DNS Filtering

Expert Insights Gives TitanHQ 5 Best-Of Awards

Cyberattacks are occurring in record numbers and attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so it has never been more important for businesses to ensure they are well protected and have the right cybersecurity solutions in place. However, finding the right solutions at the right price can be a challenge for businesses, which is why many rely on independent B2B software review sites.

Expert Insights is a leading online platform that provides invaluable advice on business cybersecurity software solutions. The site has more than one million users a year, and each month more than 85,000 businesses rely on the reviews, advice, and buyers’ guides produced by the site’s researchers to help them find the best cybersecurity solutions to meet their needs so they can purchase with confidence.

Expert Insights regularly recognizes the leading companies and their products in its “Best-Of” awards. For the Fall 2022 Best-Of Awards, the huge range of cybersecurity solutions on the market was whittled down to 150 products in 41 different software categories, with the top 10 vendors in each category given a prestigious Best-Of award. The editorial team selected each product using several criteria, including the features of the products, how easy they are to use, customer satisfaction scores, and the company’s market presence, with each category also having its own specific criteria. Like the advice provided by Expert Insights, the selection of products in each category is not influenced by external factors, and each of the products included in the list is subjected to internal testing and analysis by Expert Insights’ in-house team.

TitanHQ is happy to announce that the company’s innovative cybersecurity solutions have been recognized in the Expert Insights Fall 2022 Best-Of Awards, with four TitanHQ products recognized in five of the cybersecurity categories.

The SafeTitan Security Awareness Training platform collected two Best-Of Awards in the Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulation Categories, SpamTitan received an award in the Email Security category, WebTitan was recognized in the Web Security category, and ArcTitan received an award in the Email Archiving category. SpamTitan and ArcTitan were also rated top in their respective categories.

All TitanHQ solutions are provided through the best-in-class SaaS Cybersecurity Platform, which allows businesses to implement advanced, layered defenses to protect against a broad range of cyber threats including phishing, spear phishing, BEC, botnets, malware, and ransomware. The platform is also used by thousands of managed service providers to help their SMBs clients improve their security posture. All TitanHQ solutions are cloud-based, easy to implement, easy to use, and provide industry-leading protection at an affordable price.

“We are honored that TitanHQ was named as a Fall 2022 winner of Expert Insights Best-Of award for phishing simulation, email security, security awareness training, web security and email archiving” said TitanHQ CEO, Ronan Kavanagh.  “Our cloud-based platform allows partners and MSPs to take advantage of TitanHQ’s proven technology so they can sell, implement and deliver our advanced network security solutions directly to their client base”.

New WebTitan Cloud Release Gives Users New Functionality and Enhanced Security

On September 6, 2022, TitanHQ announced the release of a new version of WebTitan Cloud that gives users several new functions to add to the already industry-leading feature set, along with product improvements, security enhancements, and a new user interface.

TitanHQ welcomes feedback from users on new features they would like to see incorporated into its cybersecurity solutions. Previous requests from SMBs, enterprise, and MSP customers have been considered when making the latest product enhancements and adding new functionality.

New WebTitan Cloud Features

The key new features in the latest release of WebTitan have been added to improve security, provide easier access to important information through a suite of new reports, and improve protection for off-network users to better support hybrid working. WebTitan users also benefit from a new user interface that places important information at users’ fingertips.

Interactive Threat Intelligence Including DNS Data Offload

WebTitan Cloud now gives users the ability to list and download the DNS history, logs are available for download, and users can access all DNS data which will provide them with valuable insights. DNS data can be easily extracted to allow sophisticated integrations and advanced analyses, which support IT decisions and security planning and help with network troubleshooting.

New User Interface with Advanced Reporting

A new WebTitan Cloud user interface has been launched that makes accessing all features of WebTitan Cloud even more intuitive, with easy access to a new suite of advanced reports. Data visualization tools have been used to embed key data into the user interface to provide a clear view of important metrics to improve the user experience.

