Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10 review

Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10 can be used as protection for a single Windows PC or laptop and comprises anti-virus software and a firewall. Extra modules, such as web security, mobile protection and data encryption can be added optionally. It's available primarily through download and is quick and painless to install.

The main control screen for Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10 is businesslike and easy to navigate. You can easily instigate scans and set up schedules to have them run automatically. Similarly, you can configure the firewall and specify black- and whitelists of applications and processes. See also: Group test: what's the best security software?

In use, Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10 is discreet, though by default the firewall does pop-up alerts each time an application tries to access the local network or the internet. You would expect it to do this, until it learns which applications you consider safe; but like other firewall products, the requests can be fairly meaningless. How do you deal with an alert saying, for example, 'The system is attempting to communicate via IGMP protocol'?

Okay, you can Google 'IGMP' to find out that it's a 'communications protocol used by hosts and adjacent routers on IP networks to establish multicast group memberships', but does that help decide if it should be allowed to go about its business? This pop-up may be reasonable for network customers with an IT department to call on, but if you're running a small business or home office, the temptation is to accept everything, just to get on with your work.

AV-Test scored the Sophos 9.7 engine at 11/18 – not a particularly high score, although it was certified. Although usability scored 4.5/6.0, protection against malware only warranted 3.5/6.0 and repair of an existing infected system dipped to 3.0/6.0, with only 49 percent of modifications made by the malware sample being successfully corrected. The version we reviewed is 10.0, which has yet to be tested by AV-Test – we'll have to hope it improves over version 9.7.

Our own tests showed Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10 to be quick at a standard scan. It examined 8973 files in our test basket in 15 minutes 16 seconds. Though this gives a fairly low scan rate of 9.8 files per second, the scan includes an automatic memory and rootkit check, which the product performs during all file scans.

Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10's background processes don't put much burden on a system, with our 1GB file copy taking 35 seconds, the best time we've yet seen. However that is still twice as long as with no AV software installed. With a scan running, the same copy took 1 min 42 secs, giving it a heavier performance slowdown than all but the 2012 wares of Webroot and AVG.

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Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 10: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Windows Server 2008/2003 32-/64-bit
  • 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 500MB drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Windows Server 2008/2003 32-/64-bit
  • 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 500MB drive space

OUR VERDICT

Although Sophos products are designed primarily as network-administered, system-wide protection tools for Enterprise, Sophos Endpoint Anti-Virus 2012 is designed for smaller, localised systems. The most recent version tested by AV-Test is not a strong contender, but version 10 may improve on this. For a small installation, it's not a cheap or particularly well-featured option.

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