Sophos UTM vs pfSense comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between pfSense and Sophos UTM based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Firewalls solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Sophos UTM vs. pfSense Report (Updated: November 2022).
655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: What Is The Biggest Difference Between Sophos and pfSense?
Answer: I'd agree with Karl's comment above. PfSense is a great product but treat it like a firewall and the big bonus is it's free. It's great at what it does. Sophos UTM on the other hand can be a beast as it's an all in one solution and can get as complex as you would like it. We have failover clustering, load balancing and make use of all of their proxies. Very easy to make initial configuration errors until you know the product and how traffic flows etc. It can also be fairly expensive with the subscriptions eg AV, sandstorm etc If you can afford it, go for Sophos but pfSense can also play it's part too.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"Firepower NGFW has improved my organization in several ways. Before, we were trying to stamp out security threats and issues, it was a one-off type of way to attack it. I spent a lot of manpower trying to track down the individual issues or flare-ups that we would see. With Cisco's Firepower Management, we're able to have that push up to basically one monitor and one UI and be able to track that and stop threats immediately. It also gives us a little more granularity on what those threats might be.""I have access to the web version of Cisco Talos to see the reputation of IP addresses. I find this very helpful. It provides important information for my company to obtain the reputation of IP addresses. The information in Talos is quite complete.""The most important features are the intrusion prevention engine and the application visibility and control. The Snort feature in Firepower is also valuable.""The product is quite robust and durable.""It is a very user-friendly product.""The features that are most valuable within the firewall are the IPS as well as the Unified Communications. We also really like the dynamic grouping.""All the rules are secure and we haven't had a significant malware attack in the five years that we've been using ASA Firewall. It has been a tremendous improvement for our network. However, I can't quantify the benefits in monetary terms.""The most valuable feature is the Intrusion Prevention System."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Pros →

"I like pfSense's security features.""I like pfSense's reports and how I can control access to the policies on the firewall.""The firewall sensor is highly effective, and it's easy to deploy. You can deploy pfSense with limited hardware resources. It's not necessary to have an appliance with much RAM to make it work. It's cost-effective and performs well.""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 most valuable features of pfSense are the reports, monitoring, filtration, and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.""We've found the stability to be very good overall.""pfSense helped us during COVID-19 because we used OpenVPN to connect from home.""It is a better firewall than others and it has better features."

More pfSense Pros →

"Monitoring and reporting are areas that need improvement.""Sophos SG UTM had all the basic functionality that you needed. It is user-friendly and easy to manage for any integrator.""With Sophos, we have not had any incidents this year. The security provided has been good. It has proven to be okay for our needs.""So far, the solution has been problem-free.""It's a stable solution.""The most valuable feature of Sophos UTM is the efficiency and mail filtering module.""Sophos UTM is very user-friendly and has good integration with other solutions.""Technical support is very responsive."

More Sophos UTM Pros →

Cons
"The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore.""My team tells me that other solutions such as Fortinet and Palo Alto are easier to implement.""One of the few things that are brought up is that for the overall management, it would be great to have a cloud instance of that. And not only just a cloud instance, but one of the areas that we've looked at is using an HA type of cloud. To have the ability to have a device file within a cloud. If we had an issue with one, the other one would pick up automatically.""The configuration is an area that needs improvement.""The graphical interface should be improved to make the configuration easier, to do things with a single click.""The graphical interface could be improved. From what I have seen, Fortinet, for example, has a nicer GUI.""Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall can be more secure.""It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Cons →

"There are some bias issues and some intrusions in our network that have to be addressed. So, we're thinking of changing this firewall to something like a professional hardware-enabled firewall.""Ultimately, we'd like something stronger, and something that can handle threats better in real-time.""pfSense has some limitations in detecting site sessions. We want to control internet usage based on sites and their content, and pfSense doesn't perform this function.""Lacks instructional videos.""More documentation would be great, especially on new features because sometimes, when new features come out, you don't get to understand them right off the bat. You have to really spend a lot of time understanding them. So, more documentation would be awesome.""It would be great to add more to security.""The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus.""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."

More pfSense Cons →

"Sophos customer support could use some improvement.""The integration capabilities could be better.""We need to speed up the support.""The ease of use could be a bit better.""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 is not scalable.""The classification segregation of applications lacks sufficient definition.""The solution needs to do better at covering mobile devices, although they may have an integrated solution for that purpose."

More Sophos UTM Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "If we compare it with FortiGate and the co-existing ASA, FortiGate is better in price."
  • "They seem to be at the top end in terms of pricing, but they are worth the price. They are probably a little bit lower than Palo Alto. If the customers are relying on Cisco products and they are thinking more in terms of scaling to another layer in a year, it is pretty much in a good price range."
  • "We're using the smart license for this firewall. The models that we have require licensing for remote access."
  • "There are licensing costs."
  • "I just bought it off the shelf, and I'm using it with my previous one, so I have not spent that much."
  • "The price is fair. It's not the cheapest, but it's not bad."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The product is very expensive."
  • More Cisco Secure Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "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."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • "We are using the open-source version which is free. We are testing the solution to see if we are going to go to the enterprise version which requires a license and is not free."
  • "There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free."
  • "It's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good."
  • "pfSense is a free solution."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "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."
  • "The prices can be better, they could make it a lot cheaper."
  • More Sophos UTM Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Anonymous User
    Luis Castro - PeerSpot reviewerLuis Castro
    Real User

    pfSense is opensource and has been the last 10 years in the top 10 best
    firewall solutions in the world, it is free, stable, scalable, and easy to
    administer ... and above all very safe, since it is one of the few systems
    that could have been violated. It's free.

