Cisco Secure Web Appliance

Cisco Secure Web Appliance

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Score 8.2 out of 100
Cisco Secure Web Appliance


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Cisco WSA is a solid product

10 out of 10
March 21, 2018
Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance is a solid device. Deploying it came with a significant amount of white water because we chose to …
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What is Cisco Secure Web Appliance?

Cisco Secure Web Appliance (formerly Cisco Web Security Appliance [WSA]), powered by Cisco Talos, protects by automatically blocking risky sites and testing unknown sites before allowing users to link to them, helping with compliance. It is available models S690, S390, and S190.

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Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service from the company of the same name in Tel Aviv, designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

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Product Details

What is Cisco Secure Web Appliance?

Cisco Secure Web Appliance (formerly Cisco Web Security Appliance [WSA]), powered by Cisco Talos, protects by automatically blocking risky sites and testing unknown sites before allowing users to link to them, helping with compliance. It is available models S690, S390, and S190.

Cisco Secure Web Appliance Technical Details

Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Cisco Secure Web Appliance (formerly Cisco Web Security Appliance [WSA]), powered by Cisco Talos, protects by automatically blocking risky sites and testing unknown sites before allowing users to link to them, helping with compliance. It is available models S690, S390, and S190.

Reviewers rate Support Rating highest, with a score of 6.4.

The most common users of Cisco Secure Web Appliance are from Enterprises (1,001+ employees) and the Information Technology & Services industry.


