We performed a comparison between Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (MDA) and Zscaler Internet Access based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.
Comparison Results: Zscaler Internet Access is the winner in this comparison because it received higher marks than Microsoft Defender in the support and pricing categories.
"You can manage and create policies based on a group of users. It can permit some URLs and block others."
"I like the original functionality, which allows for providing secure DNS services."
"There is much differentiation within the licensing so if anyone wants DNS security from the DNS security log, we are there already, and if anyone wants to go to a secure internet gateway, that is also available. We can get the integrated cloud DLP license keys. That is a good benefit with Cisco Umbrella. You can get a complete solution in a single licensing."
"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."
"Its simplicity is most valuable. I can install it and get it up and running, and it can be pervasive across my business within a business day. It is pretty simple and straightforward to install and configure. Its remit is reasonably clearly defined. When you look at solutions like Darktrace and Carbon Black, the mission objective isn't as clearly defined. Cisco Umbrella, Sophos Central, or some of the other solutions have a more standardized approach to antivirus, which includes enhanced response from the machine learning or deep learning perspective."
"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."
"Cisco Umbrella is such a solution and can be implemented very fast and easy. All that we must do is redirect the DNS registers in their routers, or the active directory service of the enterprise that are going to use in Umbrella services. If you buy the service now, in two hours you are protected by the service because it's very fast to put in service."
"Any time someone went off the network, the AnyConnect client had the Umbrella agent built in, and it would realize when their computer connected that they were not on the corporate network. It would monitor and they would have pretty close to the same rules that they had to follow when they were in the office, regarding what kind of website browsing they could do."
"The most valuable feature of Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is to stop shadow IT."
"On-demand scanning is the most valuable feature. In addition, it's a fairly fluid product. It syncs back to the cloud and provides metrics. It's pretty intelligent."
"The solution does not affect a user's workflow."
"The feature that helps us in detecting the sensitive information being shared has been very useful. In addition, the feature that allows MCAS to apply policies with SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive is being used predominantly."
"Everything from Microsoft is integrated. You receive regular reports on them all. You can push your reports, logs, and security alerts, which are all integrated. It is crucial that these solutions work natively together to deliver coordinated detection and response across our environment."
"In Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, there is an option to enable files. Once you enable that, it will give you all the files in your organization and where they are located in the cloud... That feature is very useful for investigation purposes."
"It's very easy to install and it includes the Intune portal from Microsoft where I can control all the devices from one place."
"We have become more aware of what services our users are using, how often they are using them, and what data is being sent out of the organization and to which services. So, it is really a lot about visibility and helping us make decisions based on that. It drives some of our policy decisions for adding extra security controls."
"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 is scalable and stable."
"We enjoy all of the proxy capabilities and the capability to integrate into the SIEM/SOC solution."
"Zscaler Internet Access's best feature is the granular policy controls."
"For our needs, the cloud-native proxy architecture is a very good solution. We are moving away from on-prem appliances and moving more toward cloud-based solutions. Zscaler is a good fit for our strategy. 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."
"There is no lag in service when accessing the internet."
"The protection is most valuable."
"Zscaler Internet Access has helped us reduce the time that we spend managing security policies by about four hours a week. We can use this time to focus on other things, especially the IT team."
"Having ready-to-go templates with best practices is definitely something that would be an improvement. Deployment, from day one, is something that definitely needs to be improved for Cisco customers."
"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."
"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 could be improved by having a local data center and caching, which can provide protection support. I would like to be able to channel my intel and my network traffic to their clouds, and this feature is not available. Advanced protection or any malware file support, which might be required, is not available."
"It's a very new product, so it's quite immature at the moment. It can be more user friendly."
"In my experience with Umbrella support, sometimes the response times take a bit more time than we would like... sometimes, if you go through email, it can take quite a while to get a response."
"Network connectivity was a bit of a challenge at the beginning, but we were able to get the right help from Cisco."
"The integration with macOS operating systems needs to be better."
"We would like to get more information from the endpoint. I don't get enough detailed information right now on why something failed. There is not enough visibility."
"Currently, reporting is not very straightforward and it needs to be enhanced. Specific reports are not included and you need to run a query, drill down, and then export it and share it. I would love to have reports with more fine-tuning or granularity, and more predefined reports."
"Sometimes, we'll get false positive alarms. For example, when a SharePoint path has no file sharing, but there is an external user, it will trigger an alarm that the file has been shared with an external user... the alerting mechanism should be more precise when giving you an alert about what activity has been done with the file..."
"They should continue integration with all other Microsoft security-related products. The integration with all the other products is still ongoing."
"This service would be better if it had a separate license, only for this service, that could be used to track usage."
"There are some features, such as user navigation content filtering, that are disabled by default, and it probably makes sense to enable them by default."
"I want them to enhance in-session policy."
"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."
"We'd like to have more plugins and integration."
"The interface for administration could be better. They should upgrade the management portal."
"The performance needs improvement. Some areas create performance issues and, depending on the use cases, require reconfiguration to perform again."
"One thing that they could improve is the ability to import rules from other platforms."
"They could provide more time for the onboarding the training of an IT person."
"If they can also integrate with the multi-factor authentication to prompt users to do another, second-factor authentication, that would be ideal."
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?
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.”
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is a cloud access security broker (CASB) that provides multifunction visibility, control over data travel, and sophisticated analytics. With Microsoft Cloud App Security, you can:
- Manage, control, and audit apps to streamline cloud access security
- Mange your access to resources to discover shadow IT and understand your digital information estate
- Use real-time controls to enable threat protection on all the access points that touch your environment
To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.
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:
Zscaler Internet Access Benefits
There are several benefits to implementing Zscaler Internet Access. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:
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.”
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is ranked 2nd in Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) with 18 reviews while Zscaler Internet Access is ranked 2nd in Secure Web Gateways (SWG) with 23 reviews. Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is rated 8.4, while Zscaler Internet Access is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps writes "Integrates well and helps us in protecting sensitive information, but takes time to scan and apply the policies and cannot detect everything we need". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Zscaler Internet Access writes " AI decision-making on quarantined documents reduces manual work". Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is most compared with Netskope CASB, Qualys VM, Prisma SaaS by Palo Alto Networks, Skyhigh Security and Infoblox Advanced DNS Protection, whereas Zscaler Internet Access is most compared with Netskope CASB, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Appgate SDP and Prisma SaaS by Palo Alto Networks.
We monitor all Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) 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.