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Cisco Web Security Appliance OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco Web Security Appliance is the #5 ranked solution in our list of top Web Security Gateways. It is most often compared to Cisco Umbrella: Cisco Web Security Appliance vs Cisco Umbrella

What is Cisco Web Security Appliance?

For security, your network needs malware protection, application visibility and control, acceptable use policy controls, insightful reporting and secure mobility. Cisco offers this protection, all on a single platform: the Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA).

Cisco Web Security Appliance is also known as Cisco WSA, Cisco Web Security.

Cisco Web Security Appliance Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Web Security Appliance Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Cisco Web Security Appliance Customers

New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Caixa Seguradora

Cisco Web Security Appliance Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Web Security Appliance pricing:
  • "Regarding Cisco price-wise, it is always on a bit on the higher side."
  • "Licensing fees are based on the number of users."
  • "I know from the manager that the price is too high and that other solutions offer the same features for less."
  • "Cisco Web Security Appliance is not the cheapest solution on the market, but it's well worth it."

Cisco Web Security Appliance Reviews

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Dipmalya Dasgupta
Solution Architect- Network Infrastructure at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5
We always hear from our customers that this is one of the products that they are very satisfied with

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco is the best in giving technical support. There is no doubt about that."
  • "The one thing I don't like about Cisco is that they are very much fragmented in terms of providing the complete solution. They keep on breaking their different feature sets into different boxes."

How has it helped my organization?

We have implemented Cisco Web Security Appliance in quite a few places and the results are quite satisfactory. We haven't faced any kind of challenge from it. Neither has the customer reported anything.

I am a solution architect. So I'm able to discuss in terms of configuration management. All I can say is that from a solution perspective, whatever the customer is basically looking for from our web security appliance, Cisco Web Security Appliance has met it all. And more importantly, wherever we have deployed this kind of Web Security Appliance, Cisco hasn't faced any kind of escalation from our customers. And whenever we go for review with them for their satisfaction level, we have always heard that this is one of the products that they are very satisfied with.

What needs improvement?

Obviously there is always room for improvement for almost all the appliances available in the market. But there are scopes for improvement. I'm pretty sure that Cisco will keep on integrating different feature sets as the market demands and I have seen Cisco as an organization that puts in proactive efforts providing different features before they come into the market. So I'm pretty sure that Cisco will give due diligence in terms of providing all the features in their WSA. 

But one thing I don't like with Cisco is that they're very fragmented in terms of feature sets. What I mean is that the one thing I don't like about Cisco is that they are very much fragmented in terms of providing the complete solution. They keep on breaking their different feature sets into different boxes. The days are coming when almost all the customers are looking for a consolidated box or a box wherein you can have multiple feature sets based on infrastructure, which will decrease the carbon footprint in the data center. Then, obviously, the number of devices they will have in the data center will go down. So cooling requirements and power requirements will also go down. So that's what the customer is looking at. But Cisco is too segmented. They gave ESA, they gave WSA, they give their next-generation Firewall Firepower. Then they gave a management center. And for network AMP they made a separate box set. So there are too many devices.

Though I understand technically that, yes, fragmented technology is best because we should let the dedicated device do dedicated jobs. But again, in terms of customer acceptability and the customer's point of view, consolidated devices make much more sense for them.

I would obviously prefer the WSA to be integrated with ESA because there is no point putting so many hardware devices and infrastructures in. So if WSA had the functionality of ESA, at least the basic functionality of ESA, it could be merged into a single box, and that would be good.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Cisco Web Security Appliance is stable. Very recently we deployed corporate-wide security practices with all the Cisco devices like Cisco Firepower, Cisco AMP, Cisco Cloud Email Security, Umbrella, and so on and so forth. That infrastructure is running quite okay for the last two to two and a half years. So I must say that all the security products are quite stable in nature.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco is the best in giving technical support. There is no doubt about that. I am working with Cisco on a range of products since 2004.

I have dealt with all their technical related support. I used to be in deployment. Then I used a lot of their super technical support. But once I migrated from the implementation team to the solution designing team, I did not require that kind of technical support from them in terms of their technical assistance. But yes, I still have discussions with my implementation team and they keep telling me that one of the best features is the technical support we get from Cisco. So as far as technical support is concerned, I don't think that there is a match for Cisco.

