What is Umbrella?

10 July 2019

We constantly hear buzz words like digitisation and transformation, and there is no doubt technology is changing the way we work and live. It is not uncommon to see someone using a coffee shop, airport or their home as their ‘mobile’ place of work. The availability of fast, reliable internet means workers can use different devices (laptops, tablets, even mobile phones) at any location and at any time. Cloud services have removed the need to connect to a VPN we can join virtual meeting, access emails or data on SaaS applications on demand. But what does this mean for security?

Let’s first compare how the average company has traditionally managed security. Most workers used a PC which was physically located within an office building and operated on a corporate network. Everything within the HQ location was contained within the network and security sat at the perimeter. At branch level, workers would typically use the WAN (Wide Area Network) or VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access IT resources and traffic would be backhauled to the HQ. Whilst this was a costly exercise which often caused latency for users, IT departments had full visibility of the ‘estate’ and could manage traffic and security effectively.

With the increasing use of Cloud services today, DIA (Direct Internet Access) removes the need for workers to access the internet using the VPN. However, with users able to directly access work applications, this now leaves them open to security threats. It is estimated 30% of advanced threats target the branch office at entry point. However, without backhauling traffic across the WAN, IT Security teams have little or zero visibility of where threats are targeting users, leaving these as areas for hackers to access and exploit critical business systems and more importantly valuable data 

We all hear how cyber threats are continuing to increase in sophistication, however attackers often use the same infrastructure, which leaves cyber fingerprints. If companies were able to uncover these prints early enough, they would be able to prevent attacks before they launch as well as to prevent further attacks occurring, but too often IT resource and budget prevent this from happening. 

To allow companies to continue to benefit from a truly mobile workforce, a first line of defence against threats on the internet is required. Cisco’s Umbrella is delivered in the Cloud. It uses intelligence to uncover current and emerging threats, provides visibility for activity across all devices and ports, anywhere and stops phishing, malware, and ransomware earlier.

By learning from internet activity, Cisco Umbrella automatically identifies attacker infrastructure staged for both current and future threats. It enforces network security filtering using DNS to stop threats over all ports and protocols, even direct to IP traffic, routing requests for risky domains for deeper URL and file inspection.  

For the IT team, enterprise-wide deployment can be achieved in minutes. There is no hardware to install and no manual updates are required for software. Installation is via the browser-based interface, which provides ongoing visibility in to internet activity across all devices, across all ports, even when users are off the corporate network. Logs can be retained forever, and the dashboard provides a powerful summary categorised by app and sorted by risk level.  

It really is that simple! But don’t just take our word for it, you can experience the benefits with a free 14-day trial of Umbrella. Register here.