When it comes to comparing Cisco Umbrella to DNSFilter, the biggest strength of DNSFilter is the simplicity of the tool. With DNSFilter, you can get up and running in minutes—even with more advanced features enabled—and implement a brand new policy in as few as 3 clicks.
Cisco Umbrella can be simple to set up if you stick to the basic features. But as soon as you want to apply IP filtering or SSL decryption, you can encounter errors that may take days to resolve. And policy implementation means going deep into the tool and making a minimum of 8 clicks just to change one policy setting. Not to mention, policy changes are not instant like they are with DNSFilter. In many cases, policy changes take up to 15 minutes to take hold.
The biggest advantage that Cisco Umbrella seems to have is that it integrates with the rest of its product suite, but this isn’t quite true. Because Cisco has such a large portfolio of products, only some of them integrate well with one another. In most cases, when you subscribe to a bundle of Cisco products, you’re getting five separate tools as opposed to the all-in-one solution they insist they have.
Finally, DNSFilter is machine learning above all else. It is unique and has the ability to scan sites in real-time with our interstitial page feature to keep end users protected from zero-day malicious threats. We catch zero-day threats an average of over 5 days before traditional threat feeds.
While there is a Cisco URL filtering option, it has its limitations. You can block URLs, but you cannot allow them. So if you have use cases where you’d like to allow certain pages of a website but block the rest, that leaves you with the unwieldy task of blocking every single page (sometimes hundreds or thousands) except the ones you want to access. In addition to URL filtering, Cisco Umbrella advertises IP filtering which is really just IP allowing. There is no way to block IPs through Cisco Umbrella. Since IPs can bypass the entire domain name system, it doesn’t make sense to allow IPs. The main benefit of IP filtering would be to block IPs, which Cisco Umbrella does not do. But URL filtering isn’t necessarily the best option for web security. DNSFilter does DNS filtering, which is a much simpler solution for the end user that requires less management overall.
Roaming Clients give you the ability to deploy DNS security to your endpoints, and it’s a useful tool if you’re interested in more granular reporting. Cisco Umbrella does not support every operating system when it comes to Roaming Clients, or “agents.” At DNSFilter, we support Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Android. Cisco Umbrella does not support Android devices.