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Sophos UTM vs pfSense comparison

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Buyer's Guide
Sophos UTM vs. pfSense
March 2020
Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos UTM vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: March 2020.
607,127 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"I have integrated it for incidence response. If there is a security event, the Cisco firewall will automatically block the traffic, which is valuable.""It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective.""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem.""I like that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is reliable. Support is also good.""Feature-wise, we mostly use IPS because it is a security requirement to protect against attacks from outside and inside. This is where IPS helps us out a bunch.""The customer service/technical support is very good with this solution.""Firepower has reduced our firewall operational costs by about 25 percent.""The most valuable feature would be ASDM. The ability to go in, visualize and see the world base in a clear and consistent manner is very powerful."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"It is a very good solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees. It is the best way to provide a remote work facility to employees at a very low cost. Other solutions that I have had in the past were very expensive. Enterprises don't always have that kind of money to invest.""The initial setup was simple and fast.""Is good at blocking IP addresses.""The solution is fairly scalable when it comes to integrating with other applications and data sets.""The most valuable features of pfSense are the reports, monitoring, filtration, and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.""Great extensibility of the platform.""The GUI is easy to understand.""Good basic firewall features."

More pfSense Pros →

"Sophos UTM provides security for our network here and access through a VPN connection for our remote users. It also offers the flexibility to create different tools for accessibility.""The solution is easy to handle and configure.""The initial setup is pretty easy.""Sophos SG UTM had all the basic functionality that you needed. It is user-friendly and easy to manage for any integrator.""We've found the technical support to be helpful.""Sophos UTM has a good user interface and granular security controls.""The cost of the solution is very reasonable.""So far, the solution has been problem-free."

More Sophos UTM Pros →

Cons
"Most of the features don't work well, and some features are missing as well.""We only have an issue with time sync with Cisco ASA and NTP. If the time is out of sync, it will be a disaster for the failover.""The maturity needs to be better.""The performance should be improved.""This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI).""One of my colleagues is using the firewall as an IPS, but he is worried about Firepower's performance... With the 10 Gb devices, when it gets to 5 Gbps, the CPU usage goes up a lot and he cannot manage the IPS.""Implementations require the use of a console. It would help if the console was embedded.""FirePOWER does a good job when it comes to providing us with visibility into threats, but I would like to see a more proactive stance to it."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"The solution could use better reporting. They need to offer more of it in general. Right now, the graphics aren't the best. If you need to provide a report to a manager, for example, it doesn't look great. They need to make it easier to understand and give users the ability to customize them.""The integration should be improved.""The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe.""This solution is good for small businesses but it is not as stable as other competitors such as Fortinet.""I tried pfSense, and it has a big issue with file system consistency, and this is what drove me to OPNsense. The file system stability is quite a big issue for us. We have a lot of outages related to power issues, and OPNsense is much more stable on this side.""The main problem with pfSense is that it lacks adequate ransomware protection.""The integration could be improved.""I'd like to find something in pfSense that is more specific to URL filtering. We have customers who would like to filter their web traffic. They would like to be able to say to their employees, "You can surf the web, but you cannot get access to Facebook or other social media," or "You can surf the web, but you're not allowed to gamble or watch porn on the web." My technicians say that doing this kind of stuff with pfSense nowadays is not easy. They can implement some filters using IP addresses but not by using the names of the domains and categories. So, we are not able to exclude some categories from the allowed traffic, such as porn, gambling, etc. To do that, we have to use another product and another web filter that uses DNS. I know that there are some third-party products that could work with pfSense, but I'd like the native pfSense solution to do that."

More pfSense Cons →

"I would like to see Sophos UTM add support for all the new threat-detection technologies and the ability to respond to novel security threats that come along every day.""Sophos UTM sometimes falls short in high-availability environments. They used to launch firmware that didn't work very well in a high-availability environment.""The solution is not scalable.""Sophos customer support could use some improvement.""There were a lot of features and functionality in Sophos SG UTM but nothing was state of the art in terms of technology. You did not get the latest functions. It was very monolithic as it was based on an old Linux PuTTY system.""We'd like to see them offer their services on mobile devices like tablets. I'm not sure if that's an option or not.""The solution needs to do better at covering mobile devices, although they may have an integrated solution for that purpose.""The five-factor authentication needs improvement."

