Cisco Web Security Appliance vs Zscaler Internet Access comparison

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Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Cisco Web Security Appliance and Zscaler Internet Access based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Secure Web Gateways (SWG) solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Cisco Web Security Appliance vs. Zscaler Internet Access Report (Updated: November 2022).
657,849 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 like the DNS layer security.""I like that it integrates with the infrastructure. I also like the kind of data and intelligence that's built-in. It helps create innovative reports for security.""If it didn't have a single pane of glass, we would not be using it. The single pane of glass gives you a one-stop shop. It's like going to Home Depot. You find all your stuff there. You can see all your threats and your endpoints. It's a very important feature and makes things very simple.""I like the original functionality, which allows for providing secure DNS services.""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.""The most valuable features of this solution are the Web Filtering and the APT.""The most valuable features for us include tenant lock, content filtering, and DLP solutions, looking for PII and information being exfiltrated.""Cisco Umbrella is a totally different solution. They are the first to come up with this idea of security. It's a totally new concept of security for everybody, for every time, real time, perfectionism."

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"The initial setup is straightforward.""It also allows you to decrypt SSL traffic, and that's a really important feature as well, which is something I also configured.""What we liked best about it was the ability to apply policy to either a user ID or an IP-based network.""I would recommend this solution to others.""It integrates well with Cisco Email Security Appliance.""The product is stable.""The deployment process is very simple.""It's a scalable product."

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"There is no lag in service when accessing the internet.""Zscaler covers all the features needed to replace a VPN or proxy solution. They are good. They've been on the market for 15 years now, so they are mature enough.""The users are at different locations, and Zscaler helps us to put the organization's central security controls on these roaming users.""The most valuable feature of Zscaler Internet Access is that it is a consolidated solution, it comes with many features, such as DLP.""The initial setup is very straightforward.""The most valuable features of Zscaler Internet Access are it's on the cloud, high network performance, and the interception of users is very easy.""The solution replaces multiple vendor technologies with one which makes it worth the cost.""The most valuable features I found in Zscaler Internet Access are the restriction of users for a particular URL, the security feature related to stopping DDoS, and the VPN."

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Cons
"It could be more secure. It would be better if they provided a transferring proxy as an add-on and more integration.""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.""There are some situations where we would like to block things for specific user groups. I know that Umbrella does that, but it's not that easy.... when you want a specific task for specific rules and policies for user groups, you have to go three levels down in the menu, and it's hard to find where you do that task.""If we're trying to deploy it to a Mac through Meraki, it's impossible. The method of deployment for a Mac, and the features available in Meraki, are not compatible at all.""It's a very new product, so it's quite immature at the moment. It can be more user friendly.""I'd like to see this solution more closely integrate with other products Cisco has in its portfolio.""The integration with Cisco could be better.""I feel that the application needs other characteristics that are available with other applications in the market."

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"I would like more automation.""It should have a user-based quota, per-user quota, that can be defined on the appliance.""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 transparent proxy is quite difficult to enforce on smartphones and tablets.""The solution needs to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate.""This solution could be more secure.""WSA is lacking firewall features.""The support for this solution could be improved. We have experienced issues with their SMARTnet support system."

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"Zscaler Internet Access can improve by adding traffic filtering based on the DNS.""They could provide more time for the onboarding the training of an IT person.""We'd like to have more plugins and integration.""In terms of user experience, it could be better.""The solution is expensive. They recently revised the pricing and packaging. Some of our existing customers have been asking for alternate solutions for a lower price.""There are a few features that are not compatible with the Azure cloud.""I would like to see more training and video documentation.""The main issue with Zscaler Internet Access is proxy IP detection, which sometimes makes sites inaccessible."

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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 →

  • "The pricing is fair based on its competitive market."
  • "The price is competitive. It's not cheap and it's not expensive."
  • "The pricing for Zscaler Internet Access could be made cheaper."
  • "The price of Zscaler Internet Access should improve, it is expensive."
  • "We have found the solution to be expensive."
  • "Licenses are available on a per-host basis. Some features like sandboxing require an additional fee, but most standard features are included in the license."
  • "We pay around 6,500 INR per user per year, which is very expensive. I would rate Zscaler's pricing one out of five."
  • "Because it's a cloud solution, we pay on a yearly basis. It is affordable and includes tech support and all features."
  • More Zscaler Internet Access 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.… 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:The single-pane-of-glass management is really important. In today's era, administration costs and operational expenses… 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… more »
    Top Answer:We researched Netskope but ultimately chose Zscaler. Netskope is a cloud access security broker that helps identify… more »
    Top Answer:There is no lag in service when accessing the internet.
    Top Answer:The solution is quite expensive. It's around double what others are offering. The price we pay includes everything. It… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    OpenDNS
    Cisco WSA, Cisco Web Security
    ZIA
    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).

