Miercom Validates Cisco Umbrella Cloud Security Performance

Author: Nada MacKinney, product marketing manager, cloud security, Cisco Systems

When considering any IT security capability, you rigorously evaluate features and functions. Will it block threats? Will it protect my systems, my people, my data? How will it impact end-users’ experience? Will it help me keep my job? But with a cloud security solution, the underlying infrastructure is just, if not more, important. While you don’t “buy” the infrastructure per se, understanding how it’s architected, built, and enhanced is critical to know before investing in the cloud security service.

Since 2006, our DNS security service has maintained 100% business uptime. That’s a record more than 20K+ customers can bank on. Umbrella’s fully cloud-native service has run significant container workloads for more than six years, longer than any other cloud security vendor. We own, actively manage, and tune our own equipment for consistent high performance at scale. Our self-healing, highly automated, agile global cloud architecture enables continuous infrastructure refresh — servers, networks, whole data centers come in/out rotation – with no customer business impact. We’re known for speeding customers’ internet performance, being transparent with our customers, and providing the best threat detection in the industry.

In October of 2020, the Cloud Security Team at Cisco decided to put Cisco Umbrella, the heart of Cisco’s SASE architecture, to the test. We hired Miercom, an independent network and security testing vendor with 30 years of experience, to conduct a performance evaluation of Cisco Umbrella to see how our cloud-native security service stacks up.

Key Findings

We’re thrilled that Miercom validated our lightning-fast performance in a series of tests. What did they find? They proved what our customers have known for years. We’re not only secure; we’re fast! In short, Miercom found that with Cisco Umbrella you can:

  • Reduce hop count by 33%, offering improved platform performance
  • Reduce Latency and traffic consistency (jitter) by up to 73%
  • Deliver substantive network performance improvements and better overall quality performance

About Umbrella

Let’s back up. What is Cisco Umbrella? Umbrella is a highly elastic, cloud-native security service at the center of Cisco’s SASE infrastructure. Umbrella unifies DNS-layer protection, secure web gateway, firewall, and cloud access security broker (CASB) functionality, to easily help protect remote and roaming users, secure SD-WAN, and embrace direct internet access. Umbrella helps organizations simplify network security, secure internet access, and control cloud app usage across the network, branch offices, and roaming users. We provide our customers with flexibility to scale, network resilience and reliability, high capacity, and an agile infrastructure.

Miercom testing scope

Miercom engineers participated in live performance testing from several locations including New York, NY; San Jose, CA; Ashburn, VA; and Frankfurt, Germany using Thousand Eyes probes. Thousand Eyes probes provided personalized monitoring capabilities and enabled the testers to correlate multiple telemetry sources and abstract this information to prove the performance of the Cisco Umbrella network.

Testers employed a typical enterprise network connectivity pattern similar to that below. Each workstation was directly connected to the internet first without Umbrella, then with Umbrella with no policies set, and then with Umbrella with all security features and full inspection enabled. Within each application, we tested the performance associated with file downloads, page loads, and latency – for 10 minutes.

 

Performance is key to SASE

Businesses large and small have been embracing the cloud and its flexible consumption model to improve networking and security for years. Rapid cloud adoption, the rise in direct internet access, and the global pandemic have recently added new challenges. Yet, you can cut complexity, reduce risk, and move toward a coordinated cloud approach that emphasizes security — without compromising performance. The emergence of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) embodies such an approach, combining WAN capabilities with cloud-native security functions like secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, firewalls, and zero-trust network access.

Cloud security performance you can count on

Considering Miercom’s experience providing testing services to many Fortune 500 Businesses for deploying cloud security services and SaaS solutions, we were pleased to see the Miercom report validate that Umbrella provides not only security efficacy but also a substantial performance improvement benefit to customers.

To learn more how this seamlessly integrated cloud-native solution affords organizations high-end performance with optimized routing, reduced latency and a noticeable boost in quality of experience, click to read the full detailed report, “Cisco Umbrella Performance Assessment Summary”.


Author Nada MacKinney is product marketing manager, cloud security at Cisco Umbrella. Read more guest blogs from Cisco here.

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