A new model for securing deployments of DNS Edge

BY Ben Ball

The shared responsibility model for cloud security separates out accountability across customers, stakeholders, and solution providers.  At BlueCat, we take responsibility for our part of cloud security very seriously.  That’s why we’ve recently taken steps to become more reliable in our deployment model and more robust in our back-end security practices.

Security monitoring through IP addresses

Most cloud resources in AWS require the creation of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) instance.  (BlueCat uses AWS, but every cloud provider has a similar service.)  Each of these VPCs runs through a set IP address assigned by the user.  As the designated paths of information to and from any VPC, these IP addresses are a significant source of data for both cloud security and performance management. 

By monitoring the DNS data flowing through that IP address, network administrators can learn a lot about how their cloud resources are performing.  Security teams can use the same information to detect anomalies and monitor traffic for indicators of compromise.  If someone left a port open, if malicious code was added to the cloud instance, if VMs are behaving erratically, if a DDOS attack is underway – all of this activity can be detected by triangulating DNS data with other information such as syslogs.

Assuring performance and security

DNS Edge, BlueCat’s SaaS security product, deploys through VPCs (along with other resources) in the AWS cloud.  BlueCat now leverages the IP addresses assigned to those VPCs to ensure optimal performance and strengthen security controls on the operational back-end.

Here’s what we’re doing:  BlueCat has created a series of automated workflows through its Gateway platform to assign IP addresses to VPCs in the cloud.  These workflows are scheduled to run in sequence through Rundeck.  The way these IP addresses are assigned allows BlueCat to monitor individual accounts for security and performance issues through its back-end security tools.

This process also avoids some of the manual set-up steps previously required of users, and ensures a common approach to deployment.  It will also allow customers to set up and deploy DNS Edge service points on their own. 

The path forward

With this deployment model in place, BlueCat is also starting down the path toward multitenancy – the ability to support multiple customers through a single account.  In this phase of the journey, we are enabling the separation of customer accounts, and the ability to audit activity on those accounts. 

These changes will also make information for FedRAMP and SOC compliance easier to obtain.  Both standards require vulnerability scans at critical entry/exit points – by monitoring the IP address assigned to VPCs for DNS Edge, BlueCat will now be able to perform those scans continuously.

Ben Ball

Ben Ball is the Director of Strategy and Content Marketing at BlueCat. Ben served for ten years as a Federal employee, with three tours as a Foreign Service Officer (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan), and five years at the Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on immigration issues. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Pitzer College, Ben lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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