Meraki MR + Umbrella: Powerful combo to secure wireless APsSyah Ismail
Cisco Meraki have announced support for integration between Meraki MR wireless access points (APs) and Cisco Umbrella (formerly OpenDNS). This integration with Umbrella enables Meraki admins who obtain Umbrella licenses (WLAN, Professional, or Platform) to seamlessly assign DNS filtering via Meraki group policy or SSID to specific subsets of wireless clients, or to them all. Umbrella is the industry’s first secure internet gateway, a cloud-delivered first line of defense against threats like malware, ransomware, and phishing.
Umbrella enforces security at the DNS layer by identifying requested web domains hosting nasty stuff like malware and phishing and block end user access to them. Umbrella also enables more secure DNS querying through a tool called DNSCrypt, which automatically encrypts DNS queries between your network and Umbrella’s servers, effectively eliminating the chance that your queries will be the victim of eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. This secures the “last mile” of a client’s internet connection, which is often left exposed and vulnerable.
Enabling Umbrella integration takes only a few steps. First, the Meraki and Umbrella dashboards must be linked via the Umbrella Network Devices API key. Once this API key is generated from within the Umbrella dashboard, it needs to be copied into the Meraki dashboard by navigating to Network-wide > General.
After this initial setup, a unique identifier is generated behind the scenes for the specified Meraki SSID or group policy and is used by Umbrella to determine how to evaluate traffic from that Meraki network moving forward. To link a Meraki SSID to an Umbrella policy, navigate to the Wireless > Configure > Firewall & Traffic Shaping section of the Meraki dashboard. There, you will find a button to link Umbrella policies.
To link a Meraki group policy to an Umbrella security policy, navigate to the Network > Configure > Group policies page in the Meraki dashboard and choose the specific Meraki group policy that you want to link. Under the ‘Layer 7 firewall rules’ section of that policy, you’ll be able to choose which Umbrella policy you’d like to apply. Once a Meraki SSID or group policy has been successfully linked to an Umbrella security policy, clients connecting to that SSID or who have been applied that group policy will have their DNS queries encrypted and verified against the corresponding Umbrella policy.
There is no additional cost or charge for taking advantage of this integration (which is available to all Meraki wireless customers who have upgraded to our latest MR26.x firmware), but Meraki wireless customers who wish to integrate with Umbrella will need a separate Umbrella license and account with that service.
This feature requires an early-release MR firmware version that can be enabled with Meraki support assistance. Interested customers should contact PointStar to have this feature enabled.
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