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  • Cybersecurity, undoubtedly, is the greatest concern of the digital world.

    If you have a team working for your business, you must improve its online security. One way of doing this is by using a DNS filtering solution.

    But why and how?

    You might have heard about those big online breaches, costing companies huge money and reputation.

    These are not fictional stories; it can happen with anybody, any business, and anywhere across the globe as cybercriminals are everywhere. Regardless of the size of a company, it can be the target of hackers who enjoy injecting viruses, phishing campaigns, malware, ransomware, and so on.

    Hence, you need to make sure your employee, team members are protected from such incidents using stringent cybersecurity measures. And DNS filtering or a DNS-based web gateway can be a great solution for it.

    It can protect your network, digital assets from harmful activities and websites while reporting the user behavior over your network. And this is precisely what the objective of this article is.

    So, let’s discuss a few more things about it.

    What is DNS filtering?

    Before you delve into DNS filtering, let’s understand the concept of Domain Name System (DNS) in the first place.

    DNS works as an internet phonebook. While visiting a website, you enter the site’s domain name and access it easily. But, behind the scenes, a process is happening to make that access smooth for you.

    By entering a domain name, you actually are asking for the IP address of that particular site, for example, geekflare.com. Next, the associated DNS server translates it into an IP address to take you to the site.

    Now, DNS filtering refers to the process of utilizing DNS to block harmful, inappropriate, and malicious websites. It ensures your network remains secure from cyberattacks while allowing you more control over your employees’ internet accessibility to result in better productivity.

    How does it work?

    If you have enabled DNS filtering on your network, both your incoming and outgoing web traffic is evaluated. As a result, only safe traffic is allowed to enter or leave your network.

    What do I mean by that?

    When you enter a site’s domain, the enabled DNS filtering solution will filter the traffic between the IP address and the requested page. Next, the filtering process performs site categorization such as news, social media sites, inappropriate sites, illegal sites, malicious sites, phishing campaigns, etc.

    Virus

    This way, the DNS filter inspects the incoming and outgoing traffic and blocks the suspicious or risky ones, based on certain set parameters, while allowing only the safe traffic. It can also protect your Wi-Fi from exploits apart from your internet network.

    For example, if you have blocked your users from accessing facebook.com during work hours, and if they try to access the site, they cannot. It will show the permission is denied every time they do so during work hours.

    How DNS filtering helps businesses stay safe?

    DNS filtering increases your employees’ productivity by restricting them from unproductive sites and protecting your business’s safety.

    How?

    Protection from cyberattacks

    Businesses always run the risk of cyberattacks like phishing, ransomware, spyware, botnets, DDoS attacks, and whatnot. These attacks have caused companies in millions and damaged their offline and online reputation, driving their customers away.

    So much destruction can happen in a matter of a few minutes. But don’t worry; many of these could be prevented by using a decent DNS filtering solution.

    Wi-Fi protection

    DNS filtering is not limited to protecting just one location; instead, it also protects your wired networks, public Wi-Fi- hotspots, and internal Wi-Fi.

    However, many businesses do not use any security measures or filters for their Wi-Fi networks, which creates a breeding ground for online attacks and harmful viruses.

    Even if you install anti-malware software, the risk could be reduced but still cannot be prevented. They do not protect you against attacks like zero-day malware, and issues also occur when it becomes out of date. Thus, a DNS filter is a better solution.

    Protecting your off-site employees

    Many businesses now offer work from home to their employees, who may use unsafe networks to get their work done. But it may welcome online threats and leak your business data out there in the world. DNS filters can be used in this case to improve security.

    The following solutions are for businesses, and, for personal; you can check DNS/Content filtering for home.

    Perimeter 81

    Safeguard your business by enabling DNS filtering by Perimeter 81 and limit your employees from accessing unauthorized and dangerous sites. Its advanced DNS filtering features help you manage your web filter easily across your entire network.

    Perimeter 81 blacklists harmful IP addresses and domains and lets you whitelist a list of website destinations your employees need to access. Through category-based filtering, you can block certain sites by category, such as social media, gaming and gambling sites, pornography, and so on.

    The DNS filtering of Perimeter 81 enhances your network security by restricting malicious sites and malware. It uses policy-based controls for overviewing access with filtering and blocking.

