Cisco Umbrella vs Cisco Web Security Appliance comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Aug 1, 2023

We compared Cisco Umbrella and Cisco Web Security Appliance across several parameters based on our users' reviews. After reading the collected data, you can find our conclusion below:

  • Features: Cisco Umbrella is highly regarded for its seamless integration with existing infrastructure, extensive range of security features, and ability to centrally manage security. Cisco Web Security Appliance receives acclaim for its user-friendly interface, ability to handle increasing demands, and flexible policy customization options.

  • Room for Improvement: Cisco Umbrella could enhance security by adding a transferring proxy feature and improving its Linux agent for Linux-based companies. Cisco Web Security Appliance needs improvement in stability, user-friendliness, and navigation. Users want more filters, automation, and a built-in firewall-like feature.

  • Ease of Deployment: Cisco Umbrella's setup is simple and can be completed in around 30 minutes. The initial setup for Cisco Web Security Appliance is generally considered easy and can be implemented within a few days or up to a week, depending on complexity. Most customers find the setup process efficient and satisfactory.

  • Service and Support: Customers have praised Cisco Umbrella's support, describing it as excellent and superior to the customer service of other vendors. While the customer service for Cisco Web Security Appliance is considered good, some customers say there is room for improvement.

  • Pricing: The cost of Cisco Umbrella differs based on the specific needs and approach of the customer, with flexible pricing and transparent charges. It is seen as both reasonable and competitive by some, but a few perceive it as costly. 

  • ROI: Cisco Umbrella has proven to be a valuable investment by addressing maintenance concerns, reducing expenses associated with hardware updates, and effectively thwarting threats. It offers enhanced visibility and aids in remediation efforts. Users said it is challenging to determine the precise ROI for Cisco Web Security Appliance is challenging due to bundled expenses, but some noted that the potential losses resulting from attacks could be massive.

Comparison Results: Users appreciate Cisco Umbrella for its easy setup, extensive security features, and ability to centrally manage security, while Web Security Appliance is valued for its simplicity and scalability. Cisco Umbrella could improve its Linux agent. Web Security Appliance users say the solution could be more stable and user-friendly. Both products are considered to be reasonably priced, but some users find Cisco Umbrella to be costly. Both products earned high marks for customer service and support. Both products demonstrate a positive ROI and provide good customer support, but Web Security Appliance users mentioned occasional delays.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance Report (Updated: September 2023).
735,226 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The most valuable features are the antivirus as a whole, the anti-malware, and all of the protection features that scan our enterprise devices.""The protection offered by the product is the most valuable feature. It detects vulnerabilities or traps on our users' phones and then prompts them to clean up their devices. Tools we used previously would only discover, which required us to gather information on the backend, so Lookout is a welcome upgrade."

More Lookout Pros →

"It is a good cloud-based solution for DNS security.""The most valuable feature is its ability to detect if a URL has malware or is vulnerable.""The most valuable thing is how easy it is to deploy. We did it with 9,000 users at my last job, and it took a week to get to all the endpoints. Doing that without having to physically touch all those endpoints was very simple.""It enables us to go granular in the customization of blocking some categories on the DNS.""The most valuable feature is the ability to filter malware sites that could infect clients or allow them to download infected files.""I also think that the dashboard view is really helpful. Whenever sites get blocked, we get the details and the users who are connecting to them.""We immediately block impersonating users from accessing services over Cisco Umbrella-controlled devices.""One of the most important features is the security posture check which Umbrella offers when a user accesses any website. That is one of the most unique features that it offers."

More Cisco Umbrella Pros →

"It also allows you to decrypt SSL traffic, and that's a really important feature as well, which is something I also configured.""Since working with the tool, we have not found any threats in our organization.""The tool has good Umbrella DNS security.""Cisco Web Security Appliance can integrate with Active Directory, enabling us to manage all the end-users within AD. It's helpful for setting rules based on individual users and groups. For example, you can configure policies for inbound and outbound traffic.""The tool has good Umbrella DNS security.""The most valuable feature of Cisco Web Security Appliance is the provided anti-malware functionality and URL categorization. I can block access to malicious websites. 99 percent of the cases are related to a malicious website. If I cannot browse those malicious websites, then we are 99 percent protected.""The product is stable.""The initial setup is straightforward."

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"From the analysis that we've done, they do seem to be maybe a step behind in trying to enter the market with a new solution. But when they do pick up, they do come out with some good products.""We just submitted an enhancement request reflecting the main area we want to see improvement in; the APIs. Currently, we're able to build dashboards, but it's somewhat backward because we use our MDM API to create them. Lookout should provide API to customers so we can query our data and use it in our cloud, and this is the only outstanding area for improvement with the product right now."

