Firewalls have come a long way since their inception in the year 1908s. The initial firewall was built by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as a packet filtering firewall which simply inspected packet traffic and if it doesn’t match rules packet is either dropped or rejected. In the year 1989 stateful inspections firewalls emerged which were more robust. In 2004, IDC coined the term Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewalls and the latest is XG or NGFW firewalls.
Today we look more in detail about two firewalls from Sophos – Sophos Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewall and Sophos XG firewall, understand their key differences and features.
About Sophos UTM
Sophos UTM is a threat management system designed to protect businesses from emerging threats related to malware including viruses, Worms, rootkit, spyware and ransomware. Sophos UTM provides variety of functions related to web and email filtering, network protection, network routing services, advanced threat protection, authentication, Email encryption, Data Leakage Prevention (DLP), web policies, VPN IPsec client, VPN SSL client and clientless VPN, Logging and reporting.
Features of Sophos UTM
- Simplification of security management and reduction in complexity of multiple point solutions
- Detailed reports to give insight into how to improvise network performance and protection
- Complete control to block, allow, shape and prioritization of applications
- Two factor authentication with OTP
- Integrated wireless controller
- Allows to connect remote offices securely with VPN and Wi-Fi services
About Sophos XG firewall
Sophos XG firewall is next generation network firewall (NGFW) which provides capabilities to expose hidden risks, blocks unknown threats and automatically responds to incidents by doing isolation of compromised systems, and exposes hidden users, applications and threat risks in the network. It includes synchronized security (linking endpoints and firewall to enable to share and communicate information, identification of compromised systems and put them in isolation until they are cleaned up), a web application firewall, email protection, ransomware protection, phishing prevention and unified interface for all firewall rules with a secure web gateway.
Features of Sophos XG Firewall
- Deep packet inspection with IPS, ATP, URL filtering, and in-depth reporting
- Bidirectional AV (antivirus) for WAF (web application firewall) with authentication offloading
- Path based routing and country level blocking
- Self-services SSL
- Synchronized security to link endpoints, cloud workloads and firewall to relay health status and immediate response to network threats
Sophos UTM Vs Sophos XG Firewall
- Sophos UTM is a Universal Threat Manager while Sophos XG is just a hardware firewall.
- Sophos UTM update cycles are extremely extended, usually updates come once in four months and no new features. Sophos XG firewall OS is completely different and almost every seven weeks new maintenance releases and 1 or 2 minor releases with new features come up.
- Sophos UTM is not compatible with APX access points. The Sophos XG firewall hardware supports APX access points (portfolio of access points with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac Wave 2) technology) to support better performance, throughput and security.
- Sophos UTM has less integration since it is a separate product and formerly was Astaro firewall. Sophos XG has integration with other products like intercept X and admin from Sophos central.
- Sophos UTM do not permit assigned of its own name to firewall rules. Sophos XG firewall management of firewall rules is much cleaner and can be grouped together such as one group for IoT devices and you can assign firewall rule its own name. Longer comments are supported to record who created rule and what the purpose it is created for. Each rule is assigned an ID and same can be referenced in log to identify what traffic goes through it.
- Sophos UTM don’t have the synchronized security feature. Sophos XG offers synchronized security which interacts between endpoints and firewall and help to contain lateral movement of an infected system.
Below table summarizes the differences between the two types of Sophos Firewalls:
Download the comparison table: Sophos UTM vs Sophos XG