Many of you may have heard about DNS firewalls, but to better understand how they can benefit your business, you first need to understand how DNS works. DNS, or domain name system, servers are the internet's directory assistants—matching hostnames to their equivalent IP addresses. For example, when you type www.icorps.com into your browser, your query goes to a DNS server which then provides the IP address. So, where do firewalls fit in?
DNS firewalls have actually been around for 20 years but are now being implemented to safeguard old technology. With DNS firewalls, when you send a query the DNS server will evaluate the hostname, IP address, and compare it against a list of known threats. If it's safe, the DNS will return the address. If a threat is detected, the DNS server will redirect you to a verified landing page. The principle behind DNS security is to block the problem before it has the chance to reach you. DNS firewalls can play an enormous benefit to end-users, from small businesses to enterprises to individuals. Here are some of the business challenges that DNS firewalls can help solve:
- For organizations with many offices, they need a single place to monitor threats and their teams' behavior. DNS firewalls allow you to do so.
- All DNS traffic is pointed toward a specific location, meaning it's logged and tracked. Not only do you get to see where URLs are going, but you can also block any that pose potential threats.
- Consider remote workers - one of the biggest threats today is the mobile employee. You don't know where they are working from, what threats they may be encountering, and what their surfing habits entail. Sure, you can provide a VPN to secure communication from point a to b, but what are they doing on that corporate laptop? By using a DNS firewall, you can mitigate threats and control the content being accessed.
- This also applies to the home user. DNS firewalls add another layer to defense-in-depth security. By having a DNS firewall on your browser, you block a lot of threats before they can even reach you. Through unified threat management, you can avoid many threats such as malware, ransomware, system hijacking, and compromised data security.
- Regarding data privacy, because DNS resolves hostnames to IP addresses, your internet service provider knows every website you visit. They capture the information, aggregate it, and in most cases resell. On an enterprise level, a DNS service is capturing and logging all the information that your employees are using. Google, for example, offers free DNS services. They're capturing the traffic, know where it's coming from, and what the content is. Now they can target marketing information and services, then resell that to other vendors. This has become so systemic, that new regulations are looking to prevent this behavior, or properly inform users. In most cases, no one knows this is happening. A benefit of using a DNS firewall is that most vendors who offer the service do not capture your traffic. So, you get the benefit of security and threat management in the cloud and privacy.
By leveraging a firewall, you also secure your DNS from external attacks such as DDoS, and cache poisoning that misdirects users to malicious sites. They are simple to implement and offer a great overall value when compared to the cost of not using them. For more information about securing your network with a DNS firewall, reach out to iCorps for a free consultation.