- Free versions available
- 10 devices covered
- Effective randsomware protection
- Reasonably priced
- Dashboard feels outdated
- Light on features
There is a whole world of lurking dangers online, even for Mac users. Threats like viruses, adware, malware, and ransomware don’t just affect other operating systems – macOS is more exposed to these threats than many realize. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself; one such solution is Sophos Home. Based out of the UK, Sophos has a storied history in internet security, having made a name for itself with its antivirus and encryption products since 1985. With its real-time antivirus protection, Sophos Home will automatically scan files whenever they’re accessed so you’re always protected. Sophos Home is family friendly as it allows you to keep up to ten devices safe and because of its web browser dashboard you’re able to manage all of these devices remotely. There’s a free version of Sophos Home available but if you want to try the full premium version then there’s the option of testing it out with a 30-day free trial.
Setting up Sophos Home can prove to be a difficult process for any users who have previously installed a similar kind of Mac security software. In our experience, the installation ended up not working the first time, and the second time we encountered a buggy and incomplete version of the software. It’s an annoyance but there are FAQ pages and several forum posts related to fixing the problem which means that it has been an unresolved issue for some time. However, once installation is completed properly, Sophos Home will sit nicely in your Mac taskbar although from there all you can do is scan – everything else is dealt with through the web dashboard.
The web dashboard has the advantage of being able to manage all computers covered by Sophos Home remotely, so you could set up a scan from your office for it to be completed by the time you get home or schedule scans to be performed on multiple devices. The dashboard isn’t the most intuitive and does manage to make Sophos look dated. Adding a new device is a nice feature though and is simply done by sending a link to the intended person or device. After installation is completed, you’ll see it pop up on your dashboard allowing you to manage security settings straight away.
Sophos Home comes with real-time antivirus protection, so any threats to your system should be prevented immediately and it will automatically scan files whenever they’re accessed – this might lead to slowing down the system for older models, but the feature can be turned off at your own risk. Alternatively, right-clicking any files, folders, or drives in the finder allows you to run an individual scan. Any malware detected by Sophos is immediately deleted, but if you prefer for it to be quarantined first that can be changed via the dashboard. The Sophos website also has a section for users to submit any potential threats they see to be examined. We tested Sophos’ antivirus capabilities out by using EICAR’s malware files and when downloaded from the SSL enabled protocol it took Sophos a few minutes to pick them up, but it did flag every threat.
Sophos Home has great ransomware protection. Whenever one of your files becomes encrypted, Sophos immediately saves a backup of it, so you won’t lose your data. If more files are subsequently encrypted, then it’s extremely likely that you’re the victim of a ransomware attack so Sophos will block the suspected ransomware and restore your files with the saved backups.
Sophos Home comes with a parental control tool in the form of a web filter that blocks (or gives warnings) of various categories of websites. The filtering works well, and it gives you the option of adding exceptions but frustratingly doesn’t allow you to manually add websites to block. Premium members of Sophos Home get the added malicious traffic detection feature that will detect when a program is connected to an untrustworthy remote server which could be a potential threat.
As well as the web filter function, Sophos Home comes with added privacy protection. This is in the form of webcam and microphone protection meaning that whenever an app (or something more malicious) attempts to use your webcam or microphone it will alert you, allowing you to block or allow as necessary. There are functions that Windows users get to enjoy that aren’t currently available with the Mac version such as keylogger protection and added banking security.
There are two different versions of Sophos Home to choose from: the free version (which is obviously tempting) and the premium version. Don’t jump immediately for the free option though – the premium version is one of the most reasonably priced options on the market and the extra security features are worth paying for. Premium subscription prices have been reduced so there’s even more incentive to upgrade. Whether you want a one year or two year subscription, you’ll be paying the same, with one year costing $36 and two years costing $72 – this works out to the equivalent of paying just $3 a month, an amazing price to pay to keep your Mac protected from outside threats.
If you haven’t been convinced to upgrade to the premium version yet, then you have plenty of time to test it out first. Sophos offers users a 30-day free trial to try out all of the extra options, and all purchases come with a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee.
Sophos offers great customer support options for its users. There’s an online form to raise support tickets via email and premium members will be able to access the live chat, although it isn’t 24/7. Sophos doesn’t offer support over Facebook but there is a dedicated Twitter page that’s ready to answer your questions. The Sophos Home website hosts an extensive FAQ section as well as some well-written guides. If you can’t find what you want there, then there’s also an active forum to get help from the Sophos community.
With solid protection and the ability to manage all devices remotely, Sophos Home is a recommended choice for families who want to keep their entire households safe from threats since Sophos protects up to ten devices. However, we feel that overall, the package lacks in added features you’ll find in some of its rival suites. Unlike many of its competitors though, Sophos Home is available for an incredibly reasonable price so if you want to keep yourself protected at a low cost, then Sophos Home Premium is well worth your money.
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