How Much Does Cisco Umbrella Cost?

Cisco is a leading DNS filtering solution provider that offers a web filtering product called Cisco Umbrella, previously known as OpenDNS. In this post we will explain why products such as Cisco Umbrella are important for healthcare organizations, cover Cisco Umbrella pricing tiers and packages, and will explore how much does Cisco Umbrella cost for a typical organization. The aim is to help you decide if the DNS filtering solution is right for your organization and whether it is a viable option financially.

Why is Cisco Umbrella Necessary?

DNS filters are now an important part of the security stack. They provide an additional layer of security to protect against web-based threats, including the web-based component of phishing attacks. They help to protect against malware and ransomware downloads and block malicious internet traffic, and allow organizations to control the web content that can be accessed by employees and guest users.

Content Filtering

A DNS filter provides IT teams with visibility into the online activities of staff and guest users and allows restrictions to be placed on the types of web content that can be accessed. With a DNS filter in place it is possible to enforce acceptable internet usage policies and block categories of content that employees should not be accessing in the workplace. DNS filters are most commonly used to prevent employees from accessing pornography on business networks and illegal websites, thus preventing HR issues and reducing legal liability. Cisco Umbrella and other DNS filters also support SafeSearch to prevent minors on the guest network from accessing age-inappropriate content.

Web filtering solutions are also used to block access to productivity draining websites such as social media networks, gaming, gambling, and dating websites. They can also help with compliance. Healthcare organizations can block access to Facebook Messenger and other chat platforms where impermissible disclosures of protected health information may occur, block shadow IT downloads based on URLs, and prevent the uploading of files on certain apps.

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Content controls can be applied for individual users, guests, patients, departments, by role, or for the entire organization.

Malware, Ransomware & Phishing Protection

A DNS filter is an important part of the security stack. Restrictions can be placed on the types of files that can be downloaded such as .exe, .scr, and .js files, which are often used to install malware and ransomware.

Phishing is a major threat for healthcare organizations. A DNS filter adds an extra layer of security to phishing defenses by providing time-of-click protection against malicious links embedded in emails that bypass spam filtering controls. When an employee clicks a hyperlink in a phishing email that directs them to a known malicious website, they will be directed to a local block screen negating the threat. Controls can also be set for websites with a low trust score. Trust thresholds can be set based on the organization’s level of risk tolerance.

Cisco Umbrella Ordering Guide

There is a Cisco Umbrella ordering guide available that explains the security functions of the Cisco Umbrella cloud security service, such as DNS-layer security, a secure web gateway, cloud-delivered firewall, and cloud access security broker.

The Cisco Umbrella ordering guide explains the features you get with each of the three Cisco Umbrella licensing packages – the basic Cisco Umbrella DNS filtering service – Cisco Umbrella DNS Security Essentials – the mid-range solution – Cisco Umbrella DNS Security Advantage, and the most comprehensive package, Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) Essentials.  There is also a Cisco Umbrella ordering guide that explains Cisco Umbrella licensing for partners and MSPs who are looking for a DNS security and cloud security service provider to add these capabilities to their security stacks.

How Much Does Cisco Umbrella Cost?

How much is Cisco Umbrella likely to cost your organization? The cost of Cisco Umbrella is variable and depends on several factors, such as the number of users, the features required, and which add-ons are chosen.

For Umbrella, Cisco pricing is largely determined by the features required. Cisco currently has three pricing tiers: The lowest tier is DNS Security Essentials, the middle tier is DNS Security Advantage, and the most powerful, feature-rich option is Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) Essentials. Each package includes all the features of the previous packages plus extras for greater protection.

Cisco Umbrella Licensing

  • DNS Security Essentials offers standard DNS filtering capabilities such as on- and off-network protection, category and domain-based filtering, and Active Directory integration.
  • DNS Security Advantage includes a secure web gateway that provides URL and file inspection, while DNS Security Essentials relies on blacklists of known malicious websites. This package also includes Umbrella Investigate, which provides deeper context during investigations.
  • SIG Essentials includes a more comprehensive secure web gateway and a cloud-delivered firewall. A cloud access security broker is used for discovering and blocking shadow IT based on URLs and for blocking uploads, attachments, and posts for selected apps. The cost of Cisco Umbrella varies considerably based on the package chosen.

To find out about Cisco Umbrella pricing it is necessary to contact the company for a quote. In addition to the standard package prices, optional extras will need to be factored into the price. For instance, the standard Cisco Umbrella price does not include advanced support.

Cisco Umbrella Pricing Per User

The basic cost of Cisco Umbrella in 2019 for a healthcare organization with 100 users is $2.20 per user, per month or $2,640 per year. It may be possible to lower Cisco Umbrella costs by committing to long term use.

Budgets for new IT solutions will no doubt be stretched, so it is important to weigh up the costs and benefits of any solution before committing to a purchase and to compare Cisco Umbrella pricing with other, comparable DNS filtering solutions.

The Cisco Umbrella costs may seem high compared to other solutions, but the Cisco Umbrella price is reasonable for the level of protection provided. It is a powerful web filtering solution for healthcare organizations and is priced accordingly, but does sit and at the top end of the price spectrum.

If you are looking for web filtering at a lower price, there are several Cisco Umbrella alternatives that may provide all the features you need at a much-reduced cost. There are DNS filters for healthcare organizations that cost around $1 per user, per month.

Whichever solution is chosen, it is likely to more than pay for itself by preventing costly malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks and from productivity gains from content filtering.


What is a DNS-based web filter?

A DNS-based web filter is an Internet security solution that is used to block Internet-based threats and control the content that can be accessed by end users. The solution works at the DNS lookup stage of a web request. When the DNS server locates the IP address of a website, a connection will only be made if the requested URL passes a variety of checks and controls set by the system administrator.

What does Cisco Umbrella protect against?

Cisco Umbrella is a secure Internet gateway that provides protection for employees on the Internet using corporate-owned devices and personal devices used under BYOD. The solution provides full visibility into Internet access across all locations and devices and blocks malware and ransomware downloads, the web-based component of phishing attacks, and other threats over any port or protocol.

How does Cisco Umbrella compare to other web filtering solutions?

Cisco Umbrella is an accomplished web security solution with a price to match. There are several solution providers that offer more extensive features than the DNS Security Essentials package at a lower price. It pays to shop around to find the best solution for your business at the best price.

What are the main Cisco Umbrella competitors?

There are many alternatives to Cisco Umbrella that provide DNS-based web security. Some of the main competitor solutions are WebTitan Web Security, DNSFilter, Forcepoint Web Security, iBoss, Zscaler Internet Access, and McAfee Web Protection.

Is web filtering necessary in healthcare?

Web filtering is an important cybersecurity measure for blocking malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks and is an essential component of a ‘defense in depth’ cybersecurity strategy. A web filter can block cyberattacks that bypass other cybersecurity measures and is especially important in the healthcare industry, where phishing and malware attacks are commonplace.

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Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.