    Bob Alfson - PeerSpot reviewerBob Alfson
    User

    In fact, Karl, the 50-IP free version is for home use only, and not even then if it also protects business assets. You did a great job of explaining the difference, so I won't comment further.

    To the original poster, it's cheaper to hire a Sophos consultant to create your original configuration. It costs twice as much to get a configuration "repaired" that wasn't correctly designed. A Sophos Solution Partner that has a Sophos Certified Architect with plenty of experience and good referrals is probably your best bet.

    Cesar Reza - PeerSpot reviewerCesar Reza
    Reseller

    With Sophos is easy to configure and you have the support from the frabicant, with pfSense you have to learn from the community and learning curve is a little hard, last occasion with pfSense it don't have support for vpn dynamic, with Sophos they have RED equipment that is an extension from the core, only you need the serial number from the remote equipment and you have the vpn , both are great equipment and software, depend of the budget, pfSense is free and they have support if you pay the license very cheap

    Karl Hart, Acse, Ceh, Chfi, Cissp - PeerSpot reviewerKarl Hart, Acse, Ceh, Chfi, Cissp
    Real User

    pfSense is just a basic firewall with VPN and Captive Portal functionality but does its job great. Only needs minimum resources to function. Price is right (FREE)
    Sophos UTM is much more, hence the UTM. It does firewall, advance threat protection, VPN, Secure web gateway, email protection (AV, Spam, Encryption, and DLP), endpoint protection, Mobile Device control, Web Application Firewall, User Portal, built in reporting, and central management. It does require more resources but you get a lot more out of it. Two options depending on the size of your office, commercial version or the Free version that you can build on your own hardware. The free version is restricted to 50 IP addresses. (https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-utm-home-edition.aspx)
    I have used both and both have their place but using Sophos in my environment just because it offers a lot more functionality, nice dashboard, reports, and easy to use through the GUI.

    FrankWhite - PeerSpot reviewerFrankWhite
    Real User

    One other big difference is that pfSense is FreeBSD based while Sophos UTM is linux based. It is also worth having a lool on cacheguard which is a proxy oriented product and also Linux based.

    reviewer772704 - PeerSpot reviewerreviewer772704 (IT Manager with 51-200 employees)
    User

    I´m afraid I am not able to help in this matter. We´ve decided to for FortiGate as services, based on our relationship with our IT security provider and the FortiGate reviews available on the net.

    We used to use pfSence for one particular open network but let the full control on de FortiGate. During the investigation and analysis period we thought of Sophos but felt more comfortable going for FortiGate pretty much based on price and our relationship with our IT security provider. Hence my experience wouldn´t help in this case.

    My best advice would is to refer to the article available on:
    https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/comparisons/pfsense_vs_sophos-utm

    Questions from the Community
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    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: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:We use Sophos UTM for endpoint antivirus.
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco ASA Firewall, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Astaro
    Learn More
    Netgate
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    Overview

    The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow.

      From your data center, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world class security controls everywhere you need them.

      Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic. Further, integrations with other Cisco and 3rd party solutions provides you with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, all working together to correlate previously disconnected events, eliminate noise, and stop threats faster.

      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 Secure Firewall
      Learn more about pfSense
      Learn more about Sophos UTM
      Sample Customers
      There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.
      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
      Financial Services Firm16%
      Comms Service Provider13%
      Computer Software Company9%
      Government8%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider20%
      Computer Software Company19%
      Government7%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      University12%
      Marketing Services Firm10%
      Comms Service Provider10%
      Manufacturing Company6%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider26%
      Computer Software Company15%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      Financial Services Firm13%
      Comms Service Provider11%
      Manufacturing Company11%
      Government9%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider25%
      Computer Software Company19%
      Government8%
      Retailer5%
      Company Size
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business36%
      Midsize Enterprise24%
      Large Enterprise40%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business28%
      Midsize Enterprise19%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business70%
      Midsize Enterprise17%
      Large Enterprise13%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise21%
      Large Enterprise50%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business59%
      Midsize Enterprise22%
      Large Enterprise20%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise22%
      Large Enterprise49%
      Buyer's Guide
      Sophos UTM vs. pfSense
      November 2022
      Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos UTM vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
      655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.

      pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 52 reviews while Sophos UTM is ranked 1st in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 38 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.4, while Sophos UTM is rated 8.2. 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 WatchGuard Firebox, whereas Sophos UTM is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, OPNsense, Untangle NG Firewall and WatchGuard Firebox. 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.