Cisco Umbrella Competitors

In this post we explore some of the main Cisco Umbrella competitors that should be considered when looking for a Cisco Umbrella alternative. Each provides a similar level of protection against web-based threats and has equivalent content control capabilities, but is available for less than the price of Cisco Umbrella.

We have highlighted four Cisco Umbrella competitors that have developed highly accomplished web filtering products which, in many respects, can be considered a direct swap for Cisco Umbrella.

The Importance of DNS Filtering

Before listing some of the main Cisco Umbrella competitors, it is worthwhile explaining why DNS filtering is so important and why it is now an essential part of the security stack. Hackers and other cybercriminals are devising increasingly sophisticated ways of attacking SMBs and enterprises and the range of threats is far more diverse than in years gone by. Whereas for many SMBs, a firewall, spam filter, and antivirus software were once enough to keep networks secure, the threat landscape today requires additional protection from web-based threats and a defense in depth strategy is now strongly recommended. Layered security is key to keeping hackers at bay, and web filter provides an important additional layer of security.

DNS filters and other web filtering solutions serve as a semi-permeable barrier that allows legitimate internet traffic but blocks access to malicious and NSFW websites. A web filter can prevent access to phishing websites, block C2 call backs by malware, and can prevent malware and ransomware downloads. DNS filters are used to inspect web content to make sure webpages do not violate your internet usage policies. Web filters can also help to reduce legal liability, improve productivity, and can be used to control bandwidth use. Without a web filtering solution, your business will be at risk from web-based threats.

Four Cisco Umbrella Competitors that Should be on Your DNS Filtering Shortlist

There are many DNS filtering solutions available to enterprises, SMBs, and Managed Service Providers (MSP). Here we have listed four Cisco Umbrella competitors that provide comparable solutions for SMBs and MSPs.

WebTitan Cloud from TitanHQ

WebTitan Cloud is a 100% cloud web filtering solution for SMBs and MSPs that serve the SMB market and is one of the most popular Cisco Umbrella competitors according to review sites and is rated highly for protection, ease of use, and support. The cloud web filter provides protection against web-based threats – phishing, ransomware, malware, viruses, botnets etc – for on-premises and off-site workers and allows content control for enforcing internet usage policies. The solution crawls around 700 million URL’s, 6 billion web pages, in 200 languages in real time every day. The solution integrates with Kaseya and Datto and TitanHQ has an excellent MSP program.

Advantages

  • Transparent and flexible pricing policy and a low-cost solution at $0.90 per user, per month
  • Easy to set up, use, and maintain
  • Easy to integrate with other solutions and is supplied with a full set of APIs
  • Excellent MSP features: High margins, can host in your own environment, multi-tenant APIs, can be supplied as a white label ready to take MSP logos, and is easy to integrate with MSP systems
  • SSL inspection
  • Excellent reporting options, including board-level reports
  • Can view real-time browsing and configure real-time browsing alerts
  • Industry-leading customer service
  • Global, user, role, and time-based web filtering controls with AD/LDAP integration and a filter bypass option (cloud keys)
  • Provides coverage in over 200 languages
  • Can also be supplied as a virtual appliance

Disadvantages

  • Console is a little basic
  • Category controls effective and can be customized, but some room for improvement on the 53 pre-defined categories

ZScaler Internet Access

ZScaler Internet Access is a 100% cloud-based DNS filtering solution for businesses that offers the benefits of a secure internet gateway but is supplied as a web filtering service. The service provides comprehensive protection against web-based threats for on-premises and mobile workers. The solution is fed threat intelligence from 60+ third-party threat feeds. The cloud platform also integrates with a range of other ZScaler cybersecurity services.

Advantages

  • Feature-rich solution that includes SSL inspection, URL filtering, Advanced Threat Security, DLP, cloud firewall, and cloud sandbox for analysis of zero-day threats, although not as standard
  • Same level of security for all customers – You do not have to pay extra for different levels of protection
  • Easy to set up and manage
  • Real-time threat analysis
  • Supports user, group, location, and time-based content filtering
  • Good bandwidth control options to prioritize Office 365 over other traffic

Disadvantages

  • Cost is considerably higher than comparable solutions and pricing is variable depending on deployment options. There are several add-ons that need to be factored into the cost
  • Implementation can be complex and can be labor-intensive to set up
  • Not the easiest to integrate with other applications and maintenance requirements will increase considerably if you do
  • Reporting a little cumbersome and limited, with no board-level reporting options
  • No email support; website only
  • Steep learning curve

Forcepoint Web Security Cloud (Websense Web Filter)

Forcepoint Web Security Cloud, formerly Websense Web Filter, is a cloud-based business web filtering solution that incorporates URL filtering and threat intelligence to identify and block malware threats. The solution is continuously updated with intelligence from 5 billion incidents each day, from 155 countries, at a rate of 3.2 updates per second. The solution includes many web application and protocol controls and has granular, category-based content filtering controls.

Advantages

  • Good threat detection capabilities incorporating ThreatSeeker threat intelligence
  • 120 pre-defined categories for content control
  • SSL inspection:  Decrypted SSL traffic can easily be sent to other solutions for inspection
  • Supports role-based access
  • Supports timed filtering controls
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Good reporting options with 60 pre-configured reports
  • Good customer support
  • Multiple deployment options: Cloud, hybrid, appliance, or virtual appliance

Disadvantages

  • Reasonably expensive, although much lower than Cisco Umbrella
  • Complex user interface can make simple tasks burdensome
  • High number of categories allows good content control, but the granularity can be confusing
  • Users have reported a complex implementation
  • Room for improvement on monitoring and alerting capabilities
  • Needs to be thoroughly evaluated prior to rollout to avoid issues

Symantec Web Filter (Blue Coat Web Filter)

Symantec Web Filter, formerly known as Blue Coat Web Filter, is part of the Symantec Secure Web Gateway solution and is a cloud-based web filter for business users and one of the main Umbrella competitors. The solution provides protection from web-based malware threats through URL filtering and Symantec’s anti-malware technologies. The solution is continuously updated and provides reputation and web content analysis based on input from millions of customers worldwide.  The solution is fed with intelligence from the Symantec Global Intelligence network.

Advantages

  • Excellent threat detection capability through the Symantec Global Intelligence Network
  • 80 pre-defined filtering categories for enforcing internet policies
  • SSL inspection
  • Good user interface that is easy to use
  • Good support, including live chat, phone, and email support
  • Easy integration with other Symantec solutions
  • Provides coverage in over 60 languages
  • Up to 50 administrators can be set up and given their own dashboards

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than similar solutions
  • Manual backups required
  • Console fairly basic and could do with some improvement
  • Setup can be complex and is not particularly intuitive
  • Notifications can be excessive
  • Fairly high management overhead
  • Users have reported some stability issues