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Sophos XG Update v16 – feature parity with UTM almost achieved

Finally the update for the XG Firewall is here. There are 120 new features and a long list of optimizations and enhancements. A must for all those who already have the new Sophos Firewall OS in use.

What is the XG Firewall again?

We hear this question very often. Especially customers who are new to Sophos don’t really understand the difference between XG and SG. We have also written a blog article about this. For those who haven’t yet looked into the new Sophos Firewall OS, there’s no need to worry. So far you haven’t missed anything. I see it here a bit like with the first iPhone. Good approaches, but not really usable yet. From my point of view, the security heartbeat was the only argument for a purchase so far. But even this was only a signpost in the right direction. I still can’t understand how Sophos could launch such an unfinished operating system with so many bugs. After all, we are talking about a security product here. It was always clear to us that we would not take a close look at the XG series until version 16 and that we would also support it for our customers. At least the first impression gives me the feeling that this version is really usable and I am starting to see that this could be the beginning of the end for the UTM OS. But that will certainly take another 4-6 years.

What has been improved?

General improvements

  • Improve the user experience, for faster and easier management
  • All features of the UTM, except Sandstorm, can now also be found in the Sophos Firewall OS (feature parity)
  • New security heartbeat functions


  • New navigation and improved user interface
  • Live Log Viewer
  • Rules cloning
  • Revised Secure Web Gateway (style, policy model with inheritance)
  • Full email MTA with store and forward functions
  • Two factor authentication (one-time password) support
  • Microsoft Azure Support

New XG features in 480 seconds:

For those who don’t have that much time, here are the highlights in 150 seconds

What else will the future bring?

What many are surely waiting for is the Sandstorm feature, which will be added to the XG by the end of the year. With the UTM Update 9.5 also comes a migration button. Those with SG hardware can then use this button to migrate to the new Sophos Firewall OS. But be careful, if you want to go back to the UTM operating system, you will not be able to do so with a single click. During the migration the license and a part of the config can be taken over.

Some Sophos Firewall admins will gradually switch to the new operating system, and at some point they will certainly want to use the Security Heartbeat. However, this only works with a corresponding Sophos Endpoint Protection . Unfortunately, the standard version is not sufficient for this. To use the Security Heartbeat, Sophos Central Endpoint Protection Advanced is required.

Update: Sophos has revised its endpoint portfolio somewhat. There is no longer a Standard or Advanced version. The Security Heartbeat is supported in all endpoint products.

However, there is no need to hurry to switch from your UTM to the new Sophos Firewall OS. The UTM operating system simply does too good a job for that and is still our first choice.

Update: Since version 17 of SFOS, we rely completely on XG Firewall and Sophos Firewall OS for our customer projects.


Patrizio is an experienced network specialist with a focus on Sophos firewalls, switches and access points. He supports customers or their IT department in the configuration and migration of Sophos firewalls and ensures optimal network security through clean segmentation and firewall rule management.

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