Risks of Not Using A DNS Filter

Whether you’re recovering from an attack, just narrowly avoided a data breach, or are simply looking to improve your company’s security posture, the vast number of cybersecurity solutions can be overwhelming.

What do you actually need? What is the best option for each tool?

Antivirus, firewalls, and anti-spam are a great start, but they are increasingly inadequate at protecting your IT environment.

If you’re looking to take your cybersecurity strategy from good enough to comprehensive, adding a DNS filter is a good place to start.

This solution helps prevent users from accessing malicious websites, which could expose your IT environment to an attack.

Here at The KR Group, we use Cisco Umbrella as the DNS filter for our managed services customers. We also deploy Cisco Umbrella during our security risk assessments. This is the DNS filter we’re most familiar with. However, it’s not the only option.

Overall, DNS filters offer many benefits, and you are opening yourself up to specific risks without a DNS filter.

How does a DNS filter work?

DNS filters handle DNS queries. Specifically, they identify unsafe domains and then alert and prevent users from accessing suspected hijacked or malicious domains.

To determine if a domain is safe or not, DNS filters match queries to a known database. Some DNS filters also incorporate AI to learn about your browsing habits and safe vs. unsafe practices.

Additional features Cisco Umbrella offers include:

  • Content filtering blacklists topics or specific domains
  • Roaming Client identifies threats at a host level
  • Administrator notifications provide a way to identify command and control (C2) callbacks quickly and address threats sooner
  • Active Directory integration offers detailed DNS query information (user, group, or computer name)
  • Integration with Cisco Meraki and ASA FirePOWER protects users against malware, ransomware, and C2 callbacks

But what specific risks does Cisco Umbrella help you avoid? The points we’ll discuss below we’ve written while keeping Cisco’s Umbrella’s feature set in mind. However, other DNS filters will have similar functionalities.

  1. You’re less likely to be the victim of a devastating attack.
  2. DNS filters catch threats other solutions may miss.
  3. Implementing DNS filtration is less expensive than responding to an attack.

These are only a few ways DNS filters can assist your business, but they are important when considering inherent ROI for this solution.

DNS filters reduce the likelihood of a devastating attack

A security breach can be detrimental to your business. In fact, 60% of small businesses close within six months of a cyberattack.

There is no way to guarantee you’ll never become a victim of a malicious attack. However, taking an aggressive and thorough approach to cybersecurity can reduce the likelihood.

With a DNS filter, this can prevent malware attacks, such as APT’s from lurking in your IT environment undetected while stealing your information.

Specifically, Cisco Umbrella’s Roaming Client can also identify active attacks sooner since you can see which host the attack originated from and isolate it.

The value of this level of protection and insight – especially when layered with other security solutions – is impossible to put a price on.

DNS filters catch threats your other security solutions miss

DNS filters are meant to be an addition to your security solutions, not a standalone solution.

The best-protected organizations take a layered approach to cybersecurity.

  • Your antivirus monitors for threats on your users’ workstations.
  • Your next generation firewall prevents malicious network traffic from entering your IT environment through features such as intrusion prevention, advanced threat, and malware protection, and more.
  • Anti-spam filters out potential phishing attacks from your users’ inboxes.

Umbrella adds another layer of protection by filtering out unsafe or suspicious DNS requests.  

Recovering from a cyberattack is more expensive than a DNS filter

It can be difficult to prove the value of cybersecurity because when it does work, you don’t think about it or have additional costs associated with it.

The best way to think of the value of a DNS filter is by the costs you’re avoiding by keeping threats out of your business.

In 2020, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million. Regardless of how much gross profit your business makes per year, that price is not something most organizations can brush off.

The proactive – and less expensive – way to avoid a breach impacting your bottom line is to budget for DNS filters or other security solutions.

DNS filters are inexpensive in comparison, and most only cost a few dollars per user.

Should you consider a DNS filter?

When devising your cybersecurity strategy, there are many factors and solutions to consider. A DNS filter must be one of them.

There is no other security solution that analyzes for threats at the DNS level, which makes these filters a critical component to keep your data safe.

By adding a DNS filter to your IT environment, you’ll be less likely to experience an attack and be able to catch threats other solutions may miss. Plus, the cost of DNS filtration is minuscule compared to recovering from a data breach or cyberattack.

If you’re ready to see how a DNS filter can help your business, sign up for our free trial for Cisco Umbrella.

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