More Lookout Cons →

"The only thing I can think of is that I'd like to see a little more flexibility in policy creation. The way that policy is currently structured is like a "first hit succeeds" kind of policy. It would be nice if it were more hierarchical.""Their support should be improved. It is necessary that the support is efficient. It is not really easy to get a resolution for an issue from Cisco support. They should be faster and more efficient.""The main issue that we have is with the final steps or the full integration and getting rid of Zscaler. The company still has to fall back to Zscaler when something in Umbrella is not working as expected, such as when we enable SSL inspection. When something is not working 100%, the company is falling back to Zscaler.""There are a couple of different pieces that have different portals. I know they're working on getting them all into one portal, but that's probably the biggest thing that needs improvement right now. It's not a single pane of glass yet.""The integration with other solutions is a little complex. If you want to integrate with something like ArcSight or LogRhythm or Splunk, you need to do a lot of configuration. There are no easy ways to implement it.""We faced an issue regarding virtual appliances (VAs) during deployment. They could improve the quality and management of the virtual appliances offered right now. You can't see much because it is a Linux machine, and they have customized it. You don't have any route access to the machine, only seeing limited things in it. When we opened a ticket, they didn't know much about VAs themselves. So, that is where it is lacking right now. I know this will improve in the long run.""We would like them to add more features to Cisco Umbrella.""iOS devices and mobiles are huge in my environment right now, and I cannot run them on Cisco Umbrella 24/7."

More Cisco Umbrella Cons →

"The solution is priced high.""The transparent proxy is quite difficult to enforce on smartphones and tablets.""The tool needs to provide logs. They need to improve firewall threat defense.""I would like more automation.""We would like to see a security service head, where we can combine all the security into one solution.""It should have a user-based quota, per-user quota, that can be defined on the appliance.""The support for this solution could be improved. We have experienced issues with their SMARTnet support system.""Customer support is good but could be improved."

More Cisco Web Security Appliance Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The pricing is fair; it's comparable to our previous solution, and we carried out multiple POCs and POVs (proof of value). The product is worth the money we pay for it."
  • "Lookout is definitely on the lower end when it comes to price point and that seems to be the only differentiator. The technology is in place in this space and it's really about who is coming in at the better price point now."
  • More Lookout Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We were using the free version, and we implemented the paid version about two months ago. I'm paying a fair price, but everything is negotiable with Cisco. One of the benefits that I got by having Cisco Umbrella is the licensing of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client."
  • "There are no hidden costs with Umbrella. Everything is included in the package."
  • "There is room for improvement when it comes to the cost."
  • "The pricing is pretty fair. It's good."
  • "We have a security Enterprise Agreement with Cisco, so the pricing is good."
  • "The pricing is great and very competitive with the rest of the market."
  • "As an educational partner, we get better licensing structures. We are very happy with that. It has been very nice that Cisco has partnered with the educational sector to bring that."
  • "Its value exceeds its pricing."
  • More Cisco Umbrella Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This is an expensive solution."
  • "The solution's cost depends on how many users you purchase. It was maybe $3 or $5 per user, which is a bit expensive."
  • "At the time, licensing fees were paid on an annual basis."
  • "The licensing options begin with 100 users and this is a high threshold for smaller networks."
  • "There is a subscription-based license needed to use this solution."
  • "The solution has a standard license."
  • "I rate Cisco WSA a seven out of ten since it is costly."
  • "I rate Cisco WSA a seven out of ten since it is costly."
  • More Cisco Web Security Appliance Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:The most valuable features are the antivirus as a whole, the anti-malware, and all of the protection features that scan… more »
    Top Answer:Lookout comes in at a lower price point and that's how they get their foot in the door with customers. I respect that.
    Top Answer:I can really only speak about Lookout in the consumer space, not the enterprise space, but something that they are… more »
    Top Answer: Cisco Umbrella and Zscaler Internet Access are two broad-spectrum Internet security solutions that I have tried.… more »
    Top Answer:Cisco Umbrella is an integral component of the Cisco SASE architecture. It integrates security in a single, cloud-native… more »
    Top Answer:For us and for customers, it's the ease of integration with Meraki. It's just a couple of clicks. That allows us to… more »
    Top Answer:Cisco regularly upgrades features for the customer's security requirements.
    Top Answer:I rate Cisco WSA a seven out of ten since it is costly. The price might be a problem for smaller businesses. There are… more »
    Top Answer:We are planning to migrate the solution from in-house to the cloud. We would like to see a security service head, where… more »
    Also Known As
    Cisco WSA, Cisco Web Security
    Learn More

    Lookout is a well-established and powerful secure web gateway (SWG) solution that protects more than 200 million users from threats that can result from the penetration of unsecured web traffic into their networks. Lookout is designed to enable organizations to work remotely while maintaining a tight blanket of security over their confidential business data. It provides administrators with security that extends from their endpoints to the cloud service that they are using to run their organization’s network. 