More Sophos UTM Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • "The price is comparable."
  • "It definitely competes with the other vendors in the market."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It is the cheapest product available. It's good if you have a low budget."
  • "We pay for the service on a yearly basis. The last time we paid was in June, for a year. At the time, it was about $20,000."
  • "Our licensing fees are paid on a monthly basis."
  • "It's reasonably priced."
  • "This product is free for home users. The more expensive products have better performance."
  • "I think the pricing of Sophos is very fair."
  • "It is necessary to pay for a licence to use the solution, but it is not very expensive."
  • "The appliance should be purchased and there is a fee for the license."
  • More Sophos UTM Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… more »
    Top Answer:It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer:Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate… more »
    Top Answer:Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Top Answer:It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any… more »
    Top Answer:As a solution, Sophos UTM offers a lot of functionality, it scales well, and the stability and performance are quite… more »
    Top Answer:Sophos UTM is no longer being developed, according to our reseller. All the development effort is going into XG. So XG… more »
    Top Answer:Sophos UTM has a good user interface and granular security controls.
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Astaro
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    Overview

    Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that provides capabilities beyond those of a standard firewall and delivers comprehensive, unified policy management of firewall functions, application control, threat prevention, and advanced malware protection from the network to the endpoint.

    Cisco NGFW Firewalls include advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from small offices to high-performance data centers and service providers, and are deployed in leading private and public clouds. Available in a wide range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.

    Key Features of Cisco NGFW Firewalls

    • Breach prevention and advanced security: Prevent attacks before they get inside. Cisco provides its firewalls with the latest intelligence to stop emerging threats and employs filtering to enforce policies on hundreds of millions of URLs. Cisco NGFW offers built-in sandboxing and advanced malware protection that continuously analyzes file behavior to quickly detect and eliminate threats.

    • Comprehensive network visibility: Constantly monitor your network so you can rapidly spot and stop bad behavior. Cisco NGFW provides a holistic view of all activity and provides a clear picture of threat activity across users, hosts, networks, and devices, as well as information on threats and website, application, and VM activities.

    • Flexible management and deployment options: Centrally deploy, customize, and manage all your appliances.

    • Fast detection: Detect threats in seconds and detect the presence of a successful breach within hours or minutes. Cisco NGFW allows you to deploy consistent policy that's easy to maintain, with automatic enforcement across all the different parts of your organization.

    • Automation and product integrations: Seamlessly integrate with Cisco tools and automatically share threat information, event data, policy, and contextual information with email, web, endpoint, and network security tools. Cisco NGFW automates security tasks like impact assessment, policy management and tuning, and user identification.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cisco NGFW stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its extensive discovery abilities that enable you to constantly see what is happening on your network and take action when necessary, and the high level of protection it provides.

    Mike B., a director of IT security at a wellness & fitness company, writes, "It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective."

    Zhulien K., the lead network security engineer at TechnoCore LTD, notes, " The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy. Again, with that being said, I cannot shy away from giving kudos to all of the other features such as AVC (Application Visibility and Control), SSL Decryption, Identity policy, Correlation policy, REST API, and more. All of the features that are incorporated in the Cisco Firepower NGFW are awesome and easy to configure if you know what you are doing. Things almost always work, unless you hit a bug, which is fixed with a simple software update. "

    pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.

    In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.

    pfSense is:

    • Robust
    • Powerful
    • Easy to use
    • Secure
    • Scalable

    pfSense Key Features

    pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:

    • Strength and accuracy: pfSense is able to always follow either default or custom rules, making it a stronger firewall than some of its competitors. It also filters traffic separately, whether it’s coming from your internal network of devices or the open internet, allowing you to set different rules and policies for each.

    • Flexibility: pfSense can work both as a basic firewall and as a complete security system because it gives you the flexibility to integrate additional features as code where necessary.

    • Open-source: Because it is open-source, not only is pfSense free to use, but community members can contribute to the code to make it a better software.

