What Is the Intelligent Proxy and Can It Stop Malicious Attacks?

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Stirling Castle in Stirling, Scotland

Every day and night, there could be endless malicious attacks trying to compromise your internet-connected devices.

If you don’t have the proper security, you’re vulnerable to infections, ransomware attacks, and leaks of your valuable business data.

Read on to find out what the Cisco Umbrella intelligent proxy is and how it can protect you and your business.

What Is a Proxy?

A web proxy is a layer that sits between your computer or mobile device and the rest of the internet.

The proxy inspects every single web connection your device tries to make, such as when a user requests a web page or interacts with a web app.

From its inspection, the proxy then categorizes the connection as either safe, malicious, or risky based on information it finds in web reputation systems.

The proxy lets through all connections it sees as safe. The user will see the content she requested as if nothing had happened between her request and the content being displayed.

For example, a request to a reputable video content provider or a well-known social network carries minimal risk. The proxy considers those connections to be safe.

Malicious connections, on the other hand, are requests to sites known to carry harmful content. The proxy will almost certainly block those requests, and the user won’t be able to continue to that site.

But what about risky sites? These are often called “gray” sites because they may carry benign content that could be useful for business, but they may also contain malicious software ready to strike.

Sites where users upload and share content with each other are an example of the latter category.

The Trouble with Regular Proxies

A regular proxy has to intercept and inspect every single connection request. This gets problematic if users’ devices are on a shared network, as they are in business networks.

Network availability and speed go down very fast as the proxy has to analyze more and more requests. Besides, deploying and maintaining a proxy can be hard and costly work.

And blocking all traffic that might be risky inevitably causes false positives (harmless content that gets blocked) that lead to more support inquiries, taking up more support bandwidth.

How Does the Intelligent Proxy Ward off Malicious Attacks?

Cisco’s intelligent proxy has a different approach to threat management. It eliminates the inconvenient parts about proxies while keeping the best ones — visibility and control.

The intelligent proxy is a feature of Cisco Umbrella, a platform of business solutions that act as your first line of defense against internet threats.

The intelligent proxy disregards requests to safe and malicious sites because it knows exactly what to do with them: Either allow them or block them.

This means that, instead of inspecting every request, Umbrella has far fewer connections to process; namely, risky connections.

And nothing else.

Through predictive intelligence technology, the intelligent proxy intercepts and proxies only requests for files from risky domains to check for malware attacks. This frees up bandwidth and makes the network much faster.

Features of the Intelligent Proxy

The Umbrella intelligent proxy inspects the URL of each site requested. It also inspects over 150 types of files, such as PDF, ZIP, and executables.

This technology allows for more granular detection of malicious content, resulting in fewer false positives.

Deployment is extremely simple. You just point your DNS to Umbrella and it takes care of the rest. Subsequent management is also simplified.

The Cisco intelligent proxy scales up or down to handle any amount of internet traffic, giving a much higher performance to Umbrella threat monitoring.

Are You Protected?

Cisco Umbrella is a fantastic tool to guard your business against malicious attacks. Are you ready to give it a try?

Contact us to learn more about how our managed IT services can help you tailor Cisco Umbrella to your needs.