Umbrella Review - Keeping the Rain Out of Your Network.
Updated January 23, 2024

Umbrella Review - Keeping the Rain Out of Your Network.

Dan Reynolds | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Umbrella

First - Cisco Umbrella used to be called OpenDNS. Cisco bought them. And of course had to rename it - especially since it had OPEN in the name. LOL! I work as the director of IT for a mid sized architectural firm. The architects were used to going about anywhere they wanted on the web and when I started here I knew I had to find a way to "protect" them without being too pushy. OpenDNS, aka Umbrella has been a lifesaver. Using their selection list I was able to whittle down the content available to my users while still having the ability to customize and whitelist sites they needed to have access to. This product - in case you don't know - filters traffic at the DNS level. They have whitelist/blacklist DNS entries and for the most part it is totally transparent and extremely fast.
  • Filters content at the DNS level. Makes it a little harder for the sneaky ones to make it through.
  • Since this is at the DNS level, using their DNS servers (as a forwarder to your local DNS) it is extremely fast. Transparent.
  • Always being updated. Not dependent on "definitions" or algorithms - a site is either blacklisted or whitelisted.
  • Easy to implement, apply, maintain
  • Reporting is a bit convoluted. I'd like it to be easier to sort out.
  • I know many are looking for ROI numbers - I think this product (and other security products) you have to look at the potential risk. Even with the "best" users bad stuff is going to happen.
  • Another risk factor, one that I took seriously, was the potential for company liability by bad users accessing objectionable sites and good users being exposed to that - with potential liability issues. By utilizing the filtering capabilities this helps lessen this risk.
One of the main worries I had was that the user with a company supplied machine would have the same level of security (DNS filtering in this particular case). If they are at home and not behind our firewall how can I control and monitor that reliably without Umbrella. With the Umbrella client installed I can b assured they will have the same "mechanism" protecting them wherever they are.
I honestly have not compared Umbrella to other products. I know there are countless web content monitoring/filtering solutions out there but most of them require additional hardware, overhead, setup, etc. I didn't even consider them. To me it just makes more sense to filter at the DNS level. It is more unobtrusive and easier to accomplish. Not having to analyze network traffic beyond an IP address.

Do you think Cisco Umbrella delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Cisco Umbrella's feature set?


Did Cisco Umbrella live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Cisco Umbrella go as expected?


Would you buy Cisco Umbrella again?


I believe security has to be approached in a multi-layered manner. I consider Umbrella to be essential - the first layer of defense if you will. After all if the users can't get there - they won't get stung. But again, I believe in multi-layers and I know people will be people... In addition to the "pre-set" content categories - you can also blacklist sites you deem necessary. I honestly can't think of a scenario where Umbrella wouldn't work well. I'm not at all advocating giving up on good anti-virus or firewalls & security appliances. I just consider Umbrella a member of the team.

Resilience and Reliability

Whatever security system(s) you utilize - they have to be flexible and able to respond to different threats as they appear. If they are structured and inflexible then they can cause more harm than good. I've always found OpenDNS/Umbrella has had the ability to adapt and change to suit the need. You can exclude or include addresses. You can fine-tune the categories. DNS on so many levels is a fragile structure. Users have no idea. That's why OpenDNS/Umbrella is so important.
I think that OpenDNS/Umbrella is a key part of building a more resilient cyber security posture. As I stated before DNS is a fragile system. Users do not have a clue. It means nothing to them. And unless they are in trouble they don't care. You have to be able to protect the user from both themselves and the outside.
First off I never give anything a "10" unless it's perfect. LOL - I grade on the curve. I think OpenDNS/Umbrella is a very good product. I think that fact that Cisco absorbed them is one of the proofs of that. I have used the product back when it was free for companies our size. I have not always appreciated the cost - but in the post pandemic cyber chaos, I believe the cost benefit ratio is still very high. I have honestly not looked at other products because Umbrella continues to work to my satisfaction. I consider Umbrella to be one of the key layers in my cyber security strategy.
Umbrella's implementation on premise is incredibly simple. Just point DNS to it, configure a policy and off you go. It gets a bit more complicated on devices that leave your premises but the agent has progressed over the years and is small, has a small footprint and works well. And when you need to report back on individual devices it is quite effective.
I have to give a 10 here. I think I've had maybe one or two times in 13 years I had issues. Only one time it was an issue inside OpenDNS/Umbrella. Sometimes you have to tune a content category or add an exception but I would ALWAYS rather have to do that then mop up a mess.
I think for Umbrellas integration and implementation are practically the same thing. Or at least I can use them interchangeably. You make the decision to push agents to mobile devices and then for inside the castle you either set Umbrella to be your DNS or deploy the agents there as well.
  • Use the content categories to "filter" and limit our users going to undesired sites.
  • Deploy the agent to mobile devices that will be "outside" our network, protecting them.

Cisco Umbrella Support

The very few times I've needed customer support it has been decent.