Cisco Umbrella Review

Segmenting email and web proxy features stand out but missing pieces leave holes to be filled

What is our primary use case?

Cisco has its own cloud that they manage Umbrella on. So Umbrella is not like any part of AWS or Azure or GPP. Our use case for Umbrella all depends on our customer's requirements. Cisco Umbrella has many packages to help address these requirements. The current package which we are working on incorporating more is Cisco Umbrella SIG, which is the Secure Internet Gateway. It has just been launched as part of Umbrella and we are currently exploring its capabilities and utility for our clients.  

There are a lot of use cases for Umbrella, and for us those use cases include the following:  

  • One of the more important use cases for clients is using the product as a web proxy.  
  • A second thing would be a situation where a customer wants to block access to an employee's personal email account and allow only corporate email accounts.  
  • A third would be the cloud-delivered firewall. This would cover a situation where a customer would create a tunnel between their on-prem firewall to the Cisco Umbrella cloud. This would make it so that all the traffic is filtered by the Cisco Cloud Firewall.  
  • We use it to support our MDM (Mobile Device Management) integration. Umbrella can be integrated with various MDM products, like AirWatch and MobileIron, and that category of products.  
  • Umbrella supports family integrations. So we can search for information from AWS or Azure-based clouds and we can create family-based policies using Umbrella.  
  • Umbrella provides support for some features of Kaspersky. For example, it can tell you what all apps are running on the endpoints and it can give you granular control over those apps.  

These are only a few of the use cases which I think are most important for us and our clients at this time when using Umbrella.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature which I found in Umbrella is the segmentation of personal accounts from corporate accounts. In order to work with this, Umbrella has a feature where we add the ID of the customer's Gmail account or the Azure account. That ID is then used as a filter to separate access so that only corporate Gmail will be accessible and it can block personal accounts.  

The second very valuable feature is the web proxy part which is effective in determining if a feed may be malicious.  

What needs improvement?

Data reporting is something I would like to see improved.  

Cisco is currently rolling out data centers for this type of solution. Currently, they do not have data centers everywhere. For example, they do have one in Singapore but they do not have one in India. My clients are in India and they find an issue of slowness in the services from the Singapore data center. Cisco is working on building a data center in India to address the issue but information about the completion of that project are lacking details.  

In the next release of Cisco Umbrella, I would like to see a DLP solution. That could be a feature someone can addon. But it should be a real Data Leakage Prevention solution to more securely handle the data.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Umbrella for around three years now.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is stable and it is very easy also to scale up.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Usually, a product is really designed for small, medium, or big companies. I think Umbrella is good to serve any size customer. The range could start from 200 users and then you have an interface that can handle anywhere up to 5,000 to 6,000 users. I think anything is possible with Umbrella as far as scaling usage because of the package and licensing options.  

If you want to increase the number of users you just have to inform Cisco to tell them to increase the seat count on Umbrella. We can renew our licenses to be in compliance with the Cisco licensing policy.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I had worked for Juniper support before and I worked for other tech support teams and I feel that Cisco's type of support is the best. The response time has been right on and then they isolate all of the issues. It is the best product support I have seen in a long time.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple, you can set up Umbrella within two minutes I would say. You just have to point the DNS to Umbrella and that is it. So it is very easy to deploy and set up.  

Actually, I am from the research team. We make the solution requirements, then the product moves on to the process team. Once I have made a solution, then the product team takes care of rolling out the implementation.  

As this solution is a public cloud solution, there is very little maintenance which the customer has left to do. The setup is relatively easy and it is very good for the client.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing part for Umbrella is really flexible. If a customer purchases a thousand licenses, and if at any point the customer overshoots the available license count, Umbrella would not stop working for the additional users. Cisco would be informed that there is an attempt at overconsumption of the licenses and they would inform the customers that their license count has been increased. It will do this automatically. The customer can take action to renew those licenses. So it is flexible.  

There are three models for licensing. There is the Cisco Umbrella essential plan, then you have the advantage plan, and then they have the plan including SID. Every license comes with a different feature set.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would give someone looking at the Umbrella solution is that they can evaluate Umbrella because it is very easy to set up. You can get started discovering the product and do a little to check it out. They should make sure that all their use cases are covered by Umbrella.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate Cisco Umbrella as somewhere between a seven-point-five to eight, personally. But I will give it a seven overall.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor
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