Designing a Successful Domain Name System (DNS) Strategy

 

DNS: The Internet Linchpin

In the early days of the Internet, users trying to reach another host on the network were required to type in lengthy IP number strings (e.g., 216.27.61.137). To simplify this process, a flat file was devised that paired each IP address with a comparatively easy-to-remember common language address (e.g., SRI-NIC.ARPA). By the late 1980s, this flat file had evolved to the hierarchical Domain Name System (DNS) we use today—a system that is open, distributed, and expands as users, enterprises and domains appear on the network.

DNS works very well—so well, in fact, that most users are never aware of it. Users expect that when they type in a URL or e-mail address, they will be connected to the correct Web site or e-mail box. Security may top the list of enterprise concerns, but too often the link between security vulnerability and DNS is not understood. Enterprises must acknowledge the importance of DNS to the operation of the Internet and, consequently, to any company that uses the Internet for sales, service, marketing or logistics.

As the Internet expands in terms of users, devices and traffic, so does the opportunity for DNS mayhem—whether malicious (hacking), aggravating (spam) or illegal (accessing sites containing content that violates national law and/or regulatory mandates). Enterprises and ISPs must protect their users and networks—sometimes from the hacker in the basement, but increasingly from organized crime and entire governments.

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