Cisco Debuts Umbrella: First Secure Internet Gateway in the Cloud

Businesses often set up virtual private networks, or VPNs, to protect against IT threats that can be introduced via remote workers using cloud services to access corporate data. Because employees don't always use those VPNs, though, Cisco has launched a new layer of protection: a secure Internet gateway (SIG) dubbed Umbrella.

Calling it "the industry's first secure Internet gateway in the cloud," Cisco said yesterday that Umbrella is designed to provide enterprise users with a safe way to access cloud services from anywhere via any device. And because Umbrella is a cloud-based service, it's fast and easy for customers to deploy without the need for new hardware or software, according to Cisco.

Built on the OpenDNS platform, Umbrella incorporates other Cisco technologies such as Cloud Web Security and Advanced Malware Protection. Those integrations enable the gateway service to inspect files before they're downloaded from potentially risky domains, and also adds new predictive intelligence capabilities to avoid other potential threats.

'Secure Onramp to the Internet'

"Before you connect to any destination, a SIG acts as your secure onramp to the Internet and provides the first line of defense and inspection," Kevin Rollinson, product marketing manager for Cisco OpenDNS, wrote yesterday in a blog post. "Regardless of where users are located or what they're trying to connect to, traffic goes through the SIG first. Once the traffic gets to the SIG cloud platform, there are different types of inspection and policy enforcement that can happen."

As a secure Internet gateway, Umbrella offers advantages over other protection strategies such as secure Web gateways, or SWGs, added Brian Roddy, who heads cloud security for Cisco. SWGs can be hard to deploy and "constantly create problems around latency and capacity," he said. By contrast, Umbrella was developed to reimagine how security is delivered, he added.

"For us, it...

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