We’re excited to announce the availability of the Cisco Security Connector app for iOS, a first of its kind enterprise security solution for iPhone and iPad. Working with Apple, our team of engineers used new platform capabilities and APIs embedded into iOS 11 to deliver the deepest visibility and control for enterprise-owned iOS devices.

So how does the app work in the real world? Let’s walk through a scenario:

Meet Ian

Ian is an IT manager for a large hospital, in charge of all desktop, laptop, and mobile endpoints. The hospital provides the nurses, doctors, and other staff with supervised iOS devices. He, and the hospital’s CISO, love that Apple is secure by design.

However, the supervised iOS devices that Ian manages don’t always stay on the hospital network. The hospital provides an in-home care service, which means the nurses and doctors connect to cellular and other Wi-Fi networks.

Initially, Ian evaluated a VPN and a global HTTP proxy. Neither solution was designed to solve Ian’s problems and both provided a poor experience for users.   

Enter the Cisco Security Connecter

Between his own frustrations and the piling complaints from users, Ian needed a solution that could provide  him with visibility and control and his users with a zero-touch experience.

The solution? You guessed it, the Cisco Security Connecter. This single app is powered by Cisco Umbrella and Clarity. Umbrella is a secure internet gateway that provides the first line of defense against threats on the internet wherever users go. Clarity is a component of Cisco AMP for Endpoints, which gives insight into all network traffic — even HTTPS URLs without decryption — generated by the user, applications, and device.

Deploying the app

Ian used the Meraki Systems Manager to deploy the app because of its ability to deliver a seamless end-to-end experience.

Thanks to the unique bi-directional connection between Systems Manager and Umbrella and Clarity, policies are automatically pulled from the Umbrella and Clarity (AMP) dashboards. With the app and the configurations ready to go, Systems Manager installs the Cisco Security Connector app and configurations onto the supervised iOS devices that it has automatically enrolled. This process happens behind the scenes without any end-user interaction.

The iOS devices then automatically register themselves to the Umbrella dashboard and Clarity (AMP) dashboards belonging to Ian’s organization and the devices are immediately enrolled.

Enabling the app functions

Ian only has to provision a single app, but it supports two extensions –– Umbrella and Clarity. Both extensions work anywhere –– on and off of the hospital’s network. This includes cellular networks. Ian was happy he was able to leverage the hospital’s existing investment in Umbrella and AMP for Endpoints.

How it works: Umbrella

All app or user-initiated network requests are intercepted by the Umbrella app extension. All internet domain requests are forwarded and resolved by the Umbrella global network. All intranet (i.e. internal) domain requests are forwarded and resolved by the local authoritative DNS server. Umbrella delivers both DNS-layer encryption and enforcement, plus it uses an intelligent proxy for customizable URL and file inspection of risky domains. In real-time, Ian sees these requests in the Umbrella dashboard.

This gives Ian real-time visibility and control for where users go on the internet. His users are defended against phishing attacks and accidental browsing to bad sites. Plus, Umbrella protects against data exfiltration to malicious destinations and encrypts internet (DNS) requests.

How it works: Clarity

All Internet or intranet flows are audited by the Clarity app extension.

Clarity only forwards each flows’ metadata to the AMP cloud. These app-based flows are correlated in a similar, but different, fashion to file-based trajectories. Ian can then see the results that are reported in the AMP console he uses every day.

Now, Ian is able to audit all traffic flows generated by iOS devices, apps, and system processes before encryption to gain URL-level granularity. Clarity correlates traffic flows to gain insights per app or device; which helps Ian and the security team facilitate incident investigations. And it surfaces the most and least used apps across the organization, which helps Ian identify policy issues.

It’s a win-win-win for Ian. He gains a simple solution that provides him the necessary visibility and control, his users are happy and the hospital stays safe.

Enable business, protect users

With a unified architecture across Meraki Systems Manager, Umbrella, and Clarity, your organization gains simple and effective visibility and control. Visit the Cisco Security Connecter page to see how you can start using the app.


Kevin Rollinson

Product Marketing Manager

Security - Cisco Umbrella