What independent reviewers think about Sophos XG Firewall with Security Heartbeat

heartbeat-150If you’re a subscriber to the Sophos Blog you can’t have missed the news that we recently released our latest and greatest next-gen firewall and UTM platform, Sophos XG Firewall.

Naturally, we want to spread the word far and wide about features like the Security Heartbeat,™ the first in a new era of synchronized security. What’s extremely pleasing is that, in the rare moments when we’re not talking about it, others are filling the silence for us. Not just anybody, but a host of security experts, analysts and independent reviewers – and they think synchronized security is a really big deal too.

We recently shared the thoughts of our senior management team and those of some of our partners and customers. Now the experts have had time to get some first-hand experience testing the product, and they’re starting to report back on their findings. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, confirming that we have something special on our hands.

First, ESG Lab conducted tests of the Security Heartbeat capability providing synchronized security between a Sophos Next-Gen Firewall (NGFW) and endpoints running Next-Gen Enduser Protection (NGEP).

The ESG Lab tests showed how the Security Heartbeat provided real-time information, allowing the NGFW to isolate an endpoint that had detected malicious and potentially unwanted behavior. In another test, the NGFW was able to detect unknown malware by network behavior, and used the Security Heartbeat to identify the endpoint, user and application. The NGFW isolated the endpoint and change the endpoint’s Heartbeat status to red, notifying the user within one second of the malware detection. Meanwhile, the endpoint stopped and attempted to remove the malware. The whole process took a total of eight (8) seconds, and required no administrator intervention.

Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at ESG, viewed the tests and noted:

I have seen how the information passed in the Security Heartbeat has the potential to mitigate business risk, helping organizations accelerate the speed of detection and response. It is not just management interface integration; the two products share valuable information that can make each one more effective and efficient. For companies who do not have the luxury of extensive in-house security teams, this new approach can help bolster productivity while streamlining security operations.

Another independent analyst firm, 451 Research, observed that synchronized security is the future of where the industry needs to go. Sophos’s innovations will put pressure on other midmarket security vendors to follow suit, according to the report by 451 Research’s Eric Ogren:

We think Sophos is onto something good with its regular heartbeat checks between endpoint, network and management software at 15-second intervals, in a move that demonstrates where synchronized security infrastructure needs to go.

Ogren goes on to say that Sophos XG Firewall with Security Heartbeat software is “a significant innovation that can raise security performance standards for medium-sized organizations.”

You can read the full 451 Research report here: Sophos’s Heartbeat Puts the Pressure on Midmarket Security Vendors.

Vice president of security products at IDC, Christian Christiansen, also believes Sophos has leaped ahead of the competition, saying:

No other company is close to delivering this type of synchronized and integrated communication between endpoint and network security products. 

David Strom, a well-known security expert and former editor-in-chief of Tom’s Hardware, tested Sophos XG Firewall in November 2015. Demonstrating how the product works in a short video, Strom noted how the Security Heartbeat is “such an obvious benefit” that this innovation makes you “wonder why it hasn’t been done before.”

Reaction has been great too in Europe too: Peter Güldenpfennig of WINMAG Pro in the Netherlands took the Sophos XG Firewall for a test drive and gave it top marks, saying the Sophos XG 135w is “a remarkably powerful firewall suited for all kinds of SMBs.”

He particularly liked the ability to enforce policies and report by User ID with our patented Layer 8 user identity technology and new User Threat Quotient reports, saying: “it tells you which users on your network pose an immediate threat. Very useful, detailed and remarkable reporting capabilities.”

So what can we conclude from all these comments? It’s natural to ignore the marketing hype when it comes to new products. But when this many respected security industry experts, coupled with our partners and customers, are saying that synchronized security is an industry-changing innovation, maybe, just maybe it’s time to take a look for yourself.

Learn more about Security Heartbeat and see Sophos XG Firewall in action at sophos.com/xgfirewall. And if you want to get hands on, try it out with our free home edition or sign up for a 30-day trial in your business.

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