Cisco OpenDNS for Businesses

Cisco OpenDNS is suite of Internet filtering solutions for personal use, ranging from the free “Family Shield” and “Home” services to the premium “Home VIP” and “Umbrella Prosumer” services. Due to the maximum number of users allowed per subscription, Cisco OpenDNS is unsuitable for businesses, who instead have to subscribe to one of Cisco´s enterprise packages.

There are three Cisco OpenDNS enterprise packages that come under the heading of Cisco Umbrella. The three packages are:

  • DNS Security Essentials
  • DNS Security Advantage
  • DNS Secure Internet Gateway

The “Essentials” package blocks access to web pages known to contain malware, known to be associated with botnets, or known to be set up to execute phishing attacks. It also allows businesses to create custom blacklists and filter non-encrypted Internet content by category. However, as most business websites are now encrypted, this package offers far less protection than the “Essentials” title implies.

The “Advantage” package provides a more appropriate level of protection by filtering SSL traffic “associated with risky domains”. This Cisco OpenDNS package also scans websites with anti-virus software before providing access, and allows businesses to take advantage of Cisco´s “Investigate” threat intelligence service. However, it is still not a complete web filtering solution.

Only the top level “Secure Internet Gateway” package provides the capability to decrypt and inspect all SSL traffic before providing user access. It is only at this level businesses have the options to filter websites by URL, sandbox suspicious activity, and create web access policies for selected apps. Even at this level you have to pay extra for support, software updates, and online learning resources.

The Cisco OpenDNS Price for Businesses

While the Cisco OpenDNS pricing for premium personal services is transparent, the same cannot be said about the Cisco OpenDNS price for businesses. There is no price list on the Cisco website for either the OpenDNS enterprise packages or the compulsory support packages; and while some resellers advertise Cisco OpenDNS prices, these relate to the former “Professional”, “Insights” and “Platform” packages.

From the out-of-date reseller websites, it is possible to determine that the list price for the “less-than-Essential” package was $4,296 per year for 100 users prior to February 2020 (excluding support costs). This equates to $3.58 per user per month – which is a lot higher than most other DNS web filtering service providers with products equivalent to or better than the DNS Secure Internet Gateway package.

It is also worth considering that the Cisco OpenDNS cost and support costs have to be paid all upfront. There is no option to split the cost over monthly installments; which can make it a very expensive transaction for a large organization with a substantial number of users to protect – notwithstanding that the Cisco OpenDNS price for the top level package is likely to be more than $5 per user per month.

Finally, it is not possible to evaluate the merits of each package before deciding which is best for your business. Although the Cisco OpenDNS ordering guide provides a comparison of what each package is capable of, the free trial offered to businesses is the top level package. This can give businesses a false impression of the level of service they will receive if opting for the “Essentials” or “Advantage” package.

Conclusion: Cisco OpenDNS Review

Although the top level Secure Internet Gateway package is extremely comprehensive in the protection it provides, there are multiple considerations to take into account before choosing Cisco Open DNS to protect your business, your network, and your users:

  • If you choose any other package other than Cisco DNS Secure Internet Gateway there will be large gaps in what content you are able to filter.
  • If you subscribe to the Cisco DNS Secure Internet Gateway package, you will likely be paying for services you will not be able to use.
  • If you subscribe to any of the three packages, you will be required to subscribe to either the “Enhanced” or “Premium” support package at an additional cost.
  • Even without the additional cost, Cisco OpenDNS pricing is not competitive when compared to other DNS web filtering service providers.
  • The Cisco OpenDNS ordering guide could be considered to be misleading inasmuch as you are given a free trial of the top level package.

By comparison to Cisco OpenDNS, WebTitan Cloud provides you with a top level service at a fraction of the Cisco OpenDNS cost, with free support, free software updates, and free access to online learning resources. As there is only one level of WebTitan Cloud service, the free trial provides you with a realistic experience of what you can expect if you become a WebTitan Cloud customer; and, if you choose to take advantage of our service, we offer flexible payment options to suit every business. Contact us today to find out more.