    Users of Lookout are able to proactively detect threats and keep themselves secure from a field of threats that constantly evolves. IT teams can protect their organizations without having to rely on any other security solutions. This singular solution can run on multiple kinds of mobile devices. The privacy of individuals is preserved while keeping compliance rules intact. Additionally, users gain access to a number of tools that enable them to prevent security breaches from taking place.

    Lookout Benefits

    Some of the ways that organizations can benefit by deploying Lookout include:

    • Ease of deployment. Lookout is a solution whose design makes it easy for users to deploy it. It provides users with simple, step-by-step instructions that remove the need for organizations to devote extensive amounts of time to make sure that it is properly set up. Anyone can quickly set up the solution without undergoing technical training. 
    • Built-in support. Users of the Lookout application have access to built-in demos that can teach them how to use various solution features. Instead of spending time trying to figure out the application, users can watch the demo that is most relevant to them and see for themselves how that particular feature is used.
    • Easy-to-use user interface. Lookout’s user interface is laid out in an intuitive way that makes it easy for administrators to navigate. This interface is present in both the mobile and desktop versions of this solution. 
    • Settings customization. Lookout has a built-in settings customization menu. This makes it possible for administrators to easily customize their settings so that they best conform to their needs. 

    Lookout Features

    • Activity monitoring and activity tracking. Lookout’s activity monitoring and activity tracking capabilities enable users to keep a close eye on the activities that are taking place in their networks. IT teams and administrators have the ability to watch their networks for any unusual activity. These features ensure that organizations can keep ahead of any potential threats. They provide the kinds of insights and warnings that make the jobs of those IT teams and administrators much easier and more streamlined. 
    • Encryption. Organizations that employ Lookout can encrypt their networks and keep crucial business data from being read by unauthorized parties. This feature keeps the secrets organizations are trying to keep out of the wrong hands.
    • Anti-virus tools. Lookout provides users with tools to block threats from harming their networks. These tools can successfully block 99.6 percent of threats without raising false alarms. 

    Cisco Umbrella offers flexible, cloud-delivered security according to users’ requirements Cisco Umbrella includes secure web gateway, firewall, and cloud access security broker (CASB) functionality all delivered from a single cloud security service. Cisco Umbrella’s protection is extended to devices, remote users, and distributed locations anywhere. As company employees work from many locations and devices, Cisco Umbrella is the easiest way to effectively protect users everywhere in minutes.

    Cisco Umbrella uses machine learning to search for, identify, and even predict malicious domains. By learning from internet activity patterns, this DNS-layer security solution can automatically identify attacker infrastructure being staged for the next threat. These domains are then proactively blocked, protecting networks from potential compromise. Cisco Umbrella analyzes terabytes of data in real time across all markets, geographies, and protocols.

    Cisco Umbrella works with leading IT companies to integrate its security enforcement and intelligence. Built with a bidirectional API, Cisco Umbrella makes it easy to extend protection from on-premises security appliances to cloud controlled devices and sites.

    Cisco Umbrella is suitable for small businesses without dedicated security professionals, as well as for multinational enterprises with complex environments.

    Why use Cisco Umbrella?

    • Simplify security management: Cisco Umbrella is the fastest and easiest way to protect all users within minutes and reduces the number of infections and alerts sent from other security products by stopping threats at the earliest point. With no hardware to install and no software to manually update, ongoing management is simple

    • Reliable reporting: Cisco Umbrella reports show activity for each device or network in the system. Users gain a more complete picture of the security risks facing their organization and can take action to remedy them.

    • Manage and control cloud apps: Umbrella provides visibility into sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services in use across the enterprise. Users can uncover new services being used, see who is using them, identify potential risk, and block specific applications easily.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cisco Umbrella stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Some of the major ones are its DNS-based protection, ability to protect users no matter where they are located, stability, and high performance.

    Daniel B., a network specialist at Syswind Kft, writes, “We primarily use the solution as cloud security for our branches. It protects us from direct internet outbreaks. It makes for good flexibility. The solution is very easy to manage. We found the initial setup, for example, to be quite simple. Efficient protection on the DNS level and even higher. The sandboxing feature analyses and handles the complicated security risks.”

    Victor M., SOC & Security Services Director at BEST, notes, “It provides security for the remote workers and it helps to improve enterprise security in a very easy way. We mainly enjoy web software protection capabilities. It prevents the end-users from getting into bad sites or sites that potentially could have malware or could be phishing. It helps end-users avoid the wrong sites. The solution works very smoothly. The user interface is good.”

    Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) is a web security solution provided by Cisco Systems. It is designed to protect organizations from web-based threats, enforce acceptable use policies, and provide secure access to the internet for users within the organization.

    Cisco Web Security Appliance Benefits:

    • Easy to use
    • Comprehensive security features
    • Blocks malicious websites and prevents data loss
    • Efficient reporting and analytics capabilities
    • Scalable and integrates with other Cisco security products

    Cisco Web Security Appliance Features:

    • Web Filtering: WSA offers web filtering capabilities to control and enforce policies for web access.
    • Malware Protection: The solution incorporates advanced threat intelligence and security technologies to detect and block web-based malware, viruses, spyware, and other malicious content.
    • URL Filtering and Reputation: WSA leverages URL filtering and reputation services to categorize and assess the reputation of web domains and URLs in real-time.
    • SSL/TLS Inspection: The appliance supports SSL/TLS decryption and inspection, allowing organizations to examine encrypted web traffic for threats and enforce security policies.
    • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): WSA includes DLP capabilities to prevent the exfiltration of sensitive data through web channels.
    • Application Control: The solution enables organizations to control and manage web applications and protocols.
    • User Authentication and Access Control: WSA integrates with existing identity providers and authentication mechanisms to enforce user-based policies and provide secure access to the internet.
    • Reporting and Analytics: The appliance provides comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing organizations to gain insights into web traffic, user activities, security events, and compliance violations.

    Cisco Web Security Appliance is typically deployed as a physical or virtual appliance within an organization's network infrastructure. It can be integrated with other Cisco security products and solutions to provide a layered approach to web security and network protection.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Cisco Web Security Appliance users.

    Md Manirul Islam, Deputy General Manager Pre-Sales at Beximcocomputers, states that "The most valuable feature of Cisco Web Security Appliance is the provided anti-malware functionality and URL categorization. I can block access to malicious websites. 99 percent of the cases are related to a malicious website. If I cannot browse those malicious websites, then we are 99 percent protected."

    Surendar Ganesan, Technical Lead, writes that "The best feature of Cisco Web Security Appliance is its policy framing. It also has a good UI and it can handle traffic well. Cisco Web Security Appliance is a good product."

        Atdhe Zyhranaj, Network Security Consultant at NSCON Network Services & Consulting GmbH, says that Cisco Web Security Appliance is "Easy to set up with scalable virtual machines and good reliability."

        Learn more about Lookout
        Learn more about Cisco Umbrella
        Learn more about Cisco Web Security Appliance
        Sample Customers
        Chart Industries, City of Aspen, Eastern Mountain Sports, FLEXcon, George Washington University, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, Ohio Public Library Information Network, PTC, Richland Community College, Smart Motors, Tulane University, VeriClaim
        New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Caixa Seguradora
        Top Industries
        Computer Software Company20%
        Financial Services Firm10%
        Manufacturing Company10%
        Financial Services Firm15%
        Comms Service Provider11%
        Educational Organization8%
        Computer Software Company8%
        Computer Software Company18%
        Educational Organization15%
        Financial Services Firm9%
        Manufacturing Company7%
        Financial Services Firm30%
        Comms Service Provider20%
        Maritime Company10%
        Computer Software Company23%
        Financial Services Firm11%
        Manufacturing Company6%
        Company Size
        Small Business22%
        Midsize Enterprise16%
        Large Enterprise62%
        Small Business38%
        Midsize Enterprise23%
        Large Enterprise39%
        Small Business20%
        Midsize Enterprise24%
        Large Enterprise56%
        Small Business43%
        Midsize Enterprise26%
        Large Enterprise30%
        Small Business22%
        Midsize Enterprise17%
        Large Enterprise61%
        Buyer's Guide
        Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance
        September 2023
        Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance and other solutions. Updated: September 2023.
        735,226 professionals have used our research since 2012.

        Cisco Umbrella is ranked 1st in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 49 reviews while Cisco Web Security Appliance is ranked 10th in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 13 reviews. Cisco Umbrella is rated 8.8, while Cisco Web Security Appliance is rated 8.2. The top reviewer of Cisco Umbrella writes "We can see all of our locations in one place and only have to make changes once for all our locations". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Cisco Web Security Appliance writes "Flexible, robust, easy to install, and the technical support is helpful". Cisco Umbrella is most compared with Zscaler Internet Access, Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, Palo Alto Networks DNS Security, Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks and Netskope , whereas Cisco Web Security Appliance is most compared with Zscaler Internet Access, Fortinet FortiProxy, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway, Skyhigh Security and Symantec Proxy. See our Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance report.

        See our list of best Secure Web Gateways (SWG) vendors.

        We monitor all Secure Web Gateways (SWG) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.