Group1's inside view...

Cisco acquired IronPort in 2007 and ScanSafe in 2009. As a result, Cisco can now offer their loyal client base both appliance-based and cloud-based Web content filtering. Geared towards enterprise-scale clients that have a special appreciation of Cisco-labeled solutions.

Overall, our field experience with this product line has been interesting.


Is Cisco's IronPort the right product for you?

We will be happy to discuss your current network environment, your content filtering goals, and share our real world experience with Cisco's IronPort product line.

Please give us a call at (800)738-3570, or drop a quick email to .





Detailed Cisco IronPort info...
(provided by the manufacturer)


The web has become the ubiquitous platform for application delivery in the enterprise, whether that is browser-based application platforms such as and Google Apps, or rich-media applications such as Apple iTunes or Cisco WebEx™ meeting applications using web protocols as a widely available transport in and out of enterprise networks.

Threat writers, attracted by this ubiquitous access, have shifted malware attacks largely to the web, resulting in near-epidemic threat levels. Traditional defenses are proving to be inadequate against this rapidly changing web-based malware, leaving corporate networks exposed to the inherent danger posed by these threats and emphasizing the importance of a robust, secure platform to protect the enterprise network perimeter from such threats.

Increasing mobility-largely enabled by Web based applications-offers productivity benefits for businesses, as well as flexibility for users, by allowing users to work anywhere, anytime. However, this has also introduced significant security challenges, as organizations must find ways to extend security and policy enforcement to mobile users.

The Cisco IronPort™ S-Series Web Security Appliance is the industry's first and only secure web gateway to combine acceptable-use-policy (AUP) controls, reputation filtering, malware filtering, data security, and application visibility and control on a single platform to address these growing risks. By combining innovative technologies, the Cisco IronPort S-Series helps organizations address the growing challenges of both securing and controlling web traffic whether their employees are tethered to a corporate LAN or sitting in an airport on their smartphones.

Customers enjoy low total cost of ownership (TCO), because these powerful applications are integrated and managed on a single appliance. Robust management and reporting tools deliver ease of administration, flexibility, and control, as well as complete visibility into policy- and threat-related activities.

The Cisco Difference
Cisco IronPort email and web security products are high-performance, easy-to-use, and technically innovative solutions designed to secure organizations of all sizes. Built for security and deployed at the gateway to protect the world's most important networks, these products enable a powerful perimeter defense.

By taking advantage of the Cisco® Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) Center and global threat correlation, the Cisco IronPort line of appliances are smarter and faster. The advanced technology of these appliances enables organizations to improve their security and transparently protect users from the latest Internet threats.


Innovative Security Platform That Delivers Protection, Performance, and Accuracy
Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances help enterprises secure and control web traffic by offering multiple layers of malware defense on a single, integrated appliance. These layers of defense include Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters, multiple anti-malware scanning engines, and the Layer 4 Traffic Monitor, which detects non-port 80 malware activity. The Cisco IronPort S-Series is also capable of intelligent HTTPS decryption, so that all associated security and access policies can be applied to encrypted traffic.

A fast web proxy is the foundation for security and AUP enforcement. It allows for comprehensive content analysis, which is critical to accurately detect devious and rapidly mutating web-based malware. Powered by the proprietary Cisco IronPort AsyncOS operating system, the web proxy includes an enterprise-grade cache file system. This system efficiently returns cached web content through intelligent memory, disk, and kernel management-easily ensuring high performance and throughput for even the largest of networks.

Industry-Leading Acceptable Use Enforcement
Cisco IronPort Web Usage Controls, available on all Cisco IronPort S-Series Web Security Appliances, provide industry-leading visibility and protection from web use violations through a combination of list-based URL filtering and real-time dynamic categorization. This innovative solution is powered by the Cisco SIO Center, which uses global Internet traffic visibility and analysis to target categorization efforts and provide timely updates, maximizing URL list-based efficacy.

Cisco IronPort Web Usage Controls include both the category of the content and the application in use as part of the policy controls available to administrators. In addition to simply blocking or allowing applications by type or individually, administrators can apply deeper controls to particular application types. For instance, administrators can control the "safe search" settings on major search engines such as Google and Bing, as well as user-generated content sites such as YouTube or Flickr. Or limit bandwidth consumed by streaming-media applications to control congestion. Or allow chat through web instant messenger, but disallow file sharing.

