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Cisco Umbrella WLAN: Your customers’ first line of defense

July 11, 2017

Cisco Umbrella WLAN: Your customers’ first line of defense

When it comes to WLAN security, DNS (domain name system) plays a key role. Every time users connect to the internet, for instance, the internet service provider (ISP) specifies the DNS server address that users key into the browser network settings or router. If the default DNS servers used by the ISP become overtaxed, it can significantly slow down users’ web browsing experience. Even worse, DNS servers can become conduits for phishing websites and malware, leading to computer and other endpoint infections.

Cisco Umbrella WLAN was designed to provide a first line of defense for mobile workers, bringing the power of Cisco Umbrella to the Cisco wireless LAN controller portfolio (e.g., Cisco WLC 2504, 5508, 5520, 8510 and 8540). Umbrella WLAN protects users against threats on the internet wherever they go by blocking connections to bad IP addresses, URLs and malicious domains before a connection is made, stopping threats earlier. It provides granular enforcement and reporting at SSID, client location, client user role and WLC level. Partners can configure Umbrella WLAN to help their clients tailor acceptable use policies at a level that makes sense for each customer.

Additionally, Umbrella WLAN learns from internet activity patterns to uncover and predict threats. The huge volume of DNS requests from millions of users around the world (100+ billion requests per day) that Cisco resolves provides a diverse data set. Umbrella WLAN applies statistical models to that data set, which allows Cisco to identify where current and future attacks are staged on the internet.

Unlike some security solutions that over-quarantine data traffic, Umbrella WLAN selectively routes suspicious URLs for deeper inspection, effectively optimizing security without compromising performance. And even if users’ devices become infected in other ways, Umbrella WLAN prevents connections to attackers’ servers, thereby stopping data exfiltration and execution of ransomware encryption.

Unlike the DNS servers many ISPs use, Umbrella servers store the IP addresses of millions of websites in their caches, which is how they resolve requests more quickly. Another advantage of using Cisco Umbrella is that it uses PhishTank’s anti-phishing service to block phishing websites from loading onto users’ computers.

Today, more than 65 million users around the world connect to the internet via Cisco Umbrella servers. Over the past few years, the company expanded its cybersecurity reach with Umbrella cloud-based security, which supports roaming Macs, PCs and iOS devices, all managed through one web-based dashboard.  

Recognizing Cisco Umbrella’s complementary role in its Security Everywhere strategy, Cisco integrated its AMP (Advanced Malware Protection) Threat Grid malware analysis cloud service with Umbrella. This new integration provides Umbrella users with a constantly updated list of newly identified malicious domains from the latest malware samples available. When a customer sends files to AMP Threat Grid, malicious domains are automatically added to Cisco Umbrella in minutes, with no user interaction.

Additionally, Cisco partners can connect Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2, Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), and Meraki MX Security Appliances and Meraki MR Access Points to Umbrella for added security layers and an improved internet browsing experience.

To learn more about keeping up with the latest wireless mobility trends, join Ingram Micro for a wireless webinar, “Quick Hit Briefing: Do You Even BYOD? Capitalize on the Mobile Revolution With Cisco,” Thursday, July 20, at 9:30 a.m. ET. Participants will gain a better understanding of the mobile trends and challenges impacting their customers, as well as the latest Cisco solutions enabling better collaboration and productivity without compromising security.