    • User-friendly: Usually firewall products are not user-friendly because they often include complex settings, options, and features that require fine-tuning. pfSense’s interface is simple, direct, and easy to use.

    • WireGuard Support: Instead of building your own VPN using pfSense, or settling for a commercial VPN provider, you can directly integrate WireGuard with the pfSense firewall.

    • Speed Management and Fault Tolerance: pfSense’s multi-WAN feature allows your system to continue operating in case components fail.

    • Well-supported: pfSense regularly has security and feature updates. It also has a documentation site and a well-informed and knowledgeable support forum.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.

    Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."

    Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is."

    T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."



    Sophos UTM is a unified threat management platform designed to protect your businesses from known and emerging malware including viruses, rootkits and spyware. The solution provides a complete network security package with everything your organization needs in a single modular appliance.

    Sophos UTM Features

    Sophos UTM has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Web and Email Filtering
    • General Management
    • Network Protection
    • Network Routing and Services
    • Advanced Threat Protection
    • Authentication
    • Email Encryption and DLP
    • Web Policy
    • End-User Portal
    • VPN IPsec Client, VPN SSL Client, and Clientless VPN
    • Web Application Firewall Protection
    • UTM Endpoint Protection and Management
    • SEC Endpoint Integration
    • Logging and Reporting

    Sophos UTM Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Sophos UTM. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Simplifies your IT security without the complexity of multiple point solutions
    • Intuitive interface to help you quickly create policies to control security risks
    • Provides clear, detailed reports to give you the insight you need to improve your network performance and protection
    • Complete control to block, allow, shape and prioritize applications
    • Two-factor authentication with one-time password (OTP)
    • Integrated wireless controller
    • Allows you to connect remote offices with easy VPN and Wi-Fi

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the Sophos UTM solution.

    PeerSpot user Dana B., Network Administrator at a manufacturing company, says “The web and email filtering are the two biggest and most valuable aspects of the solution for us. The solution overall has just been a good, cost-effective solution for us. The solution offers a lot of functionality. The solution scales well. We've found the technical support to be helpful. The stability and performance are quite good.”

    A Technical Director at a security firm mentions, "Sophos SG UTM had all the basic functionality that you needed. It is user-friendly and easy to manage for any integrator."

    Marek M., Senior Network Engineer at a computer software company, comments, “Sophos UTM is the simplest of these products to set up. If you follow the instructions using the wizard, which is just a few steps, then you will have a firewall to protect you and your customer.”

    A Software Sales Manager at a tech services company explains, “The overall visibility of the console is what I find most valuable, plus it's very user-friendly. It can be integrated with other solutions such as SOAR, SIEM, etc., even when you have an existing firewall. I really like that the console can be integrated. You'll see everything on the same window, and the single window feature of the machine is so good. These are the features I really like.”

    James D., IT Manager at Manual Workers Union, states, “The fact that it's on the cloud means we don't have to administer it on our network or deal with a physical machine, which saves us money. The solution has many great features. From the console, we can start different scannings on different machines. We enjoy the centralized reporting part of it. The initial setup is simple. We enjoy its general stability. The solution can scale. So far, the solution has been problem-free.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about pfSense
    Learn more about Sophos UTM
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    One Housing Group
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Financial Services Firm18%
    Government11%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider28%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    University12%
    Marketing Services Firm10%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Construction Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider40%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government7%
    Educational Organization4%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company14%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    Government8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider34%
    Computer Software Company18%
    Government8%
    Manufacturing Company3%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business41%
    Midsize Enterprise27%
    Large Enterprise32%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise48%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business62%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise17%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise49%
    Buyer's Guide
    Sophos UTM vs. pfSense
    March 2020
    Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos UTM vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: March 2020.
    607,127 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 61 reviews while Sophos UTM is ranked 2nd in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 32 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.4, while Sophos UTM is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos UTM writes "Great web and email filtering with reasonable pricing". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway, whereas Sophos UTM is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos XG, OPNsense and Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls. See our Sophos UTM vs. pfSense report.

    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.