Cisco Meraki MXs allow content filtering for billions of URLs (full, cloud-based coverage) or for millions of top sites in each blockable category (optimal, cached performance).
If you’re a K-12 educational organization, we debuted several useful features to help protect your network back in April. One of these is the ability to choose the overall reach of content filtering on your MX security appliance. In essence, you can choose to filter top sites in a given blockable category, or you can choose to filter the entire category list.
Cisco Meraki collaborates with Webroot BrightCloud for best-in-class content filtering on our security appliances (we subscribe to all of their blockable categories). Enabling “Top Sites only” in the Content Filtering dashboard page will cause your MX to download and cache a database of top URLs from BrightCloud. The MX will check each website request against this local database, filtering if required. This gives you rapid, in-box filtering with a reasonable trade-off in URL coverage.
Easily choose the scope of content filtering on your Cisco Meraki MX.
If you choose to filter the full category list, the MX will initially check each website request against its cached database as before, but unmatched URLs will prompt the MX to make a dynamic lookup to the Cloud. This effectively allows your MX to filter billions of URLs. Although there will be some initial latency with cloud-based lookups, the MX caches the results, speeding future queries. This speed boost comes because web browsing is often habitual (people tend to view a subset of commonly-accessed sites), so after some initial latency common sites will be rapidly served to end users via the cache.
As always, you can also manually specify specific URLs and URL patterns to whitelist or block, regardless of which category list size you prefer.