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27 Sep 2006

Sophos launches security industry's first fully-integrated anti-virus and application control solution

Growing concern among system administrators about potential impact of VoIP, IM and P2P on enterprise networks

Sophos, the world leader in protecting businesses against viruses, spyware and spam, today announced the launch of new Application Control features that allow system administrators to selectively block unauthorized VoIP, peer-to-peer (P2P) and Instant Messaging (IM) applications that can present risks to company data and networks.

The new capabilities integrate seamlessly into Sophos Anti-Virus, version 6, providing users with a universal desktop client that addresses a diverse range of security and productivity challenges. Sophos's latest offering comes in response to security and efficiency concerns resulting from the uncontrolled adoption of VoIP, P2P and IM in the enterprise.

A survey conducted earlier this month by Sophos reflects the serious concern that uncontrolled applications are causing system administrators. For example, 86.1 percent of respondents said they want the opportunity to block VoIP applications, with 62.8 percent indicating blocking is essential.

Application Control survey results
Source: Sophos online poll, 460 respondents, September 2006

"Our guests and their experience are our highest priority, and they expect system availability and information security. Therefore, a centrally managed, integrated solution which protects our systems from malware is of the utmost importance," said Cris Williams, Manager of Infrastructure Technologies at Hilton Hotels Corporation. "Introducing application control to that solution would further improve our threat management stance by limiting exposure to our networks."

"Clearly enterprises want to stop employees from running unauthorized programs that eat up bandwidth, violate security policies or result in data leakage. This is a problem that wants to be solved, and Sophos has a simple solution," said Steve Munford, CEO of Sophos. "Sophos gives companies the tools to combat a growing problem without having to roll out new software or learn how to use a new management console. Our goal is to provide enterprises with a single management console and universal client for both security and general desktop management."

Sophos's solution gives system administrators the power to selectively allow or block usage of applications by individuals or groups. As a result, they can implement flexible policies that reflect the diverse needs of groups across the enterprise.

"Companies are in danger of losing control and accountability if they allow their users to decide what software they run on their computers," said Phil Cracknell, President of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). "To stop productivity and security issues raising their ugly head businesses should manage and authorize what applications are allowed to run on the network."

"While much of the attention is about the external threat, individuals inside the enterprise have the potential to cause the largest security problems," said Brian Burke, Research manager for IDC's Security Products service. "System administrators need a simple, flexible solution that not only ensures peace of mind, but guarantees the ability to develop and enforce policies that work for all parts of the enterprise. Sophos is accomplishing this by offering companies all the functionality within its existing enterprise solution along added protection to the core offering."

Pricing and Availability:
Application Control is an optional feature of Sophos Anti-Virus, version 6, available to both new and existing customers. Existing customers of Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows 2000/XP/2003, version 6, can use this new feature at no additional charge. New customers have the option to deploy Sophos Anti-Virus either with or without Application Control.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.