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GCN : December 2013
GCN DECEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM 29 When Aspen, Colo., outsourced Domain Name Services for its network to a cloud-based platform offered by OpenDNS, it not only improved reliability of the service but also enabled bet- ter security as well by letting the company handle enforcement of Web policy. The move began about five years ago when the city, which also provides IT services for the surrounding Pitkin County, be- gan looking for an alternative to its existing DNS provider, said John Sobieralski, network coordi- nator for the city and county. "We were having trouble with our ISP's name servers going down," Sobieralski said. "We wanted a more reliable service than they offered." OpenDNS provided the reli- ability, and DNS requests from the Aspen network now are di- rected to that platform. Since the city moved earlier this year to the company's Enterprise Insights service, which also includes site blocking and policy enforce- ment, browser infections have essentially disappeared within its network. OpenDNS is not a com- plete enterprise security solution, Sobieralski said. "It is one layer of security." But it has saved money and freed up manpower while im- proving security. OpenDNS provides what it calls an infrastructure security platform, hosted in 20 data cen- ters located around the world. Customers' DNS requests are pointed at the platform for reso- lution, and at the same time se- curity and corporate policies can be enforced to filter content, ser- vices and malicious sites. The number of customers en- ables the company to gather in- telligence about bad actors on the Internet to create a dynamic picture of malicious activity that can be applied to security poli- cies. The company claims to sup- port 50 million users and process 50 billion DNS requests at day, giving it a view into a significant percentage of Internet traffic. Activity is analyzed and scored to identify domains that are ma- licious or suspicious, said Brian Hartvigsen, senior support man- ager at OpenDNS. Dynamic lists of sites are maintained, and their scores are used to categorize ac- The city outsources services and policy enforcement, saving money while boosting security It's all downhill for Aspen's DNS services BY WILLIAM JACKSON CASE STUDY SECURITY AS A SERVICE By going with OpenDNS, Aspen and Pitkin County get the benefit of the company's analysis of 50 billion DNS requests a day, which gives it a view of malicious Internet activity that can be applied to security policies. COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG