Using Sophos Connect VPN Client

Hey everyone,

I wanted to highlight one of the features listed in XG v17.5 - Sophos Connect. Sophos Connect is a new IPsec VPN client, included with XG v17.5. This is a preview release, where we decided to make the client available now, before we've made all of the XG improvements we are planning. The client, as it stands now, is a cross platform (Windows and Mac) IPsec client with a simple user interface, and a compelling set of features, that are finished, and available for use now. We didn't want to sit on that while waiting for the rest of our plans to be completed, so we decided to get that out to you sooner, even though the total admin user experience still needs a few significant improvements. 

In XG, you'll notice that the Cisco VPN tab under VPN, has been re-named Sophos Connect, and now offers a download for the new IPsec clients and admin utility. While you can create a split tunnel remote access policy on the IPsec tab, this doesn't yet offer a client IP range. So clients will connect and communicate over the tunnel, using whatever IP they are using locally, on the network they're in. While this might work in some cases, it runs into problems, as soon as your users are connected from a subnet that conflicts with a network being accessed over the tunnel. Having visited a hotel or two that gave out addresses in massive subnet ranges, the possibility of a conflict using that configuration is pretty significant. Meanwhile, the feature originally built to work with the now-antiquated Cisco IPsec VPN client solves this, and does offer a client IP range, but doesn't allow you to configure a split tunnel. Since the Cisco client is pretty outdated now, we decided to re-purpose that feature for now, and use it as the preferred method for configuring Sophos Connect. 

This makes for a more robust configuration, but the policy generated by that feature, only offers a full-tunnel. While that may be enough in some cases, most of you are looking for a VPN client that allows split tunneling. The tunnel will support split tunneling, but the UI doesn't yet offer that capability. We could slap in the feature, but we also want to move to a more modern method of pushing policy from the firewall when the tunnel connects, rather than leaving all of that up to the config file. So for now, we've taken a short-cut, (this is an early access release after all :) ) and provided a simple policy editor utility. This also let us expose some of the other great features Sophos Connect offers, like the ability to send Security Heartbeats over the tunnel, or an auto-connect when remote capability. 

Ultimately, we will resolve these limits in XG directly, but for the time being, Sophos Connect Admin will let you customize your policies then deploy them to your users.  It's a temporary solution needed to let you use these features, until we can add them into the firewall itself, and one of the big reasons this client will remain as a long term early access release, after 17.5 goes to GA. 

The client is free, and will remain free in the future, and is available to download from within XG today. The client is now available for early access, so we look forward to your testing and feedback. At the end of the XG EAP, the client code should also be considered at a GA quality at that time, but because of the limits I mentioned earlier, we'll continue to offer it as a longer term EAP release, until some time mid next year. 

The download is in the firewall now, under VPN > Sophos Connect client. Also, if you've just updated to v17.5, be sure the firewall has downloaded the client, under Backup & Firmware > Pattern updates, before you try to grab a copy. The package you'll get from the firewall will contain three programs. Sophos Connect for Windows, Sophos Connect for Mac, and Sophos Connect Admin, which is only available for windows. 

You can find instructions in installing and troubleshooting the client, here:

Looking forward to your feedback, and happy testing!

[edited by: FloSupport at 7:15 PM (GMT -7) on 28 Sep 2020]
  • Hello,

    Am downloading the 17.5-Beta2 update to look at currently.


    But does the new Sophos Connect have MS-Gina support (connect before Logon) so a Windows client can process drive mappings, group policy and Login scripts?

    Otherwise still looking at using the Green Bow IPSec Client, or loosing out to Fortigate still.






    Gavin Daniels. DipIT(Networking)


  • GavinDaniels said:
    But does the new Sophos Connect have MS-Gina support (connect before Logon)

    No, not yet. That is a target feature, but we won't have it in the client for a while. 

  • Hi,

    where can i dowload the client, theres no option for me to download neither in the user portal.




    P.S. sucessfull installed and using 17.5 

Reply Children
  • Hey n33dfull,

    the client is downloaded from within webadmin, under VPN > Sophos Connect Client. The package is currently built for admins to grab and distribute to users, rather than being self-serve focused, as the SSL VPN currently is. The client can be rolled out via active directory, and a single policy may be installed across all of your users. You can also script policy installs using the sccli utility in the program files folder that Sophos Connect installs to. for example:

    %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Sophos\Connect\sccli.exe add -f [path to tgb or scx file] 

    the above command would add a new connection profile to the client, from whatever path the config file was located in. 

    Eventually we'll integrate the client into Sophos Central, and getting and installing the client and policies on machines will be as easy as managing Intercept X, but for now, we wanted to focus on making the client easier to bulk install in larger environments, since that's where most of the requests for Sophos Connect have come from so far. 


    That's probably more info than you asked for, but I hadn't shared some of that anywhere yet, so wanted to add that info to the community. 

  • AlanT said:

    Eventually we'll integrate the client into Sophos Central, and getting and installing the client and policies on machines will be as easy as managing Intercept X


    wow, I really like the direction this is going.