The most valuable product for web security
August 07, 2019
The most valuable product for web security
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance
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.
- Considering we've being using it for the last 9 years, if we just consider how many times we avoided to be contamitated by malwares coming from the Internet, just for that reason, we paid the solution 3 times.
- Productivity improvement is something hard to prove, but we're a 100% sure we avoided some many hours of 'not interesting subjects' nativagation on the Internet, specialy in the early days, where people didn't have smartphones and used to browse the Internet for personal reasons on the corporate network.
- Also, a little hard to prove, but we can trust that we saved a lot of bandwidth and, consequently, Internet circuit investments because of the cache mechanism.
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.
Considering we're with Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances for the last 9 years, as I stated, we don't have too much experience with other producs. What I can say is that in the past, we evaluated Websense before it became Forcepoint and we also used MS ISA Server for webfilter. As you may imagine, IronPort is a very very superior product.
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.