What is our primary use case?
We use it for all of our customer-facing desktop clients so that we can control and restrict access, versus using MAC address restrictions and the like. The roaming version is the one that we use most, versus at the firewall level.
We have a lot of employees that use common hardware but they log into each one. Because we have customers who need to be served quickly, we're not into a group policy situation, where we have too many policies or restrictions. We want the desktop clients to be something that employees can log into quickly, without going through security settings.
How has it helped my organization?
WebTitan gives us a fast solution that's on the hardware for all users, making that hardware instantly available to them. And it allows us to track, monitor, and control their internet usage, since everything that we do is SaaS or cloud-based. It allows us to restrict access and have visibility. It just fits as a really good solution for us. It's always on the hardware that our employees use, so that multiple employees can go into it. For each of them, it still applies that security and that DNS level of control by category, with the ability to monitor and block and allow access as needed, remotely, which is great.
Our employees don't notice WebTitan, which is the way we want it to be, until they go to something that they shouldn't be going to. It's nice that it's not too invasive, robust, or more than what we need. The way it helps our organization is that we get the control we want, without it limiting us on the things that we have to do, or changing the nature of how an employee works. An employee can walk up to another computer and they don't have to go through a whole verification process. We all live in a world where we don't have enough employees. The last thing you want them to do is say to a customer, "Excuse me while I wait to log in, and my credentials load up, and it's going to take me two minutes." Two minutes, when a customer is standing there looking at you, is a lot of time.
Because we've continuously used a product like this—we went from the Cisco Umbrella products to the TitanHQ WebTitan products—we haven't seen a reduction in viruses, ransomware, phishing, or malware attacks because protecting us from them is what we expect a product like this to do. The whole intent is to limit sites that would put us more at risk. It should deliver on that and limit risk exposure through content monitoring, by category or individual sites. That's why we contract for it and we expect it to do that.
A benefit of WebTitan is that it reduces the costs associated with web filtering. Our other option is to have the IT people that we contract with handle that function and have a higher level of restriction. WebTitan is an affordable solution for what we want it to do. Knowing your conditional use—and stressing that it has a conditional use—it works well for what it is.
We pay for our contracted IT services on a monthly retainer plus hourly. Versus what we pay them, I suppose WebTitan saves us thousands of dollars per year. I have WebTitan installed on approximately 50-plus pieces of hardware. If we had another application used in conjunction with Azure, and group policies and the maintenance associated with that, it would be hundreds of dollars per month just for the maintenance, and it would be thousands of dollars per year, as we use it across multiple locations in our company.
It helps the level of service we provide to our customers in the sense that employees expect to have access to the internet. The last thing you want in a customer service-type position is employees who have their noses in their phones. It makes a bad impression. You want to grant the right amount of internet access to the right sites, without it being a distraction and without forcing them to go to their phones. It's a battle because you want to give them everything and because people are inclined to use their own phones. But it's a good solution for its intended use. With WebTitan, our employees aren't distracted as much. That's key. You want to give them internet, but you want it to be the internet you want them to have.
What is most valuable?
The monitoring abilities of the product are the most valuable for us. As you deploy it, you can adapt it. As you monitor, if employees go to things that you don't like, or to things that you need to allow, the ability to monitor and see how much is necessary—where they're getting shot down or blocked—is helpful.
What's nice is that it has content restrictions by categories, but you can dial down to blacklist particular sites. That monitoring solution is key, allowing us to see which applications or which websites they're going to, and whether or not they're time-wasters. We want to be flexible but we don't want to be stupid. For example, we want to make sure that we're blocking email clients universally. We feel those are a big risk, as are streaming sites and the like. Monitoring is key because the internet evolves. Content restrictions are great, and it's great that WebTitan updates them, but it's important that you're seeing where the employees are inclined to go.
What needs improvement?
The interface is a little dated and a little awkward at times. That's a minor problem. It's workable.
And while I really liked how they set me up, by telling me not to assign it to my own email and to use an admin email so that we could have other users, a weakness was around their communicating to me all the things that are possible, and probably realizing that they fit a niche in a business. It's a solid product and I'd like to do more with it. I'd like to integrate all these things, but time is a problem.
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For how long have I used the solution?
I've used different vendors and it's evolved over the years. TitanHQ is the third or fourth vendor that we have had and we've been with them for a couple of years now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I've never had an issue with the solution. It seems to be up all the time.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It protects employees at the level we want it to. We key it to employees where we feel that that restriction is necessary. We don't put it on everyone's hardware.