Improved Remote Workforce Protection

Many businesses have remote workers or operate under a hybrid working model. WebTitan Cloud protects all users, whether they are on or off the network. When off the network, the WebTitan Cloud On-The-Go (OTG) agent allows businesses to extend the network protections to workers, regardless of where they access the Internet. The latest enhancements vastly improve the WebTitan Cloud OTG agent for managing and monitoring off-network users, with the JSON Config filters for OTG devices replaced. It is also much easier to add and update exceptions for OTG devices through a simple, intuitive user interface.

DNSSEC Added to Enhance Security

The Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) was created to enhance the security of the DNS. DNSSEC uses public key cryptography to strengthen authentication through digital signatures and verifies the origin and integrity of data during the DNS resolution process, helping to protect against attacks on the DNS such as DNS poisoning.

“This WebTitan release is hitting so many key pillars of success for TitanHQ. The data offload feature has been requested by many customers and creates real differentiation for our solution in the market. This coupled with our new advanced reporting were major requests from our MSP customers,” said TitanHQ CEO, Ronan Kavanagh. “Finally, security is at the heart of what we do and are, the addition of DNSSEC just continues to add to our credentials.”

The TitanHQ Cybersecurity Suite

WebTitan Cloud is part of TitanHQ’s best-in-class cybersecurity platform that also includes SpamTitan Cloud spam filtering, SpamTitan Plus phishing protection, ArcTitan email archiving, EncryptTitan email encryption, and the SafeTitan security awareness and phishing simulation platform. These solutions provide customers with layered defenses to block the full range of cyber threats and are used by more than 12,000 businesses worldwide for compliance and cybersecurity and have been incorporated into the service stacks of over 3,000 MSP partners.

If you haven’t used TitanHQ solutions or you are an MSP that has yet to incorporate TitanHQ products into your service stack, contact the TitanHQ team today. TitanHQ solutions are available on a free trial to allow you to see for yourself how easy they are to use and the benefits that come from TitanHQ’s layered defenses.

ArcTitan Awarded Best In Class Award by Expert Insights

TitanHQ has been awarded a best in class award by Expert insights for ArcTitan Email Archiving, in a haul of 5 awards at the Expert Insights’ Spring 2022 Best-Of awards.

Email archiving is important for compliance with state, federal, and industry regulations for data retention, allowing vast numbers of emails to be searched in seconds and recovered on demand. The solution works seamlessly with Office 365, offering several key benefits over the native Office 365 email archiving feature, including enhanced search and storage, simplified archiving, and a greatly reduced management overhead.

ArcTitan users have reviewed the product on the Expert Insights website and praised the solution for its speed, scalability, ease of use, and the lack of storage limits, with one of the most common plus points from userd being the price of the solution. The solution was ranked top in a group of 10 email archiving solutions at the Expert Insights Spring 2022 Best-Of Awards.

It was not just ArcTitan that was recognized as best in class. TitanHQ’s email security solution,n SpamTitan, ranked 1st in the Best Email Security category, with WebTitan DNS Filter ranking second in the Web Security category. It didn’t end there, as the latest addition to the TitanHQ product portfolio, SafeTitan Security Awareness Training, collected two Best-Of awards in the Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulation categories.

Expert Insights is an important resource for IT professionals and business owners which helps them make the right purchasing decisions. The site provides valuable insights into the best B2B solutions on the market, provides technical reviews and analysis, editorial buyers’ guides, industry analyses, and other valuable content. The site is visited by 80,000 individuals each month.

These awards recognize the continued excellence of the providers in these categories,” said Joel Witts, Expert Insights’ Content Director. “Each of the services recognized in our awards are providing in many cases an essential service to their users, driving business growth, securing users in a challenging cybersecurity marketplace, and massively improving business efficiency.” 

The awards come after a quarter that has seen TitanHQ beat several growth records, especially in the United States. A new U.S. office has been set up to handle the increase in enterprise, SMB, and MSP customers, and this year has seen an additional 12 strategic hires in North America which is helping to continue to drive the impressive growth.

“The recent pandemic and the growth of remote working initiatives have further highlighted the need for multiple layers of cybersecurity and our award-winning solutions form key pillars in this security strategy. We will continue to innovate and provide solutions that MSPs can use to deliver a consistent, secure and reliable experience to their customers,” said TitanHQ CEO Ronan Kavanagh.