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

Regarding Cisco price-wise, it is always a bit on the higher side. Apart from a few products, if you look at the majority of Cisco products, they are a bit on the higher side as far as the market is concerned. Obviously it would be good if Cisco could cut down on their prices, but they would have to do a lot of negotiation or compromise in terms of their product quality and support quality and a lot of customers may not like that. Price is something very dynamic. In India, actually, we don't find that much of a challenge with prices in enterprises and in government.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give Cisco Web Security Appliance an 8.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
DA
Owner at Letris
Real User
Top 20
Has high availability and is easy to scale horizontally

Pros and Cons

  • "It also has high availability."
  • "If a user wants to use it for other devices like mobile or smartphones, this product isn't so reliable."

What is most valuable?

Web Security Appliance is a proxy and I have gotten active with the open-source proxy. If I want a feature that is not present, most of the database updates and filters are good. Our clients use Cisco Palace which is a very big database that is very quickly updated.

It also has high availability. These kinds of solutions impact the user experience. If you have an issue with the proxy not responding, you have to install or activate new does in order to reestablish the connections for the customer. 

What needs improvement?

There are some problems with this solution but it's not related to this product. If a user wants to use it for other devices like mobile or smartphones, this product isn't so reliable. If you want to implement it in a track point mode, it is difficult to implement and is not so reliable. There should be more implementation. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Web Security Appliance for five to six years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We have thousands of users and they don't have any issues with it. It's very stable.

If you want this product to be stable you have to put it through the EPS and you have to manage the connection to the power. If you shut down the product, there will be a problem because they encrypt the discs and you'll have hardware loss. The solution won't work. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. If you buy one bundle with 100 users, you can install unlimited appliances to scale horizontally. You can have ten appliances that can log share communications. It's very scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have contacted Cisco support for other products. I am satisfied with their support. It depends on the level of the technician you get. If you are an end-user you start with level one help which isn't so easy. If you request escalation to the next level you get a good level of support. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I only used an open-source solution. Cisco's advantage is the support and they have good scalability which is not so easy to implement in other solutions. 

How was the initial setup?

The level of complexity of the initial setup will depend on the level of customization. If you want to start the product with the best practices presented by Cisco, it's very easy. You have to manage your own IP addresses and check that the service is okay. It's integrated with other services and then apply it to your users. It's very easy to implement. You need a high level of skills to manage it. If you want special customization or a high level of security activation, it may be a bit more complex. 

For a single appliance without any high-appliance activated and if you have all the data, DNS servers, and IP addresses, it can around an hour to implement.

What other advice do I have?

Try it. See how it works, it's not difficult to implement and it's not so expensive. I would recommend it. 

I would rate it a ten out of ten. 

In the next release, I would like to see reporting to implement more features. The license should also be more flexible. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Web Security Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,823 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Usman Rasool
VP - Head Enterprise IT Infrastructure at MIB
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A stable solution that provides valuable insight into user activities and bandwidth usage

Pros and Cons

  • "This appliance gives me good visibility in the userbase and their activities."
  • "The licensing model needs to be more flexible."

What is our primary use case?

We are using the Cisco Web Security Appliance as part of the security in our data center. Our data center includes equipment and software from a variety of vendors including Cisco, Dell EMC, Microsoft, and Veritas.

What is most valuable?

This appliance gives me good visibility in the userbase and their activities. I can see what they are using, which websites they are browsing, a history for each user, and how much bandwidth they have utilized.

It integrates well into the Cisco environment.

What needs improvement?

The licensing model needs to be more flexible. How it works is that you can have from zero to 499 users at the first stage, then from 500 to 999 users at stage two, and so on. They need to be more flexible because when you exceed 1,000 users then you are supposed to deploy a separate appliance to cater to them.

The technical support could use some improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the Cisco Web Security Appliance for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this product is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a scalable appliance that can integrate with my endpoint security appliances, as well as my core networking appliances. 

