Clearpath’s Blog on IT Infrastructure, Hybrid Clouds and IT Security

Protect your Cisco Meraki Network in Minutes, with Dead Simple Deployment and Painless Policy Management

Posted by Clearpath Solutions Group on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 @ 01:21 PM

The increased sophistication of malware attacks, the rapid expansion of IoT, and the growing use of mobile devices to access enterprise and guest Wi-Fi networks is leaving even the best-equipped security teams struggling to keep up.

Part of the struggle is that existing security solutions are siloed and don’t integrate or share intelligence in a programmatic way. Security teams are also understaffed. The 2018 Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report found that a lack of security personnel prevents many organizations from implementing new cyber capabilities – this can limit the ability to deploy, manage, and scale security solutions to combat the growing threat.

Consider one of the most exploited vulnerabilities in many networks – DNS blind spots. Currently, 97% of malware use DNS as part of the attack. However, most security teams (75%) don’t filter DNS traffic for malicious internet connections, hence the blind spot.

Good news! A new integration addresses this security vulnerability and solves the challenges of deployment and support – making your security team’s jobs a lot easier.

A Match Made in the Cloud

cisco_meraki_umbrellaA few months ago, Cisco announced support for integration between its Meraki cloud-managed wireless access points and the Cisco Umbrella cloud security platform.  Together, Meraki and Umbrella are the industry’s first secure internet gateway delivering a cloud-delivered first line of defense from malware, ransomware, phishing, and more.

Even better, because it’s cloud-based you can deploy Umbrella across your Meraki network with just a few clicks and protect users against threats in just minutes, no latency added, no extra appliance needed, and at a lower-cost than hardware-based solutions. The integration also checks boxes for painless policy management. You can enable Umbrella policies without leaving the Meraki dashboard and apply policies on a per-SSID basis or use Meraki Group Policies.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to deploy Umbrella across your Meraki network.

How It Works

Cisco Umbrella works by blocking malicious destinations (web domains that host malware, ransomware, and phishing threats) before a connection is established.  Here’s how:

  • DNS and IP Layer Enforcement – Umbrella uses DNS to stop threats over all ports and protocols – even direct-to-IP connections, so it stops malware before it reaches your wireless access points or network. Umbrella also uses a tool called DNSCrypt which automatically encrypts DNS queries between your Meraki network and Umbrella’s servers, stopping any chance of eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Intelligent Proxy - Instead of proxying all web traffic, Umbrella routes requests to risky domains for deeper URL and file inspection. Effectively protecting your network without delay or performance impact.
  • Command and Control Callback Blocking – Even if devices become infected in other ways, Umbrella prevents connections to the attacker’s servers. This prevents data exfiltration and the execution of ransomware encryption.

cisco_umbrella_meraki

If you’re a Meraki wireless customer, you’ll need to obtain Umbrella licenses to integrate with that service. From there you can easily link your two accounts from within the Meraki dashboard and start creating and selecting Umbrella policies.

Contact Clearpath's Cisco Professional Services Team

Why It Matters

Together, Meraki wireless and Umbrella integration ensures all devices and users on the network are protected. Instead of being in a constant proactive posture waiting to detect and respond to an attack, Meraki network users can rest assured that they’ll never reach a harmful site to begin with.

Meanwhile, security teams experience the convenience of ease-of-deployment, intuitive policy application, and visibility into internet activity across all locations and users, directly within the Meraki dashboard.

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