Scampage Tools & Brand Phishing Attacks Alert Warning Released

An official warning has been issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in relation to a spike well known brand being used in spear phishing attacks, focused on tricking people to hand over sensitive data or download malware.

The campaigns work by leveraging the trust that is placed in well-known brands in order to make them complete an action. Typically they include the actual logo of the targeted brand in the same format as real messages from the company. However, they will include links that take those who click on them to a malicious web portal. These web portals will attempt to steal sensitive data. 

Hackers sell scampage tools on the dark web that will allow other hackers to operate successful phishing campaigns. The FBI has confirmed that the scampage tools in question have the ability to spot if a person is their email address as their login ID for a web platform. If this is detected the user is sent to a scam page with the same email domain. The user is then asked to share their login credentials that the hacker can use to access the victim’s email. This in turn allows hackers to receive 2-factor authentication codes, thus rendering this security method useless. With 2FA codes, the cybercriminal can obtain access to accounts and make changes, including updating passwords to lock users out of their accounts or altering security rules before the owner of the account can be alerted.

The FBI release said: “Much like the threat with ransomware-as-a-service, this type of product-as-a-service distribution of scampage and credential harvesting tools presents an increased nationwide risk to private sector businesses and their consumers. Brand-phishing email campaigns and scampage tools that help bypass 2FA security measures represent another aspect to this emerging cyber threat.”

In order to prepare for an attack like this, companies must configure an advanced spam filtering solution to prevent phishing emails and stop them from landing in employee inboxes. Password policies should be set up that make strong passwords mandatory, and reviews carried out to police this and root out commonly used or weak passwords cannot be created on accounts. Employees should be warned to never use passwords on multiple accounts and to see to it that all company accounts have 100% unique passwords. Security awareness training should be conducted for all staff members to make them aware of email security best practices and how to spot  phishing emails and other scams.

Due to the spike in the use of scampage campaigns, all staff members should create a unique username for an account that is not connected to their main email address. 2-factor authentication should be enabled if it is available, and where possible, a software-based authenticator program or a USB security key should be in place as the second factor. 


Cisco Umbrella Alternative for SMBs and MSPs

In this post we propose an ideal Cisco Umbrella alternative that you can implement at a fraction of the cost of Cisco Umbrella, yet still have excellent protection from web-based threats and precision Internet content control for your workforce.

WebTitan Cloud is the leading Cisco Umbrella alternative for SMBs and Managed Service Providers (MSP) that serve the SMB market. WebTitan Cloud is, in many respects, a direct swap out for entry-level Cisco Umbrella packages, and one that will save you a small fortune on DNS filtering costs.

What is Cisco Umbrella?

In 2015, Cisco acquired OpenDNS and rebranded the OpenDNS Umbrella solution Cisco Umbrella. Cisco Umbrella is first and foremost a DNS filtering service – a cloud-based security service that protects office and home workers from online threats by filtering DNS requests. The Cisco Umbrella DNS filtering service works at the DNS lookup stage of a web request, where a URL is translated into an IP address to allow the resource to be located by a computer.

Depending on what Umbrella package you subscribe to, Cisco Umbrella DNS filtering allows administrators to set controls governing the web content that can be accessed, the files that can be downloaded from the Internet, along with a range of other security features such as a cloud-delivered firewall, shadow IT protection, and tools to investigate cyber threats.

Before we cover what each of the Umbrella packages consists of and the cost of WebTitan versus Cisco Umbrella in our Cisco Umbrella review, it is worthwhile taking a moment to explain why DNS filtering is now an essential part of the security stack and why you need to add this additional layer of security if you are not already using a DNS filter.

Protection from web-based threats and precision Internet content control for your workforce. Book a FREE WebTitan demo.
Book Free Demo

Why is a DNS Filter Necessary?

You will no doubt be aware that the internet can be a dangerous place. As an IT professional or SMB owner, you need to make sure that employees do not venture into areas of the Internet that could cause your business harm.