We acquired 200 additional licenses this year and we plan to continue increasing our usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been in contact with Cisco technical support and they are good. I would not say that they are the best, or highly recommended, but they are good.

The problem we experienced had to do with the ownership of the ticket. When we engage one engineer and explain everything, they continue to work on it until their shift ends. At that point, we have to explain everything to the next engineer, from scratch, and they continue to work on it. I think that one engineer should take ownership of the problem until it is complete.

How was the initial setup?

We found the initial setup to be slightly complex because it was a new product for me and my team. We installed it in the Unity environment and tested it for quite some time. Then we deployed it slowly, starting with the back office and then rolling it out to the branches. The deployment took about four months to bring it from purchase, through a PoC, and into production.

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

Licensing fees are based on the number of users.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated several products but because we were already using Cisco, it was easy for us to get discounts on this appliance. It also integrated well with our existing environment.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is researching this appliance is to first determine exactly what it is that they require. There are a lot of applications and features but many of the features are useless for the organization. For example, if they do not need the DDoS features then they shouldn't get them and pay the additional fee.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MF
Network Security Engineer & Systems Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Good third-party integration for user authentication and authorization, but technical support needs improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution offers categorization for YouTube and other specific applications from Facebook to WhatsApp, which can be controlled whether it's on mobile or PC."
  • "Technical support needs to be improved because they take a very long time and there is no communication or notification."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for securing network traffic.

What is most valuable?

The Gateway is an advantage that I can see in Cisco. 

The WCCP is good at delivering HTTP and HTTPS traffic. Before this ping forwarding was a problem for us.

This solution offers categorization for YouTube and other specific applications from Facebook to WhatsApp, which can be controlled whether it's on mobile or PC.

You can partition your IPs based on scoring from Cisco Cloud.

There is a variety of options for integration with other products for authentication and authorization of users.

You can control everything through policy.

What needs improvement?

Technical support needs to be improved because they take a very long time and there is no communication or notification.

Controlling engines at the network layer needs to handle more links or multiple links from the internet.

Controlling with the applications, or more applications as part of the local applications so that it's bigger.

The price should be moderated.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this product in my daily operations for forty years.

How are customer service and technical support?

When it comes to this technical support, sometimes it is not good. If you open a case with the local region here in the Middle East, sometimes also from the outside, the tech support takes a long time getting you logged in and troubleshooting files and screenshots.

They are not quick to respond or in the analysis, they don't even let you know what the current status is with my issue or a plan of resolving it.

I have been impacted often with issues regarding our integration from Cisco with this solution.

The technical support takes a lot of time without any feedback or any answers. They never even let you know if they are working on fixing it. 

After some time, I end up fixing it myself.

 And after a long time, I troubleshoot this issue and fix it myself. And notification would be cleared.

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

I know from the manager that the price is too high and that other solutions offer the same features for less.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are some other powerful competitors such as ForcePoint and Symantec.

What other advice do I have?

I use this product and implement it.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
JO
Network Support Engineer at a government with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to deploy with good scalability but the stability could be more reliable

Pros and Cons

  • "The deployment process is very simple."
  • "The solution needs to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution to verify the identity of users that are connecting to the network. It's used to check the compliance of their systems before they are able to connect.

What is most valuable?

There isn't that much to it. It's not overly complex.

The scalability is good.

The deployment process is very simple.

Technical support is okay.

What needs improvement?

The stability could be better. 

The solution needs to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate. It's not so easy right now. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years at this point. I've used it for a while. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is lacking and is something that should be looked at. We don't find it to be very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution offers good scalability. If a company need sot expand it, it can do so. It's not a problem.

We have about 50,000 users on the solution currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've contacted technical support in the past and they have been fine. Cisco has relatively good technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is very easy to implement. It's not overly complex or too difficult. Our deployment took about six months.

We have five team members that can handle setups and maintenance tasks. They are engineers.

What about the implementation team?

While we did do some of the initial setup ourselves, we did also have a consultant come in to assist in certain areas from time to time. 

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

There is a one-time licensing fee that needs to be paid. 

What other advice do I have?

We are using the latest version of the solution, however, I cannot speak to the exact version number.

