Channel partner programs, CSPs, MSP, Networking

Cisco Bolsters OpenDNS Security Management for MSPs


OpenDNS, Cisco Systems' cloud-delivered network security service, unveiled several updates today that allow MSPs to more easily manage multiple customer networks from a single dashboard. The ongoing updates also allow MSPs to proactively discover and manage shadow IT cloud accounts. Overall, the updates show that Cisco hasn't sidetracked OpenDNS's R&D since acquiring the company in August.

Dima Kumets
Dima Kumets

First, the big picture. More than 2,000 MSPs leverage Umbrella, an OpenDNS platform that allows partners to reduce the time they spend remediating malware infections. Today's Umbrella updates include new enforcement capabilities, centralized reporting and updates to the search/reporting functions that allow MSPs to better react to customer needs, according to Dima Kumets, senior product manager for MSPs at OpenDNS.

Another enhancement, dubbed IP­layer enforcement, extends OpenDNS beyond its domain heritage and can protect customers from direct­to­IP connections.

Many of the security capabilities leverage big data and machine learning capabilities built into OpenDNS, Kumets said.

Managing Shadow IT and Public Cloud Apps

While OpenDNS continues to focus heavily on security, this year's upgrades can also transform MSPs into cloud gatekeepers for their customers. For instance, Umbrella can track user access to public cloud file sharing services and far more. From there, the MSP can help customers to pinpoint preferred cloud services for employees, while blocking off access to non-approved cloud services.

The following screen shot, for instance,  shows how the platform can discover and track who is using HipChat, the cloud-based chat service.

To test the new features, an OpenDNS user can ​log into their dashboard​s and go to the Reports tab. A free OpenDNS Umbrella trial also is available.

Bigger Picture

chuck robbins Chuck Robbins

OpenDNS is critical to Cisco Systems' overall business and channel strategy. New CEO Chuck Robbins has been bolstering the company's security offerings, while also buying platforms like MaintenanceNet to help partners capture more revenue from customers.

At the same time, Cisco has been working to improve its credibility in the small business market, where earlier efforts like Cisco OnPlus didn't gain critical mass with MSPs. In stark contrast, OpenDNS has rapidly gained an MSP following. And the platform is part of Cisco's broader Security Everywhere initiative, which blankets all Internet of Everything (IoE) devices and network connections.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.