Even general web browsing can pose a risk of a malware infection or ransomware download, and employees can easily be tricked into visiting phishing web pages where credentials are harvested. These are very real threats that need to be mitigated.

Rather than leave things to chance and hope your employees obey the rules and recognize all threats in time, you can implement a content filtering solution such as a DNS filter. A DNS filter requires no hardware purchases nor software downloads. You just reconfigure your DNS and point it to the provider of your DNS filtering service and apply your content controls. A DNS filter will block access to malicious content and can be configured to block downloads of certain file types commonly used to install malware.

All DNS content filtering takes place in the cloud, there will be no latency, and filtering will take place without any content being downloaded. You can control the categories of content that can be accessed and, if rules are broken by employees, they will be directed to a block page and no harm will be done. You can run reports on web usage, apply controls to conserve bandwidth, and perhaps most importantly, you can prevent employees from visiting malicious websites and can block malware and ransomware downloads. Without this additional security layer, your business may be at risk.

Cisco Umbrella Review

In this Cisco Umbrella review we will cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of Cisco Umbrella and will present a Cisco Umbrella alternative that is ideal for SMBs and MSPs. The Cisco Umbrella alternative we suggest includes the most important features of the Umbrella DNS filtering solution, with some key advantages for SMBs and MSPs. First, let us consider some aspects of the Cisco Umbrella solution to save you time in your research.

There are four Cisco Umbrella packages to choose from – each with an increasing number of capabilities as you upgrade from basic DNS filtering to a comprehensive Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution. The four packages are:

DNS Essentials

DNS Essentials is the Cisco Umbrella entry level package. The DNS filter blocks websites known to be harboring malware or created for phishing attacks, blocks (or allows) Internet access by domain or category, and enables system administrators to create user policies and view activity reports – albeit at an additional cost when integrated with a directory service such as Active Directory.

The disadvantage of DNS Essentials is that it does not decrypt and inspect the content of encrypted websites. Therefore, if a website is not yet known to be harboring malware – or it contains content that would normally be blocked because of the category of website – the DNS filter will not be able to read the content of the malicious or harmful website.

DNS Advantage

The DNS Advantage package is more advanced than the entry-level package inasmuch as it can inspect and decrypt encrypted websites and will block websites and files if they are identified as malicious by the anti-virus software. DNS Advantage also blocks direct-to-IP traffic such as C2 callbacks that bypass DNS filters and can be integrated with other Cisco tools to analyze threats.

However, like the DNS Essentials package, DNS Advantage only blocks or allows websites by domain, rather than by URL. This can create issues if, for example, you want to allow the finance team access to the money pages of an online newspaper, but want to prevent the rest of the workforce wasting time reading the same newspaper´s sports coverage. It´s either all or nothing.

SIG Essentials

The first of two Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) packages improves on the DNS packages by providing more granular controls to manage Internet access. The SIG Essentials package also comes with a cloud firewall that can be configured to block or allow specific IPs, ports, and protocols, and an anti-virus engine that can be configured to scan previously benign files to disguised threats.

The disadvantage of this package is that it is marketed as a SASE-light solution. This can lead to a false sense of security until you realize that you have to pay extra to subscribe to multiple add-ons (for example, outbound traffic scans). It is also important to be aware there is a mandatory charge for onboarding (which applies to all packages) and an extra charge for priority technical support.

SIG Advantage

SIG Advantage has been acknowledged as a leading SASE solution by Gartner´s Magic Quadrant and this version of the Cisco Umbrella includes almost everything that is an add-on in other versions (except onboarding and technical support). Furthermore, you can enhance the capabilities of the SASE solution by taking advantage of Cisco Talos Incident Response (at an additional cost).

The disadvantage of this package is that it includes many features that businesses may not be able to take advantage of (because the use cases do not apply or the technical skills do not exist) or that are present in existing security solutions (i.e., Microsoft Sentinel, Amazon Security Lake, etc.). Consequently, you may be paying a lot for features you may never use.

Cisco Umbrella Pricing

Cisco Umbrella pricing is not transparent. There are no price lists on the Cisco website, and while it is possible to get an idea of Cisco Umbrella pricing from resellers or customers via Google searches, the prices quoted may be out of date, not include optional extras, and – in the case of resellers´ price lists - may be artificially inflated so customers can be offered discounts at checkout.

