Security for everyone - Reviewing Sophos Home

3 out of 5 stars

Sophos is a company that’s focused mostly business security products. However, they also offer a home security product for free, which any home user can download and use. We were curious to see what this security product is all about and whether it’s efficient at protecting your Windows computers. Therefore, we’ve taken it for a test drive and now we’d like to tell you what the pros and cons of this product are. Read our review and by the end of it, you will know whether Sophos Home is the security tool you need on your Windows computers and devices:

The download and installation experience

You will start by going to Sophos’ website and creating a user account. Unless you create an online account, you can’t use their free product. However, this is a very simple process, and it only requires a few details about you: your name, email address and a password.

After you’ve created an account, use it to log in to your Sophos Home Dashboard webpage. As you can see in the image below, this webpage looks very simple and it’s definitely very easy to use. To install Sophos Home on your computer, click or tap on the Install button, below Add this Computer.

Then, you will get to download the Sophos Home install file, which is an executable with a 187MB size. Installing the security application on our test computer took only a few minutes, during which time we didn’t see any additional data being downloaded from Sophos’ servers.

It’s worth mentioning that the installation process is easy and straightforward, as there are no settings to make or options to choose from. You just click Install and then Finish at the end.

When that’s finished, there’s no user interface loading and no dialogues displayed by this security product. However, if you’ll take a look in your system tray, you will see that the application was loaded and is already monitoring your security.

Thus far, downloading and installing Sophos Home on a Windows computer is an extremely easy thing to do and we love that.

Integration with Windows, web browsers and universal Windows platform apps

Sophos Home automatically disables Windows Defender during its installation, and that’s a good thing as it avoids possible conflicts and performance issues. On the other hand, Sophos Home doesn’t disable Windows Firewall , but it has a very good reason for not doing it: Sophos Home does not include a firewall module and you will rely on Windows’ own firewall for protection against network attacks. The good part is that it means you won’t have any problems using all the networking features from Windows.

In terms of online security, Sophos Home doesn’t include any web browser extensions and that’s also a good thing. Instead, it scans all the internet traffic that goes on your computer, and promptly stops you from visiting malicious websites.

Another interesting thing about the integration of Sophos Home and our Windows computers, is the fact that this security product seems to have no negative effect on your computer’s performance. We make this statement based on a few measurements we did. First, we used BootRacer to measure the boot time of our test computer before and after installing Sophos Home. The results we got were the same.

Secondly, we looked at the RAM memory consumption of Sophos Home : although it takes about 250MB of RAM memory when running antivirus scans, it only takes about 10MB when not running any scans.

Thirdly, we also ran the Home accelerated benchmark from PCMark 8 , a few times, and the scores we got were the same with and without having installed Sophos Home. That means that the security app doesn’t harm the overall performance of your computer while doing common things like browsing the internet, writing documents or editing photos.

Sophos Home is a security product that is very well integrated with Windows. The networking features are unhindered by Sophos Home, simply because the security product doesn’t include a firewall module and it relies on the Windows Firewall. However, the online security you get is taken care of by the web shield feature offered by Sophos Home, with no web browser extensions involved, which is something we like. Finally, we also appreciate the fact that this security product doesn’t slow your computer down.

Ease of use & configuration

Security products usually offer complex user interfaces, with lots and lots of options and settings. Even if they are not obvious, they usually are there, organised in multiple windows, sections, lists, etc. That’s not the case for Sophos Home , which offers probably the simplest user interface we have seen in a security product. Here’s an image of it to get a better idea of what we’re talking about:

At its top, the user interface shows if your computer is secure and gives you a button which will take you to your online Sophos account when pressed. Other than that, you can only launch an anti-malware scan of your computer, set exceptions and turn the Automatic Virus Protection , the Web Protection and the Potentially Unwanted App Detection on or off.

If you need to, you can also access the help documentation online, by clicking on the Help icon on the bottom of the user interface. And, if you need further support for Sophos Home , you can go online and check the community forums and the knowledge base. We didn’t find any option to get support via email or phone.

In terms of alerts and notifications, Sophos Home is right to the point: you get an alert each time there’s malware detected on your computer. When that happens, the user interface shows you that there are one or more alerts.

A click on the Alerts button will open a list with the malware found by Sophos Home. The only option you get is to Clean each of the infected files. However, this action is usually done automatically by Sophos Home , as you’ll soon see in the Antivirus and antispyware protection section of this review.

If you want to see logs and statistics, you don’t get any in Sophos Home. That is, locally on your computer. However, if you go online on your Sophos Home Dashboard , you can see the number of threats cleaned and websites blocked on each of your computers, as well as when where updates installed on it the last time.

Sophos Home is the security product with the simplest user interface we’ve seen. But that’s not a bad thing. We must admit that we kind of like this approach, and we feel that this is maybe one of the best options for people who don’t want to use complicated apps.

Go to the next page of this review and see how effective Sophos is at protecting your computer from network attacks and malware. You will also see our final verdict for this product.