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When You Want to Improve DNS Security, Focus on Efficiency

Your online operations and digital brand are only as secure as your DNS. Yet the difficulty of managing the DNS prevents most companies from effectively securing the system. Inefficient and costly management processes undermine DNS security, causing the most common DNS issues today.

Ensuring DNS security involves numerous complex operations, including protecting access to domain registrar systems; managing DNS services and associated zone files; ordering and renewing SSL certificates; and deploying DNS security (DNS Security Extensions, Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance, and Sender Policy Framework), also known as DNSSEC, DMARC and SPF, respectively.

For most organizations, these tasks are carried out with manual processes. Emails, forms, and Excel spreadsheet lists are the basic tools for DNS change management. While vendors do offer online admin portals, each registrar, DNS service, and certificate authority has its own, non-integrated admin environment. Simply put, it’s inefficient.

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Inefficient management causes three common DNS security issues: missing SSL encryption, missing or flawed deployment of DNSSEC, and inadequate use of DMARC and SPF.

Most organizations employ SSL certificates to encrypt their principal web destinations. Often missed, however, are domain redirects, which also require SSL certificates in order to maintain SSL-protected destinations. Managing SSL certificates on redirect domains is expensive and administratively burdensome, hence why they’re frequently missed in the encryption chain.

Manual processes make it very difficult to track the setup and implementation of the digital signing keys (DNSKEY) integral to the authentication function of the DSNSEC protocol. Because of this, DNSSEC is often assumed to be actively working when, in fact, broken links in the DNS chain of trust, e.g. expired key records, have invalidated the authentication.

DMARC and SPF are essential to maintaining email hygiene and reducing phishing. Administering these security protocols is labor-intensive and costly, so most organization fail to implement them across all active domains.

DNSSEC can prevent threats like DNS cache poisoning and DNS hijacking. Our Apex-level DNS audit can test your DNSSEC deployment.

For the DNS stakeholders in your organization, an inefficient DNS security solution is no solution at all. Inefficiency inflates costs, misappropriates resources, and consumes staff time while failing to meet objective compliance standards.

What Causes DNS Problems?

Inefficiency is the root cause of most DNS security problems. Ordering a single TLS certificate, for instance, involves 16 separate administrative steps. Setting up DNSSEC keys, which digitally sign the authenticated DNS routing to your digital endpoints, is similarly complex. Multiply these steps by hundreds — even thousands — of domains, managed across multiple registrars, certificate providers, and DNS services, and it becomes clear how inefficiency can create errors, omissions, and vulnerabilities that place DNS security at risk.

Operational inefficiency forces companies to invest massive amounts of time, labor, and staff resources to ensure that everything is updated and error-free. Barring that option, organizations tend to accept the risks associated with ineffective DNS security — deciding not to deploy DNSSEC and DMARC, for example.

Instead of finding workarounds to labor-intensive, manual security policies, the most effective solution is the simplest: Make DNS security as efficient as possible.

Want to secure your network and protect your users? Check out our complete guide to defending the domain name system.

A Seamless Approach to DNS Security

DNS security becomes far more manageable — and therefore more reliable — when you focus on efficiency, simplicity, and accessibility. Efficient, and therefore effective DNS security rests on three pillars:

1. Integration

DNS security becomes inefficient when so many of the constituent parts are siloed across separate vendor platforms. The solution is to integrate everything — DNS services, TLS certificates, DNSSEC, and domain management — onto a single platform.

Integration is DNS management made simple. It eliminates the need for repetitive manual inputs and redundant efforts by bringing all DNS security elements under the same umbrella. With role-based access to a single source of truth, stakeholders in different departments can coordinate their efforts, with visibility that eliminates common errors and omissions. Inevitably, without this top-down view, domains are orphaned, certificate renewals are forgotten, DNSKEY records lapse, and changes are possible on the DNS without the organization’s knowledge.

2. Automation

Operational silos make changes to DNS security a disconnected, multi-step process. Change management often relies on email communications, support tickets, and manual inputs. Periodic governance amounts to spreadsheet lists of domains and zone file records being circulated among staff and management.

Automation transforms this process by placing change management under a simplified process flow. Relying on a unified, role-based, secure environment that integrates all tasks throughout the domain and DNS security life cycle enables more of those tasks to run automatically. Each step in the change management workflow is managed by the system: request; approve; order; confirm; activate; monitor; report; remediate. In this way, superior DNS security management security takes a fraction of the effort.

3. Confirmation

Change management audits and change digest alerts are critical components of DNS security best practices, yet they are often neglected simply because they take so much time. Regularly conducting full DNS zone file audits and TLS certificate transparency audits demands so much time and cost that companies simply don’t do them. Those few that invest the massive effort into comprehensive DNS and TLS certificate audits see, at best, one-time snapshots of their security postures.

When DNS security is managed on a unified, integrated platform, administrators are automatically alerted to changes that are captured in a tamper-proof log. System-driven change management requires minimal input from users. As a result, DNS security becomes both more transparent and more compliant.

To make DNS security management efficient is to make it viable.

Not only does security become more consistent and comprehensive, but it also becomes streamlined and cost-effective for everyone involved. When you’re ready to simplify and strengthen your DNS security, contact us at info@authenticweb.com to arrange your domain/DNS audit.

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