From speaking with former customers of Cisco that have switched to WebTitan, we estimate the current price of a DNS Advantage package (with basic customer support) is around $2.70 per user per month based on a 1-year subscription for 100 to 499 users. This may be higher than some customers are paying due to negotiating discounts with resellers or introductory offers.

Protection from web-based threats and precision Internet content control for your workforce. Book a FREE WebTitan demo.
Book Free Demo

Cisco Umbrella Licensing

The Cisco Umbrella licensing model is similar to most other software vendors inasmuch as the cost of Cisco Umbrella is dependent on the package, the number of users, the length of subscription, and location. This model not only applies to the basic subscription cost but also to the cost of add-ons for onboarding, technical support, and any other feature a business subscribes to.

It is important to be aware that businesses can add or remove licenses from a subscription provided they remain within the same cost “band”. Depending on what package the business subscribes to, the cost bands are for 10 - 99 “seats”, 100 – 499 seats, and 500 – 999 seats, with further bands starting at 1,000 seats, 5,000 seats, 10,000 seats, and 25,000 seats.

Is It Worth Paying the Cisco Umbrella Price?

For most businesses, probably not. Businesses currently subscribing to the DNS Essentials and DNS Advantage packages should certainly switch to WebTitan Cloud. Not only is WebTitan Cloud significantly less expensive ($1.58 per user per month for a one-year subscription covering 100 – 499 users), but you also get SSL inspection, granular filtering, and technical support included.

Cisco customers paying more than $1.58 per user per month for the SIG Essentials and SIG Advantage packages, need to consider whether it is worth paying the Cisco Umbrella price or switching to a Cisco Umbrella alternative based on how much use they are making of the additional capabilities and whether they get better protection and flexibility from the Cisco packages.

Protection from web-based threats and precision Internet content control for your workforce. Book a FREE WebTitan demo.
Book Free Demo

There is More to Consider than the Cost of Cisco Umbrella Alone

Cost is not the only consideration, although it is certainly important. You will want to ensure that your DNS filter allows you to control content easily and it must provide protection against web-based threats. So, does opting for a Cisco Umbrella alternative reduce the protection you will get? Actually, you can pay less and improve protection, have an easier to use product, with better reporting, and less complexity.

WebTitan Cloud has a totally transparent and flexible pricing policy and provides the same, high level of protection for everyone. WebTitan is also loved by users who rate it highly for ease of setup, ease of use, ease of admin, and for the quality of support provided. This can be seen on review sites such as G2 Crowd, as detailed below.

Cisco Umbrella Alternative

The Leading DNS Filtering Solution for MSPs Serving the SMB Market

TitanHQ is a global leader in cloud-based email and web security solutions for MSPs that serve the SMB market. WebTitan has been designed to be ideal for MSPs and includes a host of features not offered by Cisco. For example, in contrast to the Cisco Umbrella options for MSPs, we offer a range of hosting options – in TitanHQ´s cloud, in a private cloud, or in your own on-site environment.

You can also have WebTitan in white label form ready to take your own branding - another big plus for MSPs that is not offered by Cisco. The solution is also easy to integrate seamlessly into your own security and customer management solutions thanks to a suite of APIs. Onboarding new customers is simple and painless, and managing their web filtering settings is straightforward.

Cisco Umbrella alternative for MSPs

Protection from web-based threats and precision Internet content control for your workforce. Book a FREE WebTitan demo.
Book Free Demo

Find out More About Our Alternative to Cisco Umbrella Today!

Our sales staff will be happy to explain the benefits of WebTitan over Cisco Umbrella and schedule a product demonstration to show you how easy the solution is to use and integrate into your own environment. If you would like to try WebTitan before committing, you can also take advantage of our free 14-day trial. For the duration of the trial, you will have access to full product support to ensure you get the most out of the solution. For more information, give the TitanHQ team a call today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Cisco Umbrella the same as OpenDNS?