Category, application, and protocol control are facilitated at a granular level, regardless of the protocol or application flowing through the network perimeter. Intelligent HTTPS decryption inspects encrypted data for security or AUP violations. The Cisco IronPort S-Series brings all of these capabilities together to provide a single touch point for administrators who want to control the data entering and leaving their networks.

Multilayer, Multivendor Malware Defense in Depth
The Cisco Security Intelligence Operation (SIO) is an advanced security infrastructure that provides threat detection, correlation, and mitigation to continuously provide the highest level of security for Cisco customers. Using a combination of threat telemetry, a team of global research engineers, and sophisticated security modeling, Cisco SIO enables fast and accurate protection, allowing customers to securely collaborate and embrace new technologies.

Cisco SIO is a sophisticated security ecosystem consisting of three components:

  • Cisco SensorBase: The world's largest threat-monitoring network captures global threat telemetry data from a massive footprint of Cisco devices.
  • Threat Operations Center: A global team of security analysts and automated systems extracts actionable intelligence.
  • Dynamic Updates: Real-time updates automatically delivered to security devices, along with best practice recommendations and other content, help customers track threats, analyze intelligence, and ultimately improve their organization's overall security posture.

The industry's first and most accurate web reputation filters provide a powerful outer layer of malware defense. Taking advantage of Cisco SIO, Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters analyze more than 200 different web traffic- and network-related parameters to accurately evaluate the trustworthiness of a URL or IP address.Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters examine every request the browser makes (from the initial HTML request to all subsequent data requests)-including live data, which may be fed from different domains. This comprehensive examination gives these filters a unique advantage over those of other vendors that reduce web reputation to a simple URL filtering category.

Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters are the industry's only reputation system to include botnet protection, URL outbreak detection, and exploit filtering-protecting users from exploits delivered through cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery, Structured Query Language (SQL) injections, or invisible iFrames. The power behind this revolutionary reputation technology comes from the pattern-based assessment techniques and per-object scanning capabilities of the system.

The Cisco IronPort anti-malware system gives the Cisco IronPort S-Series the distinction of being the first solution on the market to offer multiple anti-malware scanning engines on a single, integrated appliance. Moreover, an administrator can run these scanning engines simultaneously to enable greater protection against malware threats, with little-to-no performance degradation. This system takes advantage of the Cisco IronPort Dynamic Vectoring and Streaming (DVS) engine, and verdict engines from Sophos, Webroot, and McAfee, to provide best-of-class protection against the widest variety of web-based threats. These threats can range from adware, browser hijackers, phishing, and pharming attacks to more malicious threats such as rootkits, Trojan horses, worms, system monitors, and keyloggers.

These engines from Sophos, Webroot, and McAfee are fully integrated into the Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances. Sophos offers award-winning protection against known and unknown threats using its Genotype and Behavioral Genotype Protection. The Sophos Genotype virus-detection technology proactively blocks families of viruses, and Behavioral Genotype Protection automatically guards against zero-day threats by analyzing the behavior of the code before it executes-offering protection from new and existing viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and other adware. The Webroot scanning engine, backed by a threat research team at Webroot, performs both request- and response-side scans. Efficacy and coverage are strengthened by Phileas (the first automated spyware detection system), which identifies existing and new threats by intelligently scanning millions of sites daily. The McAfee scanning engine is backed by Avert Labs, the world's top threat research center. The McAfee database includes both virus and malware signatures and can be configured to perform both signature- and heuristics-based scanning.

The Cisco IronPort DVS engine was built to provide an integrated, single-appliance solution with multiple anti-malware scanning engines from different vendors. It employs sophisticated object parsing and streaming techniques to enforce AUPs and security features for web traffic. It simultaneously uses hardware optimizations (such as multicore scanning) to distribute these parallel operations and take full advantage of the system resources. The result is a tenfold improvement in performance when compared to first-generation scanning solutions.

HTTPS decryption enables the Cisco IronPort S-Series to enforce acceptable use and security policies over HTTPS-decrypted data. This solution is the first to use web reputation and URL filtering to make HTTPS decryption decisions. For example, a banking site can be bypassed for HTTPS decryption-unless its web reputation score is low, in which case the HTTPS connection is decrypted to scan content for malware, or blocked outright. With this ability, administrators no longer have to sacrifice security for privacy.

