Sophos has been protecting computers and networks for over 30 years, providing everything from antivirus and firewall protection to mobile security and more. For years, home cybersecurity focused on protecting individual computers from known threats – a home computer network was a rare beast for personal users. Recently, however, we’ve seen a shift. Not only do most families have more than one computer, they have more than one per person, and accordingly, developers of cybersecurity are starting to offer multi-device protection models.
Sophos has a long history of protecting large networks of devices, which is why I thought the Sophos Home Premium offering would be worth checking out. Sophos Home Premium takes business-level security and enables home users to protect up to 10 computers, both Mac and PC – plus you can manage the security of all those devices through a single account. In essence, Sophos Home Premium lets you set up a single administrator with the ability to manage the security across a network of up to 10 computers.
As the tech writer in the family, it made sense that I’d be the administrator of our home network. Ten devices is a lot though – a lot more than my girlfriend and I need, anyway. Then I realized that Sophos Home Premium doesn’t limit who you consider your family. If I want to protect my three nephews, who live with their grandparents, I could do so. I could even protect their grandparents too from the same account. With a Sophos Home Premium subscription, you have the power to protect everybody you care about from the constant digital threats we all face today when we go online. I set about getting them all protected immediately.
Getting set up with Sophos Home Premium couldn’t be easier. You simply follow the link on the Sophos Home webpage, enter your details, and install. Once installed, Sophos automatically runs the first scan and shows you everything it found on your PC or Mac. My first scan discovered a lot of potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) in the form of tracking cookies. With Sophos, however, scans are only part of the arsenal at your disposal, and for a good reason too.
Over the last few years, online threats have evolved at a rapid pace. Ransomware, phishing attacks, keyloggers, webcam and microphone hijacking… the list goes on and on. As more and more of our activity, from shopping to banking, watching TV and finding a date, has migrated online, hackers are increasingly finding ingenious ways to hack into what we’re doing. Any one of these new types of threats could be on our devices right now, working away. If we waited until we scanned our computer or until our antivirus carried out scheduled scans to do something about these threats, it’d be too late.
Ransomware steals and encrypts your data so that you can’t access it. Keyloggers make a note of what you’re typing, including all of your passwords, pin codes, and bank details. A hacked webcam broadcasts everything it sees to whoever has hacked it. These new types of malware don’t just threaten you – they threaten everybody you know who uses the internet.
These new threats are the reason Sophos moved beyond the traditional scan and act method of antivirus. Although Sophos maintains an extensive, decades-long list of known malicious threats, it no longer relies solely on scanning your computer and checking the results against that list. Instead, Sophos has developed a complex system of protocol behavioral analysis, which analyzes what’s happening on your computer. If a program or app, for example, is acting suspicious or out of character, Sophos shuts it down immediately and takes countermeasures to protect you and your data.
If a .exe file begins to encrypt your data Sophos will back it up to prevent further encryption. If a program has activated your microphone and it is running secretly in the background, Sophos will let you know that it is recording. This protocol behavioral analysis allows Sophos Home Premium to offer robust real-time security and gives peace of mind every time you add a new device to your protective network.
Adding devices to your Sophos Home Premium network is really easy. From the Sophos Home Premium app, click Manage My Security, which opens your device’s Sophos dashboard on the Sophos servers. From here you click Add Device, and you’ll find two options. You can either log in to the device you wish to protect, or you can send a generated link that’ll install Sophos on the intended device once it is clicked. Using this sending system, I’ve been able to protect my nephew’s laptops, their grandparent’s PC, and my father’s desktop even though I live in a different country than all of them.
The Sophos dashboard also allows you to keep yourself up to date with any suspicious or malicious actions that take place on all of the devices in your protective network. You can see all device events, including threats, website-based events, or other events like PUA activity, as well as viewing past activity. The dashboard gives you the ability to easily manage the level of proactive protection each device on your protective network receives.
The Sophos Home Premium dashboard also offers extensive web filtering capabilities, which gives parents a high level of control over what their children can see and access on the internet. As Sophos installs itself via a sent link, the individual device user never needs to input the Sophos security credentials, so the dashboard always remains off-limits to those who may want to try and change what they have access on to on the internet. Of course, the dashboard can be accessed and managed from any computer, but it’s unobtrusive to the user – they’ll simply be aware that they’re protected, without having to do anything.
For me then, it is a case of so far, so good with Sophos Home Premium. I am resting easy knowing that I’ve put advanced protocols to work protecting all generations of my family even though I’m living in a different country than most of them. It’s easy to make adjustments, too. If my nephew’s grandparents ask me to, I can easily set up web filters to protect the three boys from the harmful content out there on the internet. My father is happy with the strong enterprise-grade security software he now has installed on his home computer, and I’ve even gained favor with my girlfriend’s father by protecting his Windows PC too. Plus, I’m able to bring my girlfriend’s MacBook into my protective network, and it is rare that we get to share software as I’ve always had a Windows PC.
My experience with Sophos Home Premium has been extremely positive. The admin dashboard is easy to use, yet offers a lot of control over the security protocols protecting my family. I feel good knowing I’ve taken under my wing people who aren’t best equipped to protect themselves against today’s evolved cyberthreats and I can’t see myself going back and leaving them exposed again.