I've used the latest firmware version and I find it incredibly slow to scan and respond to webpages. It uses some smoothwall technology to scan live pages which is good but the hardware didn't seem to be able to keep up. The user interface is dire, it looks like it was designed by a linux geek. Just as an example it takes over 7 clicks to block a single page.
I tested the smoothwall box after recommendations from this forum but I have to say I was disappointed. The hardware was old using a very power draining CPU, and the box was huge and unattractive. The initial price was high (although they were prepared to knock a few grand off when asked). the demo boxes were also shipped from Germany which was disappointing. I found the user interface unnecessarily complicated to do simple tasks but I did find it powerful.
Sophos web appliance WS1100
First impressions of the box were excellent. Its small, beautifully designed and reasonably quiet to run. The interface is second to none, they have a rule that everything should be done within 3 clicks, all the common functions can be done in 2 clicks which makes it even faster to use. The wizard setup interface is one of the best I have ever seen and setting up active directory took one line of input to point it to our domain controller. I love the main dashboard page which shows the total bandwidth being consumed live. There are also traffic pattern graphs for the day to show the peaks and troughs. Basically the main dashboard gives a wealth of information on the schools internet connection.
I never tested Bloxx but the high quoted price put me off before I had a chance. Would be interested to know if anyone else uses them?
So there you have it, I don't think I've been so pleased with a piece of hardware in a long time. It worked out of the box, was easy to setup, the price was as good as any other quote I got and it even looks really good in my server cabinet I swapped over the proxy today for staff and I can already see the logs filling up with websites visited. I have also had 2 comments from staff about the internet being fast today. Best of all we now have active directory based group policies so our teachers can use iplayer during lessons but the students can't during school time. We have also setup time limits so the boarders can have a more relaxed policy from 8-10pm each night.
Very very pleased with this an good to know its a UK company as well. This is how all filtering software should be!
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