Cisco Umbrella vs Cisco Web Security Appliance comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Nov 2, 2022

We performed a comparison between Cisco Umbrella and Cisco Web Security Appliance based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of both solutions agree that their deployment is easy and simple.
  • Features: Users of both products are happy with their stability and scalability.

    Cisco Umbrella users like the solution’s single pane of glass because it helps save a lot of time. Reviewers mention that the solution has some interface issues, and that more flexibility in policy creation would be useful.

    Cisco Web Security Appliance users like the solution’s intuitive interface, good filtering, anti-malware protection, and browser security. Users say the reporting could use improvement, and that it is lacking some firewall features.
  • Pricing: Cisco Umbrella has a free version and a paid version. Regarding the paid version, users shared mixed opinions on the pricing. Cisco Web Security Appliance users also share mixed reviews on the solution’s pricing.
  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions are satisfied with the level of support they receive.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report a positive ROI.

Comparison Results: In this comparison, users provided similar ratings for each category. The main difference is that Cisco Umbrella offers a free version.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance Report (Updated: November 2022).
656,474 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:
Pros
"I think recently with many people working from home, Cisco Umbrella has been very useful. For example, we can manage the device and the network when the employee is not working on the local host. Cisco Umbrella is very valuable for this kind of infrastructure.""I was able to implement it myself. It was really easy to install. You could install it on a server locally if you want to. If you have the biggest site, you would do that, but for my site, it was just directing all the traffic out through the Cisco Umbrella DNS. It was really handy. When the owners of the company went overseas, I knew that they would be secure because even if they were not on the company network, they would still go through the Cisco Umbrella servers. It was a complete solution for protecting the company with outgoing data.""We like Cisco Umbrella because of DNS security. It's one step ahead of whatever we are using for regular web filtering. In that way, it's more secure than other web filtering products.""It has improved our organization from a security posture perspective. We feel more confident now knowing that we can block phishing attempts or any type of malware that is DNS-related. This is a very nice feature that provides peace of mind.""The single-pane-of-glass management is really important. In today's era, administration costs and operational expenses will cost you a lot, and it reduces that as well. You don't need extra resources to manage all your parameter firewalls, looking at every single device to allow resources internal access. By just introducing the single-pane-of-glass management, it has lifted the burden off of management, especially the network management.""One valuable feature is definitely its simplicity in terms of deployment. It is very easy to integrate it into the environment without any heavy lifting. Users didn't notice that we implemented it. You can start with a very low monitoring mode and start observing what Cisco Umbrella sees.""I like the DNS layer security.""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."

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"The initial setup is straightforward.""The deployment process is very simple.""It integrates well with Cisco Email Security Appliance.""The solution provides good web reputation and anti-malware protection.""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.""I would recommend this solution to others.""The product is stable.""Great for assisting with connections to networks or apps."

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Cons
"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.""I feel that the application needs other characteristics that are available with other applications in the market.""It's a very new product, so it's quite immature at the moment. It can be more user friendly.""The design of the screens could be improved. Sometimes you're trying to look for information, for what you think is critical that should be on that first screen of the dashboard so that you can quickly take screenshots to have people help out, but you have to hop between screens to find little pieces of evidence.""Cisco Umbrella should introduce an on-premises device.""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.""I would like to see more integrability with other products.""There are a couple of interface issues. I know that they say that there are feature enhancements that are noted. For example, we've got the Cisco Meraki security appliances, and there, we geofence our company to where we're allowed to send and receive traffic. So, in our case, by default, we only allow traffic to six different countries, which allows us to effectively prevent traffic for the majority of bad players in the world, but they don't give you an easy way to do that in Cisco Umbrella. With Cisco Meraki, I can specify or pick the countries. I can say that I want to only allow traffic from these six countries, and I'm done. With Cisco Umbrella, I have to rely on the fact that they're going to prevent traffic to other countries. They're going to decide if it's good or bad."

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"The transparent proxy is quite difficult to enforce on smartphones and tablets.""Customer support is good but could be improved.""Sometimes reporting is a little bit short.""As Cisco Web Security Appliance is eight years old, though it's simple to access its UI, the UI needs a little bit of updating. If it could be more interactive similar to the latest gen solutions, that would improve the product. Adding a few more integrations would also make Cisco Web Security Appliance better.""The solution needs to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate.""This solution could be more secure.""I would like more automation.""WSA is lacking firewall features."

More Cisco Web Security Appliance Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "There is a subscription cost."
  • "The price could be lower."
  • "The price is quite good."
  • "Pricing depends on the automation requirements of the organization."
  • "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."
  • "Cisco Umbrella is expensive and could be cheaper."
  • "When talking about Cisco solutions in general there pricing model is horrible. For example, you can sell a Meraki-based solution, but if the customer starts shopping around, someone is going to have access to the pricing at a level that you cannot compete because they do not have uniform pricing. Not everybody gets fair pricing. Unless you are one of the real major corporations selling the solution your ability to compete is impossible. Cisco will acknowledge the situation and assure you next time it will be in your favor but it never becomes favorable for you. Cisco is not very good in this regard. However, Umbrella is good."
  • "The licensing fee is paid on a yearly basis."
  • More Cisco Umbrella Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Cisco Web Security Appliance is not the cheapest solution on the market, but it's well worth it."
  • "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."
  • More Cisco Web Security Appliance Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: Cisco Umbrella and Zscaler Internet Access are two broad-spectrum Internet security solutions that I have tried. Zscaler Internet Access is a good option for carrying out multiple security… more »
    Top Answer:Cisco Umbrella is an integral component of the Cisco SASE architecture. It integrates security in a single, cloud-native solution, unifying multiple features like DNS-layer security, threat… more »
    Top Answer:The single-pane-of-glass management is really important. In today's era, administration costs and operational expenses will cost you a lot, and it reduces that as well. You don't need extra resources… more »
    Top Answer:It integrates well with Cisco Email Security Appliance.
    Top Answer:Cisco Web Security Appliance is not the cheapest solution on the market, but it's well worth it.
    Top Answer: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… more »
    Ranking
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    46,081
    Comparisons
    35,499
    Reviews
    35
    Average Words per Review
    818
    Rating
    8.7
    Views
    2,625
    Comparisons
    2,072
    Reviews
    10
    Average Words per Review
    519
    Rating
    7.8
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    OpenDNS
    Cisco WSA, Cisco Web Security
    Learn More
    Overview

    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.”

    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).

    Offer
    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
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Educational Organization9%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Consumer Goods Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm38%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Government13%
    Maritime Company13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government8%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise36%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise64%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise33%
    Large Enterprise28%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise63%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco Umbrella vs. Cisco Web Security Appliance and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    656,474 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco Umbrella is ranked 1st in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 38 reviews while Cisco Web Security Appliance is ranked 9th in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 11 reviews. Cisco Umbrella is rated 8.6, while Cisco Web Security Appliance is rated 7.8. 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, Fortinet FortiGate SWG and Prisma SaaS by Palo Alto Networks, whereas Cisco Web Security Appliance is most compared with Zscaler Internet Access, McAfee Web Protection, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway, Symantec Proxy and Fortinet FortiProxy. 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.