In a world where technology is getting smarter, so are cyber-criminals and their methods of exploitation. If there’s such a thing as the Achilles heel of the internet, then DNS fits the bill.
What is DNS and how it works
DNS stands for Domain Name System, which translates domain web addresses into their corresponding IP addresses. Every time you enter a web address a DNS query is carried out which searches the DNS records and matches it the appropriate IP addresses - a string of numbers - in order to display the correct content. DNS acts like a phonebook, or even a contact list in your phone, where all you need to do is type or select a name and the system will do the rest. After all, it’s a lot easier for us humans to remember words than long lists of numbers, so DNS is playing a pivotal role behind the scenes.
Why DNS management is becoming imperative
DNS has been a fundamental function of the internet since its inception. However, it’s original design didn’t factor in security parameters. Now, over 30 years on, with the internet’s magnificent journey of growth that has changed the world for good, there have also been many tales of cyber exploitation - from data breaches involving malware or phishing to malicious attacks against global corporations.
After all, when you consider that DNS requests pass through firewalls without inspection, it’s no wonder that it’s a distinctive ingredient in a hacker’s cookbook. And with the rapid advancement of smart technology, IoT, and AI means huge swaths of data - “big data” - are now being handled, it’s high time that DNS catches the attention of business operating in the cyber world.
Thanks to the rise of cloud solutions, which now eliminate much of the financial burden associated with the hardware and maintenance responsibility of “in-house” systems, outsourcing to third-party providers has become a much more attractive option.
Key advantages of having a DNS provider
1. Tougher security
Today, DDoS attacks - Distributed Denial-of-Service - are all too common. This type of attack aims to make a network crash and become unavailable by spoofing DNS queries. It’s when these events occur that having a DNS provider can be a life saver and with features like filtering, rate limiting and blocking, attacks can even be prevented before they cause any damage.
Another type of attack, known as ”DNS cache poisoning” work by diverting users to malicious sites. Hackers can tamper with the DNS records by placing false addresses within the records so when a user requests to visit a certain website, the DNS provides them with a different IP address. This takes the victim to a completely different site, where they can be deceived into providing passwords or end up with malware on their machine.
Even having more than one DNS server can be a life saver and helps to avoid having one single point of failure. A good indicator of a top-notch provider is if they offer both primary and secondary DNS servers, so if one fails, the second server can kick in to handle the DNS queries.
A DNS provider will be undoubtedly safer than relying on your ISP’s DNS service. When it comes to internal communications between staff, businesses can further tighten their internal security by utilizing a VPN service which provides not only encrypted internet traffic but also offers DNS protection to prevent snooping of data.
2. Increased website speed and accessibility
A fast DNS provider can help decrease the time it takes to lookup DNS queries. It can mean the difference between a user staying or leaving. They help to ensure that users can access your website anywhere, anytime, especially if your web traffic increases or if your web service becomes the target of an attack.
Dedicated DNS providers adequately allocates servers closer to a user’s location, giving stable, uncompromised access to online services in any territory.
DNS providers can assist in the event of an attack by proxying internet traffic through their network while they block any DNS queries that they suspect are from hackers.
One way to ultimately future-proof your business is to ensure that your IT infrastructure can handle the anticipated growth of internet traffic from customers and clients. It’s not too uncommon for online services to suddenly find themselves overwhelmed with an influx of traffic, only for operations to come to a halt before realizing it’s time for an upgrade.
DNS providers will often implement load-balancing which works alleviate server loads during times of high traffic and is therefore ready for that much welcomed growth in traffic from customers.
4. Expert support and maintenance
Gone are the days where you have to do everything yourself. With cloud DNS making the reliance on physically maintaining and upgrading a company’s “in-house” system, it also means there’s less concern for infrastructure gradually going out-of-date. All problems can be solved by a dedicated team which takes matters out of your hands.
5. Real time analytics and machine learning
There has been an increase of interest and adoption of tools consisting of real-time analytics and even machine learning – i.e. business intelligence. All of which can be integrated within cloud services to enhance the safeguarding day-to-day operations from sophisticated threats.
Is the sudden increase in traffic genuine? Where do the DNS requests originate?
Here lies the ultimate method to future-proof every business’ online operations, and it’s also a true marker of a reliable cloud based DNS provider. Incorporating such tools will keep businesses on par with the demand from rapidly developing new and diverse technologies, which constantly presents challenges in the way information is exchanged.
So, deciding to outsource your DNS needs is more than just about balancing the books. Businesses need their web services to be available, secure, reliable with a fast performance. A reliable DNS provider can help tick all the boxes, which in the end results in clients and customers receive the best experience when interacting with your company.