How are customer service and support?
TitanHQ's technical support was prompt and helped me through to a solution. The issue had to do with redundant licenses. When we were replacing equipment, we wanted to make sure that we didn't all of a sudden blow up to 100 licenses being used, when we only have 50 clients. We wanted to remove any occurrences of dual licenses so that we weren't going to be charged. They were super responsive about how to remove it from our old devices so it was easy enough for me to get it done.
One other time I contacted them about something small, about a website that I was trying to get whitelisted and they helped me quickly.
I've always found them to be responsive. I prefer email or chat. I ask a question and they respond back. That's the way I want it to go.
If it was urgent—and I've never really had an urgent issue—at worst, I'd turn blocking off intermittently. If I felt that it was dragging our business or causing some delay, I would just turn the product off and then turn it back on when I felt that the situation had resolved itself. But I've never been in those circumstances.
I rate their technical support a solid eight out of 10. You always have to wait a little bit. No one is going to be at your beck and call. There's a time zone issue because I'm in the Pacific Northwest and they're in Europe. But that still hasn't been a problem. I've always found them to be responsive at the level I need them to be.
How would you rate customer service and support?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We used Cisco Umbrella, but TitanHQ as a company is a lot easier to work with. It seems like there are actually people behind their product, versus people who just auto-respond if you need help. TitanHQ is a real company with real people who are actually trying to help you do what you need to do. There are people to help you if you need it.
WebTitan was a solution that was similar to what we had before, at a much more affordable price, with a better support team, and a more responsive sales team, top to bottom. Their email communication is better. I'm being updated about things when they're rolling them out. That didn't happen with Umbrella. My view of a given product is certainly colored by my experience with similar products and where they failed me.
I felt Umbrella went too far and started changing, certainly when it comes to the cost versus the product. And our conditional use was too much. That's one of the reasons we selected WebTitan.
If I had to pick a single reason that Umbrella lost me, it was that their renewal process, even using a reseller, was a pain. I couldn't get anyone to sit there and renew it with me. Don't make it hard for people who want to buy your product to buy your product. Umbrella lost me through that whole process, not to mention when I got their quote.
I wear a lot of hats. The last thing I need is three different resellers coming up to me for this product and for that product. It's frustrating because not all resellers represent all products. Even if a product didn't meet all my needs, but met the majority of my needs, because of time constraints, and because this is not my only responsibility, the last thing I want to do is change a vendor. I'd be willing, sometimes, to pay a higher cost just not to change. There might be minimal benefit when considering the time that is required to get that transition to happen. And it's not always about cost or money. And it's not always about features. It might be just the right combination of features, cost, and time commitment, since the one thing I can't back is time.
WebTitan was the closest to what Umbrella used to be before Umbrella changed. That, again, was related to time. I wanted to roll out a product relatively quickly. Once a product is removed and you need that product replaced, you need it quickly. I wanted a product that was the closest to what I was familiar with, giving me the features that I felt I needed, and WebTitan fit that quickly.
I was able to contract it and get it up within a couple of weeks. I was paying for two services concurrently and I was so frustrated with that reseller that I was able to move WebTitan forward. So far, it doesn't take much of my time, which I like.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup wasn't too bad. We have gone through some equipment rotations and there are probably easier ways to do it than the way we did it, but I find their team to be really helpful, so it wasn't too complex.
Regarding not needing to install an agent, if you're using the roaming client, it works well when it comes to installing it. But how important is it to me to be at the firewall level? There are a multitude of products out there that offer that solution. For content monitoring and DNS monitoring, it's not key that it is that way. The roaming client is for whatever network you're on. That's what's good about it and what I like about it.
COVID kicked us all in the pants and as a result, we didn't buy hardware for a couple of years. But we just replaced every desktop and we were able to reinstall it and bring it back up on all of the new hardware that we brought in over the last two or three months. We initially put WebTitan on one set of clients, and now we've worked it into another set of clients. There were no issues.
I tend to roll it out myself with my staff. We have multiple locations, versus rolling it out uniformly, all in one place. If we have an issue, I'd have to be the one to support it. It could go faster, but we choose to not go faster. We didn't have an implementation schedule. We did it over the course of a couple of months. We took Umbrella off and put WebTitan on, so they ran concurrently for a while. That way, we didn't change the world too fast for anyone.
