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Protecting your enterprise network

Craig Sanderson, Senior Director of Product Management (Security), Infoblox | March 22, 2016
Craig Sanderson of Infoblox emphasises that more robust DNS and improved network management is needed to combat cyberattacks.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

In the last few years, protecting business assets has become much more difficult as cybercriminals continue to evolve their attacks to evade IT defences. When you add into the mix employee-owned mobile devices and cloud-based services that require networks to be more dynamic, traditional network security tools and practices are no longer enough to ensure protection. Nowadays, businesses are also coping with more destructive threats designed to steal competitive information and damage companies in search of profit - or even political advantage.

According to a 2015 cyberattacks report, businesses and governments in Southeast Asia are common targets for cybercriminals. In the first half of 2015, 29% of organisations in the region were targets for advanced cyber-attacks. Thailand, and the Philippines suffered the hardest hit, with 40% and 39% of observed organisations respectively, exposed to cyber-attacks.

Studies showed that companies are attacked at an average of 2 million times a week. Additionally, the average cost of a single, successful data breach is estimated at US$300,000. This highlights that threats are real, the costs are high, and no company is immune to this.

Clearly, today's evolving threat landscape requires enterprise IT not to just "sit tight" in its security infrastructure. Enterprise IT needs additional layers of security for the network itself - including more powerful network management tools and more robust network infrastructure. Domain Name Servers (DNS), in particular, need to be secured with a hardened operating system and hardware to reduce hacking.

A new kind of threat

Over the last few years, three factors have combined to attract organised criminal elements to hacking:

  1. There's real money to be made -- in several different ways.
  2. There's a very low risk of getting caught.
  3. There are readily-available hacking tools that anyone can modify to suit their purposes.

Today, profit-oriented criminals use infected computers to create bot-nets that they "rent" out to anyone who wants to launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. Criminal groups also sell and customise hacking kits with source code for various kinds of malware that make it easy for almost anyone to launch attacks.

To address these threats and challenges, enterprise IT practitioners need:

1. Robust, scalable, and redundant DNS infrastructure to resist security threats and provide greater resiliency against attacks

To properly protect the core corporate network services, DNS, DHCP (the Dynamic Hardware Configuration Protocol) and IP address management should be integrated on a single platform, with both hardware and software designed together to minimise security vulnerabilities.

On the hardware side, that means enabling DNS servers to handle DDoS floods, traffic-rate limiting, and load distribution, as well as making it easier to control access by limiting the number of ports that users can connect to.


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