Case Study

UK's Cambridge Helpdesk Adds Layer Of Client Security With Secure DNS Solution


Cambridge Helpdesk delivers a range of IT and HR solutions to companies all over the UK. Providing IT support in Cambridge and surrounding areas since 2006, the company’s management staff each have over 20 years of experience. Cambridge Helpdesk focuses on small businesses with 1 to 50 staff (although it also supports other companies with over 300 staff), and takes great pride in maintaining cordial, long-term relationships with its clients.

The Challenge

Like many MSPs around the world, Cambridge Helpdesk was becoming more concerned about the rapid proliferation of ransomware threats in today’s security landscape. This concern was growing even more acute because Cambridge Helpdesk’s endpoint security solutions at the time (ESET and Bitdefender) were providing little or no protection against the current ransomware onslaught.

In addition, Cambridge Helpdesk recognized the value of incorporating DNS protection into the suite of security services it offers its customers. The ability to block cyberthreats before they penetrate their clients’ networks was certainly primary, but Cambridge Helpdesk also required a DNS security solution that was cost-effective and easily integrated with their other endpointprotection tools.

Dissatisfied with their current solutions, Cambridge Helpdesk began a comprehensive evaluation process of endpoint protection products from Barkly, Bitdefender, ESET, Kaspersky, F-Secure, Malwarebytes, Sophos, and Webroot. When the process was completed, the results were clear: According to Stuart Brown, Technical Director of Cambridge Helpdesk, “Webroot beat all of them, across all tests.”

In addition to finding Webroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection demonstrably superior to its competitors, Brown and his IT team also compared Webroot SecureAnywhere® DNS Protection with other DNS security offerings that included Cisco Umbrella, OpenDNS, OpenDNS Family, and Quad9. Once again, Cambridge Helpdesk concluded that Webroot was the most compelling solution.

The Solution

Endpoint Protection When asked to explain what set Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection apart from competing offerings, Brown began by listing a variety of factors he noted during the installation and testing process:

  • Excellent pre-sales customer support
  • Outstanding support during the testing phase
  • Extra levels of protection Cambridge Helpdesk didn’t see with other products
  • Tiny install file and footprint
  • Easy deployment

The latter two factors were particularly important to Brown, who observed, “Sophos, for example, has a set of multiple install files (over 200MB) and requires a huge amount of time to set up and deploy.”

Brown also lauded Webroot’s compatibility with other AV solutions: “We love being able to deploy Webroot alongside an existing product and then remove the latter. Most vendors require you to uninstall their product (leaving the device vulnerable for a short time) before deploying the new program. Webroot is incredibly easy to deploy, though unfortunately removing other security products isn’t so simple. We can deploy Webroot in under a minute, but sometimes spend half an hour removing a customer’s previous product such as McAfee or Sophos.”

He went on to describe several key Webroot operational features and benefits:

  • Visual overview of all devices
    “We have far greater visibility into any issues, and as a result we can quickly contact a client to offer support.”
  • Central management via Global Site Manager
    “As an MSP, this is very important and something ESET didn’t offer. We did have a small amount of global management capabilities with Bitdefender via our Solarwinds RMM, but not much.”
  • Notification of infections/issues
    “The technical feeds within the management console are also really useful to help us keep up to date with any security issues.”
  • Multi-platform protection
    “This is important as we have both Windows and Mac customers.”

Webroot is competitively priced and requires minimal expenditures for deployment and management, which should translate into improved profitability and margins for Cambridge Helpdesk. Additionally, the overall reduction in infection rates due to Webroot protection means Cambridge Helpdesk won’t have to devote as many man-hours to remediation and other lost productivity costs.

DNS Protection

Brown was similarly impressed by Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS Protection. Its management console is directly integrated into the Global Site Manager endpoint security console, so DNS Protection simply appears as a separate option alongside each customer site. By filling in a few client and site IP address details and then performing an easy command line service validation test, the service is live and operational right away.

DNS Protection is complemented by a feature in Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection known as Web Threat Shield. Web Threat Shield helps Business Endpoint Protection stop malware by preventing users from browsing malicious websites (it also incorporates real-time anti-phishing). DNS Protection extends this functionality out to the network perimeter, protecting against calls to malicious domains across the network, regardless of the device being used.

Powered by Webroot’s BrightCloud Threat Intelligence, DNS Protection offers unique real-time protection against polymorphic threats, as well as phishing and other high-risk domains. BrightCloud Threat Intelligence is an advanced, cloud-based security platform enhanced by a contextual analysis engine to create a deeper insight into today’s threat landscape. It does so by integrating billions of pieces of information from millions of sensors to create the world’s largest threat detection net, providing proactive protection against both known and never-before-seen attacks.

By deploying DNS Protection’s cloud-based, domain layer security to shield their users externally, rather than relying completely on endpoint security, Cambridge Helpdesk can ensure that most internet threats are contained before they invade their clients’ networks. In addition to the obvious advantages of a cleaner network, Cambridge Helpdesk’s implementation of DNS Protection will yield other key benefits:

  • Better Network Speeds
    By blocking undesirable traffic (such as media streaming and other unwanted or malicious content) at the domain layer, Cambridge Helpdesk can drastically improve customers’ network bandwidth.
  • Higher Overall Malware Prevention Efficacy
    The Webroot Threat Intelligence Platform helps block user traffic to malicious and other undesirable websites, enabling Cambridge Helpdesk to significantly reduce the likelihood that customers’ endpoints and networks will become infected; up to a 90% decrease in malware infections is possible.
  • Greater Customer Satisfaction
    With lower infection rates and fewer online distractions, thanks to Webroot’s flexible policy management, Cambridge Helpdesk’s customers will enjoy significant boosts in employee productivity. They’ll also gain immediate visibility into overall web usage and threats that DNS Protection has prevented.


Summarizing how Webroot has benefitted his overall business, Brown simply stated, “We feel safer in the knowledge that we have moved to a better class of protection. We know we’ve done the right thing for our customers by carrying out a review and making the switch to Webroot. Clients trust us to provide the best solution and to keep reviewing the options out there. This switch hasn’t cost them anything over their previous products, but they have gained as a result.”

He continued, “As a guestimate, I would say we’ve reduced our clients’ rate of infection by 25% where they were using ESET and Bitdefender, and by 75% where they were using McAfee or Windows Defender.”

In a candid observation that will ring true for every MSP, Brown acknowledged, “Endpoint protection is a tough area to make much of a margin, so ensuring our clients are getting the best value is important to us. The peace of mind that Webroot gives us is ultimately the most important factor.” He then explained how Webroot can also contribute to Cambridge Helpdesk’s bottom line:

“The ease of deployment is really where we make any money. The quicker we can deploy any new product, the better it is for us and the less impact it will have on our clients’ staff. And Webroot is so easy to set up.”

Brown concluded by highlighting his enthusiasm for Webroot DNS Protection: “The main benefit is helping to protect the client from malware, though of course it also can reduce time wasted by the client’s users browsing non-work-related sites. The significance of DNS protection is often overlooked, but it’s actually an essential component in any sized network. It’s important to have ‘fast, reliable DNS’ but it’s absolutely crucial to have ‘secure DNS.’”