Cisco acquired OpenDNS and rebranded the OpenDNS enterprise security products as Cisco Umbrella. Cisco Umbrella is not exactly the same as OpenDNS, but they do perform the same function, with Cisco Umbrella providing enterprises with greater control, more features, and better integration with other Cisco solutions.

Is Cisco Umbrella worth the cost?

Cisco Umbrella is a powerful web security solution that provides important security benefits and visibility into the Internet activity of all devices and users. While the threat protection is excellent, the cost of the solution can be prohibitively expensive for many small businesses, who can get the features they need from a solution at a fraction of the cost.

Who uses Cisco Umbrella?

While any company can benefit from Cisco Umbrella and improve security, the solution is aimed at mid-to large-sized organizations and includes many features that smaller businesses will not need or use. If you are just looking for a web security solution to control access to web content and block malware downloads, you will be able to make considerable savings with WebTitan.

Is Cisco Umbrella DNS Security Essentials worth the cost?

The features included with the cheapest package of Cisco Umbrella – DNS Security Essentials - are very limited. Businesses looking for the features provided by DNS Security Essentials will be able to get them and more – full SSL inspection for instance - with a Cisco Umbrella alternative such as WebTitan Cloud.

Is Cisco Umbrella a good choice for MSPs?

Cisco does provide Umbrella for Managed Service Providers and it is a good solution for protecting clients and preventing costly malware infections. While an accomplished product, the cost can be high for MSPs, especially those serving the SMB market and there is no option for hosting within an MSP data center and the solution will not be provided as a white label.

WebTitan OTG (on-the-go) for Chromebooks Launched in WebTitan Cloud 4.16

TitanHQ has released WebTitan Cloud 4.16 which adds new functionality to the DNS-based web filtering solution to make management even easier. The latest release also includes a new school web filtering solution.

WebTitan Cloud 4.16 includes DNS Proxy 2.06, which allows filtering of users in Azure Active Directory, as well as on-premise AD and directory integration for Active Directory to make the management of filtering controls for users, groups of users, and organization-wide controls even easier. The latest version includes several fixes and enhanced security to better protect users from web-based threats.

TitanHQ is pleased to announce the release of WebTitan OTG (on-the-go) for Chromebooks with the latest version of WebTitan Cloud. This new service has been specifically developed for the education sector to ensure students can access the Internet safely and securely.

The use of Chromebooks has been growing, with the devices popular in schools as they are a cost-effective way of giving students Internet access. While the Internet offers many learning opportunities, it is important to protect students from threats and web content that could cause them harm.

Schools should implement controls to restrict access to inappropriate content as well as block threats such as phishing, malware, and ransomware.  WebTitan OTG for Chromebooks makes that a very quick and simple process.

WebTitan OTG (on-the-go) for Chromebooks allows IT professionals in the education sector to apply web filtering controls for individuals, school years, all students, and separate controls for staff members. From start to finish, set up takes just a few minutes.

Administrators have precision control over the content that can be accessed, allowing them to easily comply with state and federal laws, including the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

WebTitan OTG for Chromebooks is a DNS-based web filter that filters the Internet before any content is downloaded. As such, there is no latency, regardless of where the Internet is accessed – in the classroom, at home, or elsewhere.

No hardware is required, there are no proxies or VPNs, and administrators have full visibility into Internet access, including locations, web pages visited, and attempts made to visit restricted content.

Key Features of WebTitan OTG for Chromebooks

  • Cost effective web filtering for schools.
  • Easy to install and manage remotely.
  • Full reporting across Chromebook users and locations.
  • User level policies.
  • No additional on-premises hardware required.
  • No slow & expensive VPNs or Proxies required.
  • Chromebooks can be locked down to avoid circumvention.
  • Fast, customizable & accurate DNS filtering.

Using WebTitan OTG for Chromebooks provides an effective way to apply filtering policies to your Chromebooks from the cloud.

“This new release comes after an expansive first quarter. The launch of WebTitan Cloud 4.16 brings phenomenal new security features to our customers,” Said TitanHQ CEO, Ronan Kavanagh. “After experiencing significant growth in 2020, TitanHQ expects these product enhancements and new features to make 2021 another record-breaking year.”