All about Cisco Umbrella in simple terms

Umbrella is a product offered by Cisco, who are the worldwide leaders in networking for the Internet. The product itself makes companies a lot more secure as it prevents access to known bad websites, which can often cause virus infections or even worse, leak your data to others.
Umbrella started life as a product called ‘OpenDNS’ which has been on the market since 2006. OpenDNS was aimed at both home and business users, with a goal to provide faster and safer internet browsing for everyone. Cisco bought OpenDNS in 2015 and rebranded it as ‘Umbrella’.

How does Cisco Umbrella work?

Well, let’s start by talking about the Internet. Every website we visit has a reference number associated with it, called the server IP address. That IP address is unique, just like a phone number is unique to every contact in our phone.

Most of the time when we make calls, we don’t usually bother remembering a phone number – we just press a person’s name on the screen and our address book converts the name into a phone number and dials it. Cisco Umbrella acts in much the same way.

When people type ‘www.’ addresses into their internet browser, it converts the website name that has been typed into a unique server IP address, and directs us to the website we wanted.

This website name to IP address conversion process is part of Cisco Umbrella’s Domain Name System service (or DNS for short).

But Umbrella doesn’t stop there.

You know how every place in the world has good neighbourhoods and bad neighbourhoods? Well, the same can be said of the internet – it has good websites and bad websites.These bad websites are often referred to as ‘malicious’ websites, because they are aiming to harm you or your company in some way. They can be used to steal or delete personal information, or even extort money by secretly installing something called ‘ransomware’ on computers.

Cisco Umbrella not only directs us to the good websites that we want to access, it also studies the internet and keeps a record of all the websites that are known to be safe, and those that are malicious (or closely associated with malicious websites). It only lets us access the websites it knows to be good.

Back in 2016, AV-TEST (The independent IT-Security Institute) analysed millions of websites widely distributed on Google and other search engines, and concluded that there were 29,632 infected web pages being delivered in search results (up from 18,280 in 2015). This number continues to grow.

Cisco Umbrella automatically blocks access to these sites and stops the threat at source, before you even connect.

Can it do anything else?

Cisco Umbrella is an incredibly simple but very powerful service. Not only does it provide users with a very strong layer of protection from the bad/malicious websites that are out there – it can also help business leaders understand what sites employees are accessing, and gives the ability to decide which ones should or should not be accessed in the workplace. This is sometimes referred to as content filtering and you can read more about it here.

Where do Ironshare fit in?

Ironshare can help you to get up and running with Cisco Umbrella within days. We not only provide and install the Umbrella service, we can also manage the day-to-day running and reporting, leaving your teams to get on with their usual day job.

Our aim is to provide Security, Simplified. That means we can communicate in a non-technical manner (or technical if you prefer) and just give you the information you want.

Step 1 – Simple Pricing

Ironshare are registered Cisco partners and operate in a completely transparent manner. Unlike other providers we make no secret of our pricing and you can simply click here to get an accurate price estimate in less than 60 seconds. No nonsense – simple!

Cisco Select

Step 2 – Simple Installation

Umbrella requires no on-site hardware and can be installed very quickly, providing security coverage to all the devices connected to your network in just minutes. This means that you can immediately start to protect your users from malicious websites.

If your people are using phones, laptops and other mobile devices to connect to your network and browse the internet and regardless of where they are, in the office, on the road, in a café or at home – protection will be in place immediately.

Our technical team would need to speak with one of your networking personnel, but enabling the initial product is straightforward. There might be other factors to consider for wider deployment, depending on how your network is arranged – but none will be complicated and even the largest of companies can have this deployed very quickly.

We will guide you through the entire process. No hidden costs – simple!

Step 3 – Simple Management

Although Umbrella has a great management interface, it does take time to get up to speed with the internal workings of the product, so to manage this yourself would require some dedicated resource to first of all learn, but then maintain and get the best out of Cisco Umbrella.
Our experienced team at Ironshare have worked with the product for years, and have in fact been engaged with Cisco to drive continuous improvements to the overall functionality.

One of the first steps we would cover is to talk to you about what you want to achieve, then after the initial setup we will deliver you a managed service that ensures your users are protected, but also work with you to tailor any content filtering restrictions you might want to put in place.

In addition, we’ll provide you with a monthly report that summarises all of the interesting facts and figures, and we’ll also give you recommendations on internal actions you might need to take.

A good example of this might be if we see a particular PC is repeatedly trying to contact a malicious website – it’s probably got a virus. In this scenario, Umbrella would be protecting the user in question, but it would be important to take some action to clean up and remove the virus.

Ironshare are a small, niche security consultancy focused on delivery of fast and efficient solutions to businesses. Our experienced team aim to provide a fully managed service that takes the strain away from your employees and allows you to focus on your core business.

Ironshare – Security, Simplified

If you have any questions – please Contact Us here.