For us, our 50 desktop clients are a lot, while for other people they might not be. Our employees are not all simultaneously logging on at the same time, so we do roll it out at particular times. We don't want our employees to be shocked by this. We used Umbrella for years, so the expectation wasn't too different. This was just another vendor.
The amount of oversight required after WebTitan has been installed is, honestly, almost zero. When employees need to go outside of what WebTitan allows, they will tell you. You can go into it and observe as much as you want, but it's good to live in ignorant bliss sometimes. No complaints, no problems. The genius in all DNS filtering is that, if you go by category, you're safe to a certain degree, the employees will tell you if there's something they need to see.
We don't allow the employees to bring their devices, with some exceptions, onto our network, other than our wireless network, which is mostly a guest network. If employees really want to go to something that is restricted, it tends to be for personal needs, not professional. But if they can make a case for it, we can go into WebTitan and make those changes almost immediately. It doesn't take much maintenance. It's as much as you want it to be.
What was our ROI?
We're a small company so we don't really track ROI at this level. My belief in a product is probably more of a ratification than the ROI of the product.
Still, you want to look to the horizon and say, "Look, I just don't want to have these risks. I need to do something to control them before they get to my desktop or software solution at the client level." That's where web content filtering comes in. That's what is important, but it can be a tough sell.
You can feel good about a product, but you can't quantify why you feel good about it. If I increase your sales by $10,000, that's quantifiable. If I reduce a security risk, that's not quantifiable. You can feel good about that, but it's an expense. We've been fortunate. We haven't had any recent incidents, so it's hard to quantify the ROI on it.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I contracted the product myself and that's what I like. The billing is simple. It's on the company credit card. And by doing it myself, rather than through a reseller, I was able to develop the relationships.
What other advice do I have?
I'm not an IT professional. I'm a general manager who wears a lot of hats, with some IT experience. The customization options provided by WebTitan are not at an easy level for me, but I have a moderate knowledge base and I can use them. They're understandable. We contract out for our IT assistance and we get billed for every inquiry I make. I can have them assist me if I need to, but that's one of the things we like about WebTitan, that it's understandable. It's easy to deploy. It does what we need it to do, without being too broad, too deep, or too restrictive. It fits that nice niche between what you need and "not too much."
Another reason we like this product is that we don't have Azure. If we had Azure, we could implement more group policies. Back in the day, there were terminals that did nothing other than help people. Effectively they were sophisticated cash registers. If employees were logging into Azure every time with their credentials and whatever else is needed, there would be a delay in the service they give. Since we use cloud-based services, we already have a secondary level for them to get into the applications they need. We don't need that so broadly on a client, when it is basically just used for printing something out, for data entry into our application, and selecting some of our car rental products.
It's the product that's just right for us, for what we want to do. WebTitan provides the level of protection that we need, without it being onerous. I emphasize that point, but that's what it does very well for us.
Its capabilities are probably more than we need, and I'm probably not using it to the degree that I could. If I was less busy, and I could spend more time learning about the product, I could roll more features out myself, or with our contracted IT people, and we could have an even more robust instance. Should I be educated more about more of the things it can do? Sure. But is it the only thing I'm dealing with today? No.
We're a franchise and we're on the large side of franchises in the car rental world. But a lot of franchises don't have dedicated IT support. If you're looking for a solution that offers a low price point for web filtering and DNS content filtering, which everyone needs in our industry, WebTitan is a good choice. More people who are in small businesses like this can benefit from it.
It's one thing to have desktop security to resolve issues as they happen. Web filtering takes your staff away from the areas of the internet they shouldn't be in. My staff is here 24 hours a day while I'm here from eight to 12. And there are 50 of them, and one of me. Without a solution like this, that is capable and robust, but without being burdensome... It's a solution that fits the needs of a business of this size.
It's a great product and it could be for all sizes of business. That's a key: As your business changes or grows, you don't like to think about the things that can happen without a solution like this. If WebTitan stopped selling this product tomorrow, I'd find another vendor who would do the same thing, but I probably wouldn't be able to replace everything it has. It's easy to use. It scales up to any size of organization. I've never found it to lag. For someone who can't know all the things that they should know in this area, this is a product they should have, to make sure that their business is safe and secure. If you have a lot of employees, with everything on the internet now, you need to know what's happening. It's a perfect solution in that sense.
I researched a lot of products before I picked up WebTitan and I'm glad that I did.
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