How to Use Content Filtering on Meraki MX Devices?

How Cisco Meraki Simplifies IT Management Through Cloud Networking
June 26, 2024

Content filtering is a critical aspect of network security that helps organizations manage and control the type of content accessible through their networks. With the rise of online threats and inappropriate web content, having robust content filtering solutions is more important than ever. Cisco Meraki MX devices offer advanced content filtering features, making them a popular choice for businesses seeking to enhance their network security.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to use content filtering on Meraki MX devices. We will explore what content filtering is, its importance in network security, and the specific features available on Meraki MX devices. Additionally, we will explore the integrations with Cisco Umbrella and Bright Cloud and provide a step-by-step guide to setting up content filtering on these devices.

What Is Content Filtering?

Content filtering is a security measure that restricts or controls the content an internet user can access, typically by blocking websites or specific types of content that are deemed inappropriate or harmful. It operates by categorizing URLs and filtering them based on predefined policies. This helps organizations prevent access to malicious sites, reduce the risk of cyber threats, and ensure compliance with company policies.

Meraki content filtering and Meraki URL filtering are two key components of this process. These features allow administrators to create customized filtering rules based on various categories of URLs, such as adult content, gambling, or social media. 

Its Importance in Network Security

The importance of content filtering in network security cannot be overstated. It serves as a first line of defense against cyber threats by blocking access to malicious websites that could potentially compromise the network. This is particularly crucial for organizations that handle sensitive data, as it helps prevent data breaches and other security incidents.

Additionally, content filtering aids in enforcing company policies regarding internet usage. By restricting access to non-work-related or inappropriate content, organizations can boost employee productivity and maintain a professional environment. Meraki content filtering and Meraki URL filtering provide the necessary tools to implement these controls effectively.

Content Filtering Features Available on Cisco Meraki MX Devices

Content Filtering Features Available on Cisco Meraki MX Devices

Cisco Meraki MX devices come equipped with a range of powerful content-filtering features designed to enhance network security and manage user access. One of the key features is customizable content filtering, which allows administrators to create specific filtering rules based on categories of URLs. This means that different groups within the organization can have tailored access levels.

Another notable feature is cloud-based content filtering, which uses extensive knowledge of the network and category information sources to provide real-time updates and protection. This ensures that the filtering solution is always up-to-date with the latest threats and categories.

Meraki MX devices also offer DNS-based filtering, which helps in reducing latency and improving the user experience. By resolving DNS requests through the Meraki dashboard, the filtering process becomes more efficient and less resource-intensive. This can lead to better performance and faster internet speeds for the entire network.

In addition to these features, Meraki content filtering includes advanced security measures such as group-based policies and user browsing reports. These tools provide administrators with detailed insights into user activity and allow for the creation of targeted policies that address specific security needs. 

Cisco Umbrella Integration

Cisco Umbrella integration with Meraki MX devices provides an additional layer of security through cloud-based content filtering. This integration enhances the existing filtering capabilities by leveraging Cisco’s extensive threat intelligence network.

With Cisco Umbrella, administrators can implement DNS-layer security that blocks threats before they reach the network. This proactive approach helps in preventing malware infections, phishing attacks, and other cyber threats, ensuring that the network remains secure at all times. The integration also allows for seamless management through the Cisco Meraki dashboard.

Furthermore, Cisco Umbrella offers advanced reporting and analytics features that give administrators deeper insights into network activity. These user browsing reports help in identifying potential security risks and enforcing appropriate policies.

Bright Cloud Integration

Bright Cloud integration with Meraki MX devices brings in another layer of advanced security through its content filtering categorization. Bright Cloud, known for its extensive database of categorized URLs, enhances the filtering capabilities by providing up-to-date and accurate filtering information.

The integration uses Bright Cloud’s intelligence service to categorize and filter web content based on various criteria. This helps in blocking inappropriate or harmful content more effectively, ensuring that users access only safe and relevant websites. 

Administrators can manage Bright Cloud’s content filtering features directly through the Meraki dashboard. This seamless integration simplifies the process of setting up and managing filtering policies. This makes it easier for organizations to implement and maintain robust content-filtering solutions across their entire network.

Setting Up Content Filtering on Meraki MX Devices

Setting Up Content Filtering on Meraki MX Devices

Setting up content filtering on Meraki MX devices is a straightforward process that can be completed through the Meraki dashboard. Follow these steps to configure content filtering:

  1. Log in to the Meraki Dashboard: Access the Meraki dashboard using your administrator credentials.
  2. Select Your Network: Choose the network you want to configure from the list of available networks.
  3. Navigate to Security & SD-WAN: Go to the ‘Security & SD-WAN’ section in the left-hand menu.
  4. Click on Content Filtering: Under the ‘Security & SD-WAN’ menu, select ‘Content Filtering.’
  5. Enable Content Filtering: Toggle the switch to enable content filtering for your network.
  6. Choose Filtering Categories: Select the categories of URLs you want to block from the provided list. You can choose multiple categories to create comprehensive filtering rules.
  7. Customize Filtering Rules: If needed, create custom filtering rules by adding specific URLs or domains to the allow or block list.
  8. Apply Group-Based Policies: Set up group-based policies to apply different filtering rules to different groups within your organization.
  9. Save Changes: After configuring your content filtering settings, click ‘Save Changes’ to apply the new rules to your network.


Implementing content filtering on Cisco Meraki MX devices is a vital step towards ensuring robust network security and maintaining a productive, compliant environment. With advanced features like customizable content filtering, DNS-based filtering, and integrations with Cisco Umbrella and Bright Cloud, Meraki MX devices offer comprehensive protection against online threats and inappropriate content. Use the power of Meraki content filtering and Meraki URL filtering to protect your organization’s network and ensure a safe browsing experience for all users.