Cisco Umbrella Review

Fully functional, mitigates problems before they strike, and simple to install and configure


What is our primary use case?

I am using it at home for my personal defense. We also use it in our company.

How has it helped my organization?

A lot of my stance, even before Covid, has been the assumption that people aren't in the office, and if you're going to have a mechanism, it has got to be there for the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable are those who are furthest outside our firewall. That's how I've always constructed my sort of security posture.

I tend to use Umbrella as one of my favorite solutions because it allows me to mitigate problems before they strike the firewall. It allows me to set policies that are effective whether people are on-premise or working from home. It is fully functional for its purpose. It is not a replacement for a firewall or antivirus. It gives you a nice skin on your onion that is pretty strong, and that's what I like about it. It mitigates things before I have to deal with them, and I can see those reports. It also stops people from going to different places.

What is most valuable?

Its simplicity is most valuable. I can install it and get it up and running, and it can be pervasive across my business within a business day.

It is pretty simple and straightforward to install and configure. Its remit is reasonably clearly defined. When you look at solutions like Darktrace and Carbon Black, the mission objective isn't as clearly defined. Cisco Umbrella, Sophos Central, or some of the other solutions have a more standardized approach to antivirus, which includes enhanced response from the machine learning or deep learning perspective.

What needs improvement?

The API is very Cisco orientated, which is absolutely fine if you're using Cisco Firepower and SecureX kind of products, but if you want to integrate with third parties, it is a bit tricky. There are some key API connectors for the more prevalent SIEM tools.

I would really like to see in Cisco Umbrella the ability to create customized reports and then assign the rights to view these reports to people within a group. I should be able to create a customized report, which is viewable by anybody who has the rights. I should be able to create groups within Cisco Umbrella, and then assign reports to groups and have those reports split out automatically only to those groups. I can kind of do it by restricting my email list, but it is a half-complete way of doing it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for probably 15 or 16 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is fully functional for its purpose. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I used to call them regularly. They're pretty good.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup is very straightforward. It is a DNS redirect, so it takes literally about five minutes to configure it. The only thing that is tricky is going in and defining your policies, but that's what I call the evolution of the product. You start with simple monitoring, and then you refine it over time.

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

It has a reasonable price. It is certainly not as expensive as it used to be. It is in line with other offerings on the market.

There are a number of different flavors of Umbrella. They could bring Umbrella SIG down a bit because its price is a little bit high for what it does, but I also understand why its price is high.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise having a clear idea of where you want your users to go, what do you want to do, and what do you want to restrict your users on. Have a clear point of view, and then look at it from the perspective of the role of the user within the organization. This is going to define your groups. You can then put users in groups, and then you've kind of related roles and groups, which makes management easier in the future.

I would rate Cisco Umbrella an eight out of ten. It is good and solid, but it is not perfect, so it is not a ten. There are areas of improvement, so it is not a nine.

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