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Reviews and Ratings




(1-8 of 8)
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Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cisco Secure Web Appliance is being used to monitor and prohibit any malicious activity from external websites. In addition, it is used to limit bandwidth usage to maintain end-user productivity. Currently, we are using it across the whole organization.
  • Bandwidth restriction
  • Prevent specific functionality in sites
  • Blocking and allowing of sites
  • Unblock feature for users needed
  • False negatives
  • Reporting feature
No additional software installation needed for the endpoints. Preventing the need to install additional software on end-user equipment prevents any additional issues from an endpoint device. The use of API to automatically update exception list is a huge benefit.
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
The Cisco WSA is used to block risky or non-approved sites from being accessed at work. It is used across the entire organization and is installed on all company hardware devices with internet browsing capability. The goal is to increase productivity by limiting non-business related websites as well as help prevent viruses, malware, phishing, etc attempts by preventing access to risky sites.
  • Easy to use.
  • Can ask for "blocked" sites to be unblocked.
  • Doesn't give links or method to contact administrator to ask to have a site "unblocked".
It works well, but it isn't set up to make an "override" or "unblock" request easy.
Kuntal Das | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) or Ironport is our primary email security tool. All emails that are sent to our users pass through a server running Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) or Ironport. The security team uses this tool in accordance with the email management team. However, we serve all the departments of our organization. The main objective of this software is to drop emails with malicious attachments, low reputation IP, banned senders, globally blacklisted emails based on their signatures, etc. Although it doesn't ensure flawless detection, it does a great job at the initial phase of narrowing down our hunt for malicious emails. It led to almost a 60% reduction of attachments containing malware, thereby helping us in securing our assets.
  • It does a great job of filtering emails based on IP reputation. This feature works particularly very well. Cisco has a vast database of IP reputation scores and therefore offers very few false positives and negatives.
  • It checks each email thoroughly without any compromise of privacy. Any malicious link present in the body of the email makes its way to the quarantine. The IP reputation scores also help in this case.
  • The default metrics on the dashboard visualization are not that useful. It is not much customizable too. Some of the dashboard features like load, volume, etc. can have a hide option.
  • The false negatives are more than false positives. A lot of the times, it verdicts the same email as malicious and non-malicious. This can be reduced.
Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) or Ironport is well suited for large organizations with a high volume of email flow and a high budget. For low or mid-scale industries, it is not that useful as the email client's own security solution like Office 365 or Gmail can do the job. Although quite accurate, email security needs to be flawless as it marks the beginning of every cyber attack. Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) or Ironport does narrow down the search space by dropping emails. But, skillful workers are still needed to ensure the verdict. In the case of spam, it is often not detected. An organization with a high budget, that can afford several employees too along with the tool is a good fit for it
Our experience with Cisco's support was terrible. Other than the fact that they don't respond to service-related emails with urgency, they also keep on changing the policies that affected us. Recently, they came up with a new look for the same software, which was insanely slow. Renewal of keys for the old interface took months. Overall, the support was not very friendly from the users' point of view.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Our corporation has relied on Cisco IronPort Web Security appliances for the last 9 years. We use it across the whole organization, in the headquarters and also in the remote offices. It helped us to solve one of the most challenging problems since the invention of the commercial Internet: be productive and navigate safely. Once we started to provide Internet access to the whole corporation, we were faced with some critical problems, like how to protect the company from unsafe websites that could harm our own network, like trojans, etc., how to be productive avoiding all the distractions the Internet provides, how to segment who could navigate and see what content on the Internet, how to save bandwidth due to the cache mechanism WSA uses and much more.
  • Content classification is one of the key features of the Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance. Because they use the former Senderbase, now integrated to the Talos Intelligence, they can be very efficient classifying the websites on the exact content group they belong. With that, we can effectively configure and feel safe that the users will have access to the content they must have access.
  • The robustness of the Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance is another key point of the solutions. Both the hardware and the software are very well integrated and provide peace of mind of the administrations, because it's very stable. Also, the appliance is very well tuned; we are be able to keep the same hardware for 3 years without any performance problems.
  • As I described before, we've been using Cisco IronPort Web Security appliances for the last 9 years and since we started, the product kept evolving year after year and continues to add new features to this day. To give an example, the recent versions added the possibility of updating the exception list automatically, using API, etc. Also, the product continues to add features to protect from malware and other virtual plagues, inspecting URLs for malicious content. The value of this kind of solution, if you put it on the scale of a big corporation, is invaluable.
  • One area that the product could be improved is the reporting features. Although we can query a lot of information, sometimes we miss a tool that could provide more executive insights, or even a tool that could report Internet usage considering productivity aspects. That's something our HR department is always asking for.
  • As IT administrators, we recognize the value of the product and what we get with it, but sometime it's hard to justify the cost of the license. I'm not sure if it's the way we sell it or if it's expensive, but that's something that always bothers us when we talk about these kinds of products.
We have both scenarios where we can describe that. For example, in the HQ, where we have about 3,000 users, Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance is the ideal solution, because we can consolidate all the Internet access, policies, rules, etc. in the same box. However, if you have small offices with a few users, it's hard to justify one big and expensive box that could cost more than the whole office infrastructure.
Because it's one of those products you almost don't realize it exists from the end user. From the administrator perspective, you can do everything on its web interface and it's very intuitive to manage, once you know the concepts behind identities, acls, etc. Also, once you build the control structure, I mean, you link 'local' groups with your own Active Directory groups, as we did here, you don't need to be managing those things on the appliance itself.
Every time we needed support (luckily, there were only a few times) from Cisco, they were very efficient. There's a way to setup and create a internal VPN connection inside the appliance just for support purposes and once you close the session, that connection is destroyed. With that, the support engineer can go into the appliance and do all the necessary troubleshooting tasks he needs. That's a great feature that help a lot during these times.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We used Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance to provide filtered Internet access for the public and had several levels of filtering "strictness" available depending on the age of the patron involved. The choice of filter level was handled by the ILS and we did this by using different proxy server ports for different filtering levels. The primary purpose was to block offensive web sites from various age groups. We had to tweak the rules a little at the beginning, but we've found at this point that it is very rare to need to whitelist or blacklist sites. The web site categories worked very well for us and were accurate.
  • SMA gave us central control over multiple servers, simplifying management.
  • Performance of the Appliance VM exceeded that of our old physical appliance-based solution.
  • Convenient licensing for virtualized environments that allows easy scaling.
  • The configuration paradigm takes a bit of getting used to.
  • Building out multiple similar VMs requires more manual configuration than I would have hoped. I wish you could easily have a template VM for your organization.
  • I think the SSL interception configuration needs to be integrated with standard HTTP config. HTTPS is too prevalent to be a separate thing.
  • We had to disable the reputation score based filter. Too many false positives. Tickets related to the system dropped to near zero after disabling it.
Based on the platforms I have evaluated, I think the WSA is a great fit for any organization that needs a proxy server that provides control over what web sites are accessed or when they can be accessed. I think it is probably overkill if you simply need a proxy server for bandwidth savings or because you need to proxy general Internet access without extensive filtering needs.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance is a solid device. Deploying it came with a significant amount of white water because we chose to block uncategorized sites. We had to manually set or request categories for local websites. Blocking uncategorized sites has saved us from countless threats including several close calls with ransomware.
  • Licensing is simple and requires minimal effort. Its the best of any Cisco product.
  • After fully configuring, the appliance requires minimal administration.
  • New features are often included in updates.
  • The categories provided are not as granular as some competitors, like Websense.
  • Cisco does not have as many resources devoted to categorizing websites as some competitors, like Websense.
  • New features require administrators to pay attention to updates. New features are disabled by default.
For environments with minimal needs for filtering by category, this is a great product. If the need is for tight nuanced control of cloud based applications, this might not do the job. For environments with a heavy Cisco presence in the security stack, this product offers some synergy with features like AMP.
Alan Matson, CCNA:S, MCP | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Currently we use Cisco IronPort Web Security to secure 60K users from web based malware threats and to filter suspicious and non business related categories. This deployment has decreased the attack surface from our users downloading malicious files and has an agency we have reduced the amount of business confidential information from being leaked by combining the IronPort proxies with data loss prevention software.
  • Malware Protection
  • Reducing business confidential leaks
  • Blocking non business related websites
  • From time to time there are a lot of bugs
  • Using AD authentication can at time be a challenge especially with Mac OS X computers
  • Better reporting functions would help, we currently have to offload to a SIEM to provide this function.
Cisco IronPort Web Security is well suited as an additional layer of security and to ensure business tasking and continuity. As with any organization a solid Web Security solution is needed and of the several solutions I have used the IronPort has the most flexibility for policies creation among the others.
Valery Mezentsau | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We were using Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance for years in our company. The product was used as a web filter across the whole organization (main and 4 branch offices). The Internet for all branches was routed to the main office over the MPLS tunnel. There was just one Cisco IronPort WSA covering all our web traffic.
  • Appliance working in a transparent mode without any additional software installed on the endpoints. High performance, easy integration with other network systems and servers. Customization of interaction with end users.
  • Possibility to configure filter policies based on subnet information and easy sync with AD users groups, once configured and no need to add or modify any settings within Cisco appliance. Everything manageable with regular AD stuff.
  • Timely updates, upgrades and high clarified support.
  • More flexible reporting.
  • Cloud solution to protect corporate laptops used out of corporate network.
  • More flexible DLP functionality.
For big enterprise companies it could be too difficult to find a better solution then Cisco WSA because of high performance, possibility to increase number of appliances, load balancing and real enterprise support, but for small and mid size companies that are not (or could be not) requiring 100% of up-time and performance there could be more cheaper (but still good enough) solutions with enough functionality.