    Zscaler Internet Access is a cloud-native security service edge (SSE) platform. Its main purpose is to provide AI-powered protection for all users, all applications, and all locations. The solution replaces other legacy network security solutions to stop advanced attacks and prevent data loss by using a comprehensive zero trust approach.

    Zscaler Internet Access Features

    Zscaler Internet Access has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Proxy (native SSL)
    • IPS and advanced protection
    • Cloud sandbox
    • DNS security
    • Cloud firewall
    • URL filtering
    • Bandwidth control
    • DNS filtering
    • Cloud DLP w/EDM and IDM
    • Cloud access security broker (CASB)
    • Cloud security posture management (CSPM)
    • CloudBrowser isolation
    • Cloud secure web gateway (SWG)
    • Zero trust network access (ZTNA)
    • Digital experience monitoring

    Zscaler Internet Access Benefits

    There are several benefits to implementing Zscaler Internet Access. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Fast access with zero infrastructure: Zscaler Internet Access creates a fast, seamless user experience because of its direct-to-cloud architecture. With no infrastructure, Zscaler Internet Access helps you eliminate backhauling, which improves performance and simplifies network administration.
    • Threat intelligence: By using threat intelligence, Zscaler Internet Access can stop ransomware, zero-day malware, and advanced attacks via Inline inspection of all internet traffic, including SSL decryption, and a suite of AI-powered cloud security services. 
    • Consistent security: With Zscaler Internet Access, your security policy goes everywhere your users go. When you move security to the cloud, all users, applications, devices, and locations remain protected and secure based on identity and context.
    • Hybrid workforce: Zscaler Internet Access enables secure access to all external and internal apps from anywhere, so remote work is not an issue. You can also enforce business policies that follow the user, making security identical regardless of location.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Zscaler Internet Access users.

    A Service Manager at a construction company says, "There are a bunch of different capabilities that are valuable within the platform. We use quite a lot of them, but not everything. The ones that are most important to us are the URL Filtering and the application control. For our needs, the cloud-native proxy architecture is a very good solution. This architecture helps with cyber threats because we inspect most of the traffic and we can see that a lot of threats are stopped directly in the secure web gateway."

    Owen N., Security Architect at Claro Enterprise Solutions, explains that the solution’s most valuable features include “The integration of the gateway that inspects all ports and protocols. So, there is threat prevention; The cloud sandbox; VNS security; Access control that will protect URL filtering and the cloud firewall; Data protection that will protect your gateway, like your CASB or your cloud DLP; The capabilities of this will point your traffic to Zscaler Cloud.”

    An Architecture Senior Manager at an insurance company mentions, "The data loss prevention feature is the most valuable. It stops our users from inadvertently leaking our customers' data to the Internet or anywhere else it shouldn't go." He also adds, “The solution provides quick access to cloud services, securing our data and allowing us to inspect all our traffic.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Umbrella
    Learn more about Cisco Web Security Appliance
    Learn more about Zscaler Internet Access
    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
    Ulster-Greene ARC, BanRegio, HDFC, Ralcorp Holdings Inc., British American Tobacco, Med America Billing Services Inc., Lanco Group, Aquafil, Telefonica, Swisscom, Brigade Group
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Educational Organization9%
    Computer Software 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 Company20%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government8%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Pharma/Biotech Company10%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    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 Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise62%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise10%
    Large Enterprise59%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise66%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco Web Security Appliance vs. Zscaler Internet Access
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco Web Security Appliance vs. Zscaler Internet Access and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    657,849 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco Web Security Appliance is ranked 9th in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 11 reviews while Zscaler Internet Access is ranked 2nd in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 23 reviews. Cisco Web Security Appliance is rated 7.8, while Zscaler Internet Access is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Cisco Web Security Appliance writes "Flexible, robust, easy to install, and the technical support is helpful". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Zscaler Internet Access writes " AI decision-making on quarantined documents reduces manual work". Cisco Web Security Appliance is most compared with McAfee Web Protection, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway, Symantec Proxy, Fortinet FortiProxy and McAfee Web Gateway, whereas Zscaler Internet Access is most compared with Netskope CASB, Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway, Palo Alto Networks WildFire and Appgate SDP. See our Cisco Web Security Appliance vs. Zscaler Internet Access 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.