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College Moves from Umbrella to WebTitan for improved usability, reporting & costs.

Learn how a leading seminary college uses WebTitan cloud security to protect its users and data. Saint Joseph Seminary College uses WebTitan’s intuitive UI and uncomplicated usability to manage web security and secure the college network.

Todd Russell

Todd Russell IT Director

The entire experience with WebTitan has been terrific. From better reporting to a usable UI, we’ve gotten the visibility we need and have therefore been able to improve our security position.”

The Challenge

It was extremely difficult for the IT department at Saint Joseph’s to get the information needed from the Cisco Umbrella dashboard. It reached a point that getting basic visibility on web activity became so onerous they avoided the task. This is not a very secure situation. Todd  Russell, IT Director remarked, “I prefer an interface to be simple while giving me as much information as possible in one place. I don't need rounded corners and elegant fonts when I am trying to see who has been visiting dangerous websites.  I need to clearly see domain names and internal IPs”.

“In my opinion, after Cisco bought OpenDNS, they made some major changes to the UI which made it virtually useless for quickly looking through blocked traffic for signs of particular types of usage”. For Todd, the Cisco Umbrella UI became extremely difficult to use. Usability is the foundation of a successful user interface and is critical to the overall customer experience. At TitanHQ usability is something the engineers designing the solutions strive for. A lot of UI changes are recommended and tested by the users themselves.

“We found that once Cisco bought OpenDNS, they began upping the Umbrella pricing every year at renewal time. Despite the repeated price increases, the service was not improving and there was no additional value offered. We do not use Cisco switches on our property, and they have been blacklisted here since I became the Director of IT. Over the past few years, the revelations of hidden backdoors in Cisco products proved that I was justified in my distrust of their products,” says Todd.

What are the main differences between WebTitan and Umbrella?

For Todd, a significant difference between Cisco Umbrella and WebTitan is usability and the complexity of the user interface. He believes that “Cisco is trying to make the Umbrella interface look more ‘modern’ but inadvertently are dramatically reducing the usability. The WebTitan UI is very tight and clean and provides me with the key information I need in one place with the ability to quickly filter and sort to save time.” 

College Moves from Umbrella to WebTitan for improved usability, reporting & costs. - Solution

The Solution

“Ensuring our network and users are secure is vital, and Umbrella’s frustrating interface was making this task more difficult than it needed to be,” says Todd Russell. They had been unhappy with the overly-complex Umbrella user interface for a long time and were jeopardizing security because of this complexity. WebTitan’s many features prompted the IT team to explore the solution. “It didn’t take long to realize that WebTitan was the best alternative for an efficient, cost-effective, and easy to use filtering solution to replace Cisco Umbrella”.

“We like the fact that WebTitan Cloud uses real data captured from global DNS traffic and also draws from Zvelos’s threat intelligence. Educational organizations are particularly vulnerable to malicious links that could lead to a malware or ransomware attack. WebTitan Cloud can block these before a connection is ever established,” he says. “WebTitan Cloud  soon became our first line of defense against threats like ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks.” 

How is your job easier now?

“I am able to quickly scan an entire previous day of blocked traffic and take a closer look at the full traffic on any users that raise a concern in a matter of minutes. This has saved me an enormous amount of time when I need to examine a user's traffic, but it has also made it possible for me to keep close tabs on our traffic. I now regularly use this data to contact users about their traffic or to block particular users from our network. This was something I had not been doing for a while with Umbrella due to the over-complexity and unintuitive nature of the UI.”

Simple Presentation of Advanced  Reporting

“What WebTitan provides me in the Reporting tab alone is very useful.  I am able to login, click the Reporting tab, then change the action droplist to Blocked. Just 2 clicks and I have the info I need.”  Thanks to the simple and clean layout of the information in the WebTitan UI, Todd and his team can easily scan a list of domains to see the internal IPs that visited them.  “The whole process makes it very easy for me to find users that I need to take further action on.” With Cisco Umbrella Todd wasted a lot of time trying to analyse blocked traffic.

The Results

After deploying WebTitan Cloud, the IT department immediately had access to actionable insights into the organization’s threat traffic and web activity. According to Todd, "the whole experience with WebTitan has been terrific. From advanced reporting to a usable UI, they now have the visibility they need on web activity and have been able to slash costs". They also get ground-breaking protections against phishing and malware for their organization. “The user interface and reporting we get with WebTitan puts us in a much better position to be able to quickly figure out what’s going on and remediate issues immediately,” he says.

“WebTitan immediately gave us visibility into our users’ traffic. Within days, the UI allowed us to see clear signals of dangerous activity. Thanks to the easily accessible and understandable data available on the WebTitan UI, we have been able to launch investigations more quickly and work on remediation, says Mr. Russell. The deployment of WebTitan Cloud has greatly helped the college defend against web threats like ransomware and malware. Overall, our ability to spot and remediate security issues has improved a great deal. We can block malicious activity, protect the network and users, and safely manage web usage across the organization. Deploying WebTitan was also very easy and we did not anticipate the dramatic and immediate improvement to our workflow that it provided.”

  • Highly usable UI provides actionable insights on threat traffic and web activity
  • Allows for quick remediation of any flagged issues
  • Easy & Advanced Reporting
  • Secured users and data
  • Cut security administration and remediation time
  • Reduction in IT spend on web security by 50%
  • Increased blocked threats by thousands per hour

Any advice to people considering migrating to WebTitan Cloud?

"The entire experience with WebTitan has been terrific. From better reporting to a usable UI, we’ve gotten the visibility we need and have therefore been able to improve our security position.”

“There is nothing to lose by contacting WebTitan and setting up a trial instance. I was able to do that very quickly over the phone and spend a little time in the interface to determine whether or not it could do what I wanted. That brief demo was all I needed to know that WebTitan would serve my needs much better than Umbrella and I have been thrilled with the improvements to my workflow since switching over,” says Todd.

If you’d like to find out how you can block threats at the DNS layer before they reach your network, speak to us today about getting set up on a WebTitan Trial. 

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