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Uplevel Small Business Network Appliance Gains DNS Filtering

Small businesses face just as many security threats as large enterprises. But enterprise-class security solutions are often too complex and too expensive for SMB customers. This can put small business MSPs in a difficult place as they try to implement best security practices for their clients.

Eager to solve that quandary, Uplevel launched Unbox in late 2016. The on-premises appliance allows MSPs to remotely manage customer networks. Unbox, which links to the cloud, features WiFi, disk storage, backup, security and remote management capabilities.

Fast forward to present day, and Uplevel is introducing security enhancements. As many MSPs know, end users are often the biggest threat to a company's network security. Whether the user fall for a phishing scam, or simply click on something they shouldn't, proper filtering can help mitigate that risk. That's why Uplevel has announced DNS filtering.

The new DNS filtering requires no new equipment. MSPs can obtain DNS filtering licenses for as few as 10 users to avoid paying for unused functionality. From there, it sounds easy to black-list problematic sites.  SMBs can apply rules to certain groups of users while excluding others; they can also implement policies at the gateway level and automatically apply those policies to new or deleted users as employees enter or leave individual groups.

The security capabilities don't end there. The appliance already features a built-in firewall, intrusion detection, encryption, and ransomware protection.

While the appliance seems like a just-right fit for many small businesses, Unbox only scales to 25 users. We're checking to see if the boxes are stackable to address customers that grow beyond the 25-user limit.

Moreover, Uplevel faces competition from a range of third-party MSP tools along with DNS filtering offerings like Cisco Umbrella and Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS Protection.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.