    Using Perimeter 81, you get complete visibility, precise segmentation, and a user-centric solution. It is highly scalable, which lets you easily transition into cloud environments.

    Cloudflare Gateway

    Keep your data and users safe from online threats using Cloudflare Gateway. It saves you from backhauling your user traffic via a centralized firewall that slows down your site. Instead, leverage this advanced Cloudflare technology to get comprehensive security without compromising the performance.

    Threats like phishing campaigns, crypto-mining, etc., won’t trouble you anymore. You can also control data flow incoming and outgoing your network with SSL inspection, policy, and file-type controls.

    Implement DLP or Data Loss Prevention with file-type controls to prevent users from uploading certain files to websites. Additionally, you can also stop them from downloading harmful files using the same technology.

    The threat intelligence of Cloudflare is robust and includes over 100 categories of previously built lists, which you can use to block risky and malicious sites. You can also block websites at the URL or domain level through custom blocklists or built-in lists.

    Cloudflare Gateway replaces on-premise and expensive hardware that can force trade-offs amongst security and performance by backhauling traffic to a fixed, central location. Instead, it directs traffic to a data center that Cloudflare owns and is near the users for outbound traffic.

    The logging capabilities of Gateway lets you find out unapproved SaaS application usage. You can also use its policy engine for blocking non-approved apps. Limit access to certain subdomains as well as functions of some enterprise-level SaaS applications.

    Gateway’s logs offer a wider sneak peek into your web traffic and internet across all locations, devices, and users. Export the logs into your cloud storage platform or SIEM.

    DNSFilter

    Don’t worry about harmful content and security threats if you have DNSFilter by your side. It is trusted by Fortune 500 companies like NVIDIA that have recently partnered with it to safeguard their 13k employees from malware and phishing threats.

    Their artificial intelligence can smartly detect these threats and kills them to provide you with enterprise-level filtering and protection. It is a cloud-based DNS filter that protects businesses of all sizes and adds a sturdy security layer over your tech stack to prevents intrusions.

    They have an international Anycast network that helps you scale with stability. DNSFilter also helps K-12 and University networks comply with CIPA to protect their students and staff from malicious domains and inappropriate sites.

    They have more than 30 data centers available in various parts of the globe, covering 6 continents and major cities globally, with a 100% uptime guarantee to provide security all the time. DNSFilter is easy to deploy and helps you get started within minutes, plus it comes at an affordable price for all types of businesses.

    It has a web content filtering feature using which you can deploy customizable policies for accessing the internet. Block websites by categories such as streaming media, social sites, instant messaging, illegal or adult content, etc. Besides, you can enforce YouTube restrictions or Google SafeSearch modes, so nothing goes wrong.

    DNSFilter’s web-based dashboard has a user-friendly design and responsiveness and offers a quick overview of your website and statistics, location, and complexities. It provides easy-to-use reports and analytics to help you visualize things clearly for usage patterns along with top destinations.

    These reports include activity reports, billing reports, security threats reports, and query logs for real-time troubleshoots. You get support for dynamic DNS such as DynDNS, No-IP, DNS-O-Matic, Namecheap, DNS Park, HE FreeDNS, HE Tunnelbroker, Afraid.org Free DNS, and Dynu.

    DNSFilter is integration-ready and is completely API-driven.

    SafeDNS

    SafeDNS is another option you can try out to enable DNS filtering and stronger security for your business. It protects your internal networks from intrusions and your Wi-Fi hotspots to provide you with safe online browsing.

    SafeDNS even protects your Wi-Fi during large public events, concerts, etc., so nothing could break into your network despite heavy traffic. Its categorization database utilizes AI and machine learning to analyze and process data collected through cloud-based filtering services, web crawlers, etc.

    This way, you get a comprehensive and accurate web categorization. Additionally, it also saves you time that you otherwise would have spent on re-categorization or over-blocking. The system is automatic and can quickly detect botnets and malware for cybersecurity.

    Over the last 5 years, SafeDNS has successfully blocked around 98.5% of adult content requests and has managed to return zero false positives. You can filter web content based on violence, racism, pornography, drug and alcohol, gambling, weapons, and other harmful content categories.