Even with the best defenses in place, it is inevitable that some threats will still be present in the network. That is why they S-Series includes an integrated Layer 4 Traffic Monitor which scans all ports at wire speed, detecting and blocking spyware phone-home activity. By tracking all 65,535 network ports, the Layer 4 Traffic Monitor effectively stops malware that attempts to bypass port 80. In addition, the Layer 4 Traffic Monitor can dynamically add IP addresses of known malware domains to its list of ports and IP addresses to detect and block. Using this dynamic discovery capability, the Layer 4 Traffic Monitor can monitor the movement of malware in real time-even as the malware host tries to avoid detection by migrating from one IP address to another.

Powerful Data Security Enforcement
Data security and data-loss prevention (DLP) empower organizations to take quick, easy steps to enforce common-sense data security policies; for example, preventing engineers from sending design files by webmail, blocking uploads by finance staff of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets larger than 100 KB, or preventing posts of content to blogs or social networking sites. These simple data security policies can be created for outbound traffic on HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP.

For enterprises that have already invested in special-purpose DLP systems, the Cisco IronPort S-Series offers an option to interoperate with DLP vendors through the Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP). By directing all outbound HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP traffic to the third-party DLP appliance, organizations can allow or block based on the third-party rules and policies. This scenario also enables deep content inspection for regulatory compliance and intellectual property protection, incident severity definition, case management, and performance optimization.

Native FTP protection allows Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances to provide complete visibility into FTP usage, enforcing acceptable use and data security policies and preventing malware infections. Acting as an FTP proxy, the Cisco IronPort S-Series enables organizations to exercise granular control, including: allow or block FTP connections, restrict users or groups, control uploads and downloads, and restrict sent and received files to certain types or sizes.

Additionally, Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances can score FTP servers with Web Reputation Filters (Cisco's industry-leading reputation service) and scan downloaded content for malware and spyware payloads with the Cisco IronPort Dynamic Vectoring and Streaming (DVS) Engine. Cisco FTP protection enforces simple, common-sense data security policies based on file metadata, user, URL category, and reputation. Alternately, FTP traffic can be passed to an external DLP solution for additional, more granular, scanning.

Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility for Borderless Networks
The Cisco Secure Borderless Network integrates security into the distributed network to address today's security requirements. This approach takes advantage of exceptional threat intelligence, a broad solution portfolio, and strategic partnerships and services to extend security to the right people, devices, and locations. The result is an architecture that enables customers to build solutions to meet evolving business challenges.

One important component of this architecture is Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility. This solution combines the next-generation remote access capabilities of Cisco AnyConnect with the Web security capabilities of the S-Series to provide mobile users with always-on secure access to their corporate resources, while still ensuring constant malware protection and policy enforcement.

The Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance includes support for Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility. Employees connecting with Cisco AnyConnect VPN client will experience an always-on, unobtrusive remote-access connection that extends web security enforcement to the mobile device. By taking advantage of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client, the Cisco Mobile User Security solution supports the widest range of desktops and mobile devices, helping ensure that web security continues to be enforced as users change devices that they use.

Single Sign-On to Software-as-a-Service Applications
In addition to your users moving outside the traditional enterprise security boundary, your critical business applications are increasingly being served from external servers. Enterprises are adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) at high rates, whether it is collaboration services such as Cisco WebEx meeting applications or online application suites such as Google Apps or Zoho.

A major challenge with adoption of these services is managing user authentication and entitlements. Administrators want to control which users have access to which services, and control their access rights within each service. They also want the ability to revoke access in a timely fashion when a user leaves the organization. Employees need to remember multiple usernames and passwords, a problem they often solve by writing down the credentials in clear text, compromising security. These problems become especially difficult as the SaaS services proliferate.

The Cisco IronPort solution includes a standards-based authentication mechanism to bring this situation under control. The appliance signs onto the target website on behalf of the employee, using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 standard. This process uses the employee's credentials and access rights stored in the corporate user directory which can be, either Active Directory or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Administrators retain control over access rights, and employees get a transparent experience by using the corporate username and password for accessing all applications.

When combined with Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility, this capability gives your employees anytime, anywhere access to corporate resources, whether hosted within the organization or on external servers-without sacrificing control or security. SaaS applications are accessible only through the corporate infrastructure, regardless of device or location.

