Cisco Umbrella

How Umbrella (OpenDNS) Protects Your Business From Phishing Attacks

Although you may not be familiar with DNS, the technology is essential if you want to browse the Internet without remembering the IP address associated with every website you want to visit. The domain name system, usually shortened to DNS, translates a website’s numeral location to a human-friendly domain name. When you go to “,” for example, DNS points your browser to the IP address of the server where the website files are stored without you even realizing it.

My team at 360 Smart Networks helps organizations overcome many of the cybersecurity challenges they have each day.  Cisco Umbrella and other solutions have proven to be worth their weight in gold.

Every day, Internet users rely on DNS to access millions of websites, saving time and effort in the process. Some organizations employ DNS on their local network to similarly save time. Sometimes people differentiate between external DNS, which refers to Internet sites, and the internal DNS that helps users navigate resources on an organization’s network. The same general concept applies to both, however.

DNS is able to do this by keeping databases of websites or resources.and their IP addresses and friendly domain names. Typically, your Internet service provider accesses this database when you go to a domain. If ISPs update their databases at different times, a website may not work for one person while someone with a different ISP will be able to access it.

The Benefits of Custom DNS

You can also set up your computer to use a DNS database provided by someone other than your Internet provider. For example, Google has its own DNS system that users can implement. A different DNS provider may update their databases more frequently or may decrease how long it takes for you to load websites.

DNS services also provide security by preventing phishing and other internet attacks, which only seems to be more common as hackers target remote workers and s can cost your organization thousands or even millions of dollars if hackers gain access to sensitive data or cause downtime. By verifying that data is coming from a verified source when you access a website or app, DNS services ensure your safety. Smart DNS solutions will check for a website’s IP address to see if it’s known, valid, related to a potentially-dangerous geographic location, or known to be associated with malware.

That same process can also block users from accessing websites of a certain nature, including adult or gambling content, while on company time or when using a company-owned device.

How Umbrella Can Protect Users In Your Organization

Organizations that are interested in DNS services may find that Google DNS isn’t as robust as they need. Fortunately, Cisco, a company known for its networking products and services, offers a DNS service known as Umbrella that many companies use. Umbrella, formerly known as OpenDNS, comes in both free and premium versions depending on your organizations’ needs. Generally, the free plan is better for home rather than business or corporate users while the premium version offers more options for customization of your experience.

A significant difference between the free and paid options is the ability to move a device to a different network and still have DNS protection through Umbrella. Protection only covers your local network with the free version. If your employees want the freedom to use laptops or mobile devices from anywhere or you send technicians into the field, Umbrella’s premium tier is a must-have.

While Cisco Umbrella doesn’t replace savvy Web browsing, it is just one more layer of security you can add to protect your system, users, and data from costly attacks. A managed service provider can help set up Umbrella for your organization to use no matter how large or small.


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