Sophos Web Appliance 4.1 adds granular application control and instant visibility

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SWA 4.1Hot on the heels of Sophos Cloud Web Gateway, we’re demonstrating our renewed investment in Secure Web Gateway and our leadership in this market with another exciting release.

We’re pleased to announce the release of version 4.1 of the Sophos Web Appliance (SWA). This update adds the flexibility to configure granular control and reporting on the use of LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox and many more web applications.

Why control web applications?

Social media sites such as Facebook have become an everyday component of both business and personal life. Organizations understand the value of using Facebook to promote brand loyalty and build awareness. However, they also need to keep their employees productive and focused on activity that drives their business forward. Lack of control and visibility of web application use can lead to hours wasted on Facebook games, or Internet bandwidth consumed by uploads of gigabytes of personal photos.

Cloud-based file sharing services such as Dropbox have their place in modern business, improving collaboration and productivity. However, without IT department sanction, or in the wrong hands, these apps can lead to confidential data loss or malware infection. Allowing file attachments to Gmail and Outlook.com webmail poses similar threats to an organization.

What’s new in SWA 4.1?

With SWA you already had comprehensive tools to easily customize policies to meet compliance obligations, manage productivity, optimize bandwidth, and keep your users and organization safe while online.

Now in SWA 4.1, we’ve added powerful, granular control and visibility of web applications for individual features in Facebook, YouTube and many more.

New reports for greater visibility

Management consultant Peter Drucker famously once said: “If you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it.”

Organizations need effective reporting to measure web application usage. This visibility helps web administrators design new policies to preserve bandwidth and quickly identify individual employee misuse of company resources.

To support this visibility, in version 4.1, we have added two new reports to SWA’s already comprehensive collection:

1. Top Web Application Users – helps identify misuse of company resources by individual users.

SWA Top Web Application Users screenshot

2. Web Application Usage – helps highlight which apps and features are generating the most traffic

Web Application Usage screenshot

Now that you’ve measured web application usage – you can manage it!

Granular web application control

SWA is already renowned for its simplicity and “three clicks to anywhere” design philosophy. Web application control follows these same ease-of-use criteria and is efficiently integrated into the web policy – it’s not a separate module or product to manage or install. Sophos web application controls can help you:

  • Improve productivity – implement web application policies by users and groups. For example, allow your marketing director full access to Facebook while your social media team can manage comments but not play games or install plugins.
  • Preserve bandwidth – create web application time-of-day policies. For example, stop staff from uploading photos to Facebook during work hours.
  • Help stop loss of confidential data or malware infection. For example, enforce policies to prevent uploads or downloads to Dropbox or attachments in webmail.

SWA Facebook screenshot

Existing SWA customers will receive these new features automatically during your next specified update window.

Go to this link for the SWA 4.1 release notes.

And the innovation doesn’t stop here – the team is going to make some significant waves in 2016 with a hybrid Secure Web Gateway that will work like nothing else in the industry. Our next-generation Secure Web Gateway will offer a seamless migration path for both web appliance and cloud customers, so your investment is protected whatever you choose today.

Watch our video for an overview of the exciting new Sophos Web Appliance, offering powerful, granular control and visibility for web applications.

6 Comments

When will this be available to current subscribers? Our virtual appliance shows version 4.0.4.2, and the download page shows a 3.x version.

Reply

Yes, the upgrade will be applied automatically to all Sophos Web Appliances (hardware and virtual) during their regular update window sometime during the next few weeks as the roll-out gets fully underway.

Existing Sophos Web Appliance customers get this upgrade at no extra charge and no action is required to take advantage of this upgrade.

Reply

Does this feature require HTTPS scanning to function?

Reply

Hi, you’ll get the most out of web application controls by enabling HTTPS Scanning. Using HTTP scanning only, your SWA can block or allow applications, but to get full management capability and visibility at a feature by feature level requires HTTPS traffic to be decrypted with the HTTPS Scanning feature. Hope that helps!

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