Cisco Umbrella for Home Use – Good baseline

Is you PC protected at home? Where is your most valuable information stored?

In my case, my most valuable information is stored in my PC at home, or the cloud storage which only my PC can access to. It’s obvious that I need to protect my home network more than anything. It’s really scary for anyone getting your PC hacked like the one in BlackMirror.

Usually your information as a company worker is well protected by your company’s IT team. However, it’s often not the case at home. Protecting network against the malicious attempt is very time consuming, and cost a lot of money. I spend most of my daytime as a solution architect, and proposed various security approaches. However, these enterprise approach doesn’t meet the home users need from both cost and design perspective. So we need simpler and less-expensive option.

I’m using Cisco Umbrella at home. More precisely “Home” to protect my home network and “Prosumer” to protect my Macbook. You can refer partial comparison of Cisco Umbrella products below.

ProductHomeProsumerProfessionalInsights
TypeDNSDNSDNSProxy
CoverageNetworkPCPCNetwork
Web FilteringYesYesYesYes
Nos of Protected PC1-1-510-?
File Inspection(AV)NoNoNoYes

I was surprised when I checked the functionality at the first time because most of its product didn’t have AntiVirus even though they were security product. However, I looked into their technical papers and realised their technique could cover majority of my concern:

  • They are using DNS rather than Proxy for filtering. It contributes both cost –less cost because it requires less resource for the provider, and manageability –easier to deploy and remove if necessary
  • DNS could be used for both pre-exploit as well as post-exploit. In one study, 90% of malware uses DNS in some way –usually post exploit can be detected by behavioural detection only
  • Good presence in security market –Cisco Talos, is used both for enterprise and consumer product range

Cisco Umbrella is not as good as other competitors –e.g. zScaler, but Umbrella clearly has a standpoint for SOHO business. If you are paying hundreds of dollars for your old firewall maintenance, this should be the one to check.