Comprehensive Management and Reporting Capabilities
Cisco IronPort Web Security Manager provides a single, easy-to-understand view of all access and security policies configured on the appliance. Administrators manage all web-access policies (including URL filtering, time-based policies, reputation filtering, and malware filtering) from a single location. Additionally, administrators can mix and match client-based criteria (for example, client IP address, authenticated username, etc.) and destination-based criteria (for example, URL, URL category, proxy port, etc.) to flexibly determine when each set of policies is applied.

Cisco IronPort Web Security Monitor offers valuable insight into overall web activity, as well as threat identification and prevention, within corporate networks. These on- and off-box reports are designed to provide actionable information as well as historical trends. Enhanced reporting gives enterprises visibility into policy and security violations.

Multiple deployment modes enable flexibility within a corporate network. Modes include deployment as an explicit forward proxy for the network or transparent deployment of a Layer 4 switch or a Web Cache Communications Protocol (WCCP) router within the network. Each Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliance can be configured as a standalone proxy or it can coexist with other proxies (such as in a proxy hierarchy for conditional routing, failover, and load balancing).

Enterprise-grade Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) facilitates hands-off monitoring and alerting for key-system metrics including hardware, performance, and availability. Support for SNMPv1, 2, and 3, along with a comprehensive enterprise-class alert engine, helps ensure oversight for all system parameters-including hardware, security, performance, and availability.

Integrated authentication through standard directories (such as LDAP or Active Directory) and the ability to implement multiple authentication schemes (such as Windows NT LAN Manager [NTLM] or Basic lets enterprises deploy the Cisco IronPort S-Series transparently, while taking advantage of preexisting authentication and access-control policies within their networks. Features such as multirealm authentication (which enables authentication against multiple authentication domains) provide flexible failover scenarios and multiorganization deployments.

Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances also enable coaching to allow the organization to educate employees on corporate acceptable use and security policies, restricted guest access for visitors, and reauthentication for privilege override in real time. Given the diversity of ways in which group information is stored in user directories, the Cisco IronPort S-Series supports obtaining group information from a group object, as well as from an attribute in the user's profile. These features offer increased flexibility and richness in policy and authentication to meet the requirements of sophisticated enterprises.

Extensive logging allows enterprises to keep track of all web traffic, benign and malware-related. Standard log formats include Apache, Squid-detailed-along with the ability to specify custom log formats consistent with enterprise logging policies. Administrators can enable, disable, and set log subscriptions, or set log rollover and size limits based on log types.

In addition to the Apache and Squid log file formats, the Cisco IronPort S-Series supports the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)-standard Extended Log File Format (ELFF). This format allows administrators to use many third-party log analyzer tools, and also enables the generation of customized logs for various audiences; for example, separate logs for IT, human resources, and top management-each with a customized set of logging fields.


  • Single Appliance Security and Control: The Cisco IronPort S-Series offers a single appliance solution to secure and control the three greatest web traffic risks facing enterprise networks: security risks, resource risks, and compliance risks.
  • Mitigation of Malware Risks and Costs: With malware infecting approximately 75 percent of corporate desktops, overhead for managing infected desktops, ensuring minimal downtime to employees, and minimizing the risk of information leakage is considerable.
  • Reduced Administrative Costs: By stopping these threats at the network perimeter with Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances, enterprises can significantly reduce the administrative costs, prevent attacker phone-home activity on networks, reduce support calls, enhance worker productivity, and also eliminate the business exposure that accompanies these threats.
  • Complete, Accurate Protection: Cisco IronPort S-Series appliances are designed from the beginning to address the broadest range of web-based malware threats, including those from the use of FTP and dynamic Web 2.0 sites. A multilayered defense that includes Cisco Security Intelligence Operations, Cisco IronPort Web Usage Controls, Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters, and Cisco IronPort DVS technology (with multiple anti-malware scanning engines running simultaneously) helps ensure industry-leading accuracy.

    This multilayered protection is based on a comprehensive content application layer inspection, as well as network layer pattern detection, checking both inbound and outbound activities. These innovations make the Cisco IronPort S-Series one of the industry's most secure web gateways.
  • Enforcement of Acceptable Use Policies: By implementing acceptable use web policies, enterprises can both conserve resources for work-related web usage and inform employees to help shape web access behavior over time. Enterprises can increase the amount of time that employees spend on business-oriented activities, reducing misuse of enterprise networks and bandwidth.
  • Simplified Data Security: The data-loss problem extends well beyond malware. Employees can easily use webmail to send a message including proprietary information, post confidential data on social networks and blogs, or transfer financial documents over FTP to a server outside the corporate network. Making sure that sensitive data does not leave the corporate boundary-while allowing employees to take advantage of the full power of the Internet-is an important and challenging problem to solve.

    Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances enable organizations to take quick, easy steps to enforce common-sense data security policies for outbound traffic on HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP, as well as enabling simple interoperability with major dedicated DLP solutions.
  • Mobile Security Across Borderless Networks: The Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility solution supports a wide range of desktops and mobile devices, helping ensure that web security continues to be enforced as employees change which devices they use. By using a standardized security solution for employees whether they are in the office or mobile, IT can also streamline security operations for a compelling TCO.
  • SaaS Access Controls: The Cisco IronPort solution uses a standards-based authentication mechanism to bring sign-on under the control of your enterprise. Taking advantage of the employee credentials and access rights stored in the corporate user directory which can be, either Active Directory or LDAP, administrators retain control over access rights, and employees get a transparent experience using their corporate username and password for accessing all applications.
  • Reporting Visibility: The Cisco IronPort S-Series appliances deliver real-time and historical security information, allowing administrators to quickly understand web traffic activity. Real-time reports let administrators identify and track factors such as policy and security violations as they occur. Historical reports allow administrators to identify trends and report on efficacy and return on investment (ROI).
  • Enterprise-Scale Performance: Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances scale to meet the unique scanning needs of web traffic, thereby helping ensure that the employee's experience is maintained. Cisco offers industry-leading performance through its proprietary Cisco IronPort AsyncOS platform, an enterprise-grade web proxy and cache file system as well as an intelligent, multicore engine for rapid content scanning. Consequently, the Cisco IronPort S-Series is a platform that can address the capacity requirements of even the largest of enterprises.
  • Low TCO: Traditional solutions typically require multiple appliances or servers to protect against security, resource, and compliance risks. Unlike other solutions, the Cisco IronPort S-Series provides a single platform that contains a complete, in-depth defense-along with all the necessary management tools-significantly reducing initial and ongoing TCO.
  • Reduced Administrative Overhead: Designed to minimize administrative overhead, Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances offer easy setup and management with an intuitive GUI, support for automated updates, and comprehensive monitoring and alerting. The solution is also easy to deploy and configure to match corporate-specific policies.

Product Line

The Cisco IronPort web security product line address issues faced by organizations ranging from small businesses to the global 2000.

  • Cisco IronPort S670: Suggested for organizations above 10,000 users.
  • Cisco IronPort S370: Recommended for organizations with 1,000 to 10,000 users.
  • Cisco IronPort S160: Designed for small businesses and organizations with up to 1,000 users.


The Ultimate Web Security System
The challenge of securing and controlling enterprise web traffic is continually growing and changing. The security risk is real, with web-based malware posing a rapidly growing threat that is responsible for significant corporate downtime, productivity loss, and resource strain on IT infrastructure. Enterprises need control to understand when, where, and how their employees are using the web. Additionally, an enterprise runs the risk of violating compliance and data privacy regulations if its networks are compromised. The legal exposure as a result of these violations comes at a significant cost. Malware infections also risk exposing an organization's business-critical data and intellectual property assets.

The best place to control and protect against these risks posed by web traffic is right at the gateway. The Cisco IronPort S-Series Web Security Appliance provides multiple layers of defense against these risks, both horizontally (at the application layer) and vertically (up the protocol stack). Cisco IronPort Web Usage Controls enforce AUP, while Cisco Security Intelligence Operations, Cisco IronPort Web Reputation Filters, and the Cisco IronPort Anti-Malware System-with simultaneous scanning by Sophos, Webroot, and McAfee for greater efficacy-provide protection against web-based malware.

The Cisco IronPort S-Series also has comprehensive coverage for the three most common protocols carrying business information across the boundary and over the Internet: HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP. Finally, the Layer 4 Traffic Monitor detects and blocks phone-home malware activity that attempts to circumvent port 80 security features. With threats becoming more complex and sophisticated, Cisco IronPort S-Series appliances offer one of the industry's most comprehensive web security solutions while also ensuring enterprise-class performance.