Antivirus change; no more Sophos


Gannon University students, faculty and staff no longer have to install Sophos antivirus endpoint protection on their personal devices because the Information Technology Services (ITS) department made the decision to discontinue the provision of Sophos this year.

The Sophos antivirus software was previously provided to all students by the university and was mandatory in order to use Gannon’s network. All students who wanted to access the network had to install it onto their personal computers.

ITS Director Mark Jordano cited several reasons for the recent change.

He said Sophos is equally or less efficient than free antivirus software. It has also become an unnecessary cost for Gannon and an issue for some students.

Gannon began using Sophos around 2008 because a wave of significant viruses began attacking the personal computers of over 400 students.

Jordano said that viruses are still an issue but the recent rise of difficult-to-detect malware and phishing scams are even more concerning.

Jordano said that, over time, the department noticed that viruses were still getting through, even with Sophos, and that better results were coming from free antivirus software.

ITS recommends several free antivirus software programs that are also Bradford Networks supported, on its website including Panda Security, Windows Defender and Avira.

“Our expectation is that these are going to be good or even better than Sophos,” Jordano said. “Sophos is no better than what is out there for free.”

Jordano briefly noted the budget impact. Sophos costed Gannon approximately $4,000 per year to provide protection to all students.

ITS recognized that Sophos was an unnecessary cost because free antivirus software is just as effective if not more.

Another reason for the change is that free antivirus software is preinstalled on most new PCs and the majority of students came to Gannon using antivirus software that came with their PC.

In the past, students had to switch to Sophos, but they now can continue to use the antivirus software of their choice.

Eve Andresky, a junior biology major, said she received very expensive antivirus software as a graduation gift from her grandparents.

During her freshman year, she was told at orientation to change over to Sophos. This year, she installed one of the free antivirus software options and her PC is running well.

Andresky said she was never impressed with Sophos.

Each installation and update was problematic for her. “It was inconvenient,” she said.

Raquel Ramsuchit, a third year student in the physician assistant program, said she had problems with Sophos on her MacBook, but the ITS department figured it out for her.

Like Ramsuchit, many other students are still using Sophos during this transitional period.

ITS would like all students to install a different antivirus software program by the end of the fall semester.

If a student is in need of antivirus software, ITS is ready to help.

Jordano encourages students having issues to contact the Help Desk during normal business hours so they can provide assistance with the installation of one from over 30 recommended free or purchasable antivirus software programs.


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