    They have a vast database of more than 100 million sites segmented into 60+ categories and still counting. SafeDNS can block harmful content and ads of all types, including video, audio, context ads, pop-ups, banners, etc. United by the protocol BGP Anycast, SafeDNS’s servers provide faster and redundant access to the web across the world.

    Webroot

    Get complete visibility into your web usage and safeguard your DNS network from attacks using Webroot. It will help you enforce internet usage policies that can further decrease security risks. Webroot is a fully cloud-based, resilient, and secure service that takes just a few minutes to deploy.

    Get in-depth reports on threats that your business could be susceptible to if you don’t have DNS protection. You can control web usage with custom or pre-configured policies by IP address, device, and group. 80+ URL categories offer policy-based and granular control to block dangerous sites automatically.

    Webroot’s threat intelligence supports all its products, and 100+ leading technology companies trust Webroot to protect their business. Their DNS protection is developed for the future and supports DoH and IPv6, which helps businesses prepare for the next-gen internet requests and protocols.

    As a result, you can safeguard your users over modern networks such as public hotspots while maintaining security, privacy, admin control, and visibility. Not to mention, Webroot DNS Protection now runs on the Google Cloud Platform to provide increased performance, reliability, and security with its network spread over 16 global locations.

    Additionally, you also get benefits from the built-in DoS mitigation and prevention by Google. It helps you mitigate attacks before they could infiltrate your agent core.

    DNSCyte

    DNSCyte by CyberCyte is a cloud-based security platform for DNS filtering. It leverages machine learning and cyber threat intelligence systems to block online threats in real-time.

    DNSCyte has a huge database consisting of around 99.90% of the internet, including 1.7+ billion pages and 350 million domains. The platform uses this intelligence to protect your business based anywhere in the globe against malicious activities such as zero-day attacks, ransomware, etc.

    DNSCyte handles all the DNS requests using artificial intelligence and then redirects harmful requests to a deep sinkhole IP and provides security. It protects you from pre and post infections, offers web filtering, and security to all your protocols and ports.

    Deploying DNSCyte is easy within minutes without altering your infrastructure. Just enable DNS Relay or DNS Forwarding.

    • DNS Relay by DNSCyte is a Hyper-V or VMWARE based image that is provided to find the malicious traffic source. It is also a DNS server installed over a corporate network and can receive queries before the local DNS. Next, it forwards the queries to that local DNS after analysis.
    • DNS Forwarding is a service that handles DNS requests and performs categorization and identification of traffic, and forwards malicious ones to a sinkhole, as explained above.

    DNSCyte integrates with Bind DNS, Windows DNS, F5, Infoblox, and Citrix Netscaler to find malicious traffic sources. DNSCyte also facilitates DNS Tunneling, whitelisting, debug log analysis, and real-time reporting.

    Cisco Umbrella

    Control your network and perform DNS filtering with the help of Cisco Umbrella. It helps you manage internet access in your organization effectively via category-based DNS filtering, blocks or allows, requests, and enables SafeSearch browsing.

    It covers 80+ categories consisting of millions of web domains and pages. Cisco Umbrella provides you with complete control over your network and lets you choose high, low, or moderate content settings. You can also create a customized list based on your requirements.

    Umbrella facilitates bulk uploads and unlimited entries for easy administration. By doing this, you can grant access and information to people who actually need them for your organization’s benefit.

    Enforce web filtering for YouTube, Google, Bing, etc., and make sure users access productive information only. However, the block bypass feature of Umbrella permits certain individuals like marketing managers, team leaders, etc. access specific filtering categories, including social networking, individual domains, and so on that remain blocked generally.

    Umbrella enables location-aware and flexible enforcement. It helps you assign policies to users with different logging settings and internet restrictions on/off your network.

    The web-based console of Umbrella is easy to use and offers quick policy set-up and management per device, user, network, or IP address for greater internet usage control.  Additionally, you can also run simulations using the policy tester to check how your policies are implemented.

    Conclusion

    I hope you now have a better idea of DNS filtering and its importance in your business. Hence, without wasting any more time, enable a DNS filtering solution in your network to stay protected from online threats while keeping a check on your employees’ web access for better productivity.

    Next, explore zero-trust network solutions for SMBs.