I would rate the solution at a seven out of ten. It's an okay solution that needs better stability.

I would recommend the solution to other companies and organizations. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Enrique Diaz Jolly
Owner at Jolly Security Inc
Real User
Top 5
An all-in-one highly secure web gateway

Pros and Cons

  • "It integrates well with Cisco Email Security Appliance."
  • "Sometimes reporting is a little bit short."

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Web Security Appliance as a security proxy when using the web.

What is most valuable?

It integrates well with Cisco Email Security Appliance. This way, even if a customer clicks on a link that is malicious, thanks to Cisco Web Security Appliance, you have a second chance to protect your website.

Integration-wise, browser-security-wise (for users browsing the internet), it's one of the greatest tools.

This appliance is quite accurate when it comes to categorial filtering. However, It's not as sophisticated as Blue Coat, which features malware blue, malware red, and malware yellow filters. Sometimes I feel that Blue Coat actually has too many categories, which can be confusing — the granularity is good, but the quantity is too much.

What needs improvement?

Sometimes reporting is a little bit short. Cisco has always put more emphasis on developing big products that are very robust security-wise, rather than focusing on developing solutions with a lot of bells and whistles. In other words, it's not beautiful, but it gets the job done.

Reporting is not so beautiful compared to other solutions, it's not so cute and colorful; however, it does a very good job in the areas that it supports — because it detects malware and malicious code. There is a ton of intelligence behind it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since it was first released.

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

Cisco Web Security Appliance is not the cheapest solution on the market, but it's well worth it.

What other advice do I have?

Implementation has to be done right, it's very important. It's not enough just to connect it — that won't make the traffic go through. 

You have to really think about how you want to route the traffic. It's for HTTP and HTTPS. Speaking of HTTPS, you have to consider the well-done proxying, otherwise, you will be breaking internet security because you'll have issues with the certificates, et cetera. So you have to do a very well-planned integration.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight. Security-wise, it's a great product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Sokhna DIOKH
Integrating engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
A stable part of our overall security solution

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is security."
  • "The GUI is not user-friendly, so it needs to improve or be simplified."

What is our primary use case?

We are system integrators and deploy solutions in our client's environment. The primary use case is to allow or deny access to sites or special networks.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is security.

What needs improvement?

The GUI is not user-friendly, so it needs to improve or be simplified.

The initial setup is complex, it could be easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with the Cisco Web Security Appliance for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution itself is stable, but it all depends on the infrastructure of the end-user, and how to integrate the product to the end-user.

It really depends on the complexity of the infrastructure and the design.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using the Fortinet FortiGate Cloud a year ago. Fortinet is easier to use than Cisco.

We also use Cisco Firepower, ASA, the WSA, and ESA for email.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a bit complex.

It can take two to three days to deploy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are evaluating the Fortinet FortiGate Cloud.

What other advice do I have?

In the future, we plan to use it in the cloud when there is a Cisco solution available, depending on the market and the purchasing power of the customers.

I would rate this solution an eight out ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
RS
Sr. Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Stable solution with good technical support but the graphical interface needs improvement

What is our primary use case?

We are using this solution as a proxy.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that we can use it as a proxy.

What needs improvement?

They need a better graphical interface, and they need a better ISE mechanism. In the next release, I would like to see the reporting features enhanced.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Cisco Web Security Appliance for three to four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you want to go to the next level, you will have to change the hardware. The general requirement is that when you reach the hardware limitations, you have to change it. Depending on the customer,…

What is our primary use case?

We are using this solution as a proxy.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that we can use it as a proxy.

What needs improvement?

They need a better graphical interface, and they need a better ISE mechanism.

In the next release, I would like to see the reporting features enhanced.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Cisco Web Security Appliance for three to four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you want to go to the next level, you will have to change the hardware. The general requirement is that when you reach the hardware limitations, you have to change it.

Depending on the customer, there are anywhere from 100 to 500 uses.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have contacted technical support and I was satisfied with their help.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't easy but not complex either.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented this solution.

What other advice do I have?

You need a fair comparison with other solutions to judge and compare others fairly. I have only used Cisco and